The Goodwin Sands and Downs Multi-beam survey

The Goodwin Sands is located off the East coast of Kent and is made up of a number of mobile sand banks. Ever since seafaring began the Goodwins has been a hazard and as a result there are many hundreds of shipwrecks lying here. It is famously known as the ‘ship swallower’ as they have an amazing ability to engulf and preserve shipwrecks for hundreds of years. When the sands shift wrecks can suddenly appear. The best known example of this was the Stirling Castle, which emerged from the sands in 1979 complete up to the upper gundeck.

In March Pascoe Archaeology returned to the Goodwins to conduct high resolution multi-beam surveys of all the designated wrecks within the Goodwin Sands and the Downs, plus another site known as the ‘Bowsprit Wreck’. The project was funded my Historic England and the main aims were to establish the current extent and exposure of the sites and to identify any changes that had occurred since previous surveys. Conducting the actual survey was Mark James of  MSDS marine and Swathe Services. The survey was conducted from the survey vessel Predator, from Predator charters marine ltd. Swathe Services brought with them the latest 2024 R2 Sonic multi-beam echo sounder. This has the capability of capturing ultra high resolution data which is essential for recording sites of wooden shipwrecks.

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We had a very successful week surveying and discovered that the Goodwins was living up to its reputation. The team are currently busy processing the data and we are looking forward to seeing some exciting results. In the mean time check out a short video created by team member Rodrigo Ortiz-Vazquez.

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