Multi-beam survey results from the Goodwin Sands and the Downs.

In 2017 Pascoe Archaeology was commissioned by Historic England to conduct a multi-beam echo sounder survey (MBES) over six designated sites and one un-designated site in the Goodwin Sands and The Downs region. The six designated sites were the Northumberland, Stirling Castle, Restoration, Rooswijk, and Admiral Gardner on the Goodwin Sands and GAD 8 in The Downs. Gad 23, also known as the ‘Bowsprit Wreck’, was the un-designated site in the Goodwin Sands.

The surveys were conducted between the 13 – 16 March 2017 by a collaborative team including Pascoe Archaeology, MSDS Marine and Swathe Services. The survey vessel, Predator, was provided by Predator Charters Marine Ltd, skippered and crewed by Daniel Poppy and Ben Appleton. High resolution MBES data was collected over each site except for the Admiral Gardner. It was not possible to conduct a survey over the Admiral Gardner because of the lack of water over the site.

Below are results from a selection of the sites surveyed.

GAD 8, Cannon site

The site is currently unidentified but it represents the wreck of an armed wooden sailing vessel dated to between 1650 and 1750. Previous site investigations have identified seven cast iron guns, a central concretion mound and a section of coherent ship’s structure exposed on the seabed. The 2017 MBES survey shows the site is currently 39m long by 18m wide at its widest.  The site is orientated north – south. Despite the overall spread of material there are not a vast number of exposed features. The majority of the features that are exposed are fairly low lying.

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The Stirling Castle

The Stirling Castle was a third-rate Man of War of 70 guns built at Deptford in 1679. She was wrecked on the 27th November 1703 during the Great Storm. The wreck lies at a chartered depth of 18m, 8.5km southeast of Ramsgate at the south end of the North Sands Head. The current wreck-mound and exposed debris is 33m long by 14m at it widest point. It is orientated east- west. The bow of the Stirling Castle is at the west end and the stern at the east end. The site is situated on a seabed of sand waves that are orientated in a northeast – southwest direction. There is a large sand bank encroaching from the east which is in danger of burying the whole site.

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The Rooswijk

The Rooswijk is the wreck of a Dutch East Indiaman lost in January 1740. She lies on the Goodwin Sands southeast of the North Sands Head and northeast of the Kellet Gut. Within the 150m designated area there are three known sites relating to the remains of the Rooswijk. These are the West site (Main site), East site and the North site. The West site is the main body of the wreck consisting of a wreck mound 27m long by 24m wide. The East site, believed to be the impact site, has almost entirely been covered by a bank of sand, apart from an anchor. There is also a debris trail between the East and West sites, which includes an anchor. The North site is a large scatter of concreted barrels covering an area of 19 x 13m with a debris trail heading south for roughly a further 20m.

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In general, the 2017 MBES survey has identified some significant changes over several of the sites. It has demonstrated how dynamic and fluid the Goodwin Sands are. There is a real necessity to undertake geophysical surveys on these sites on a regular basis to record the changes that are occurring season by season. Through this it is possible to see the direction of migration of sand waves and sand banks that will impact the sites either through burial or exposure. Having the ability to predict when a site will cover up or expose is extremely useful in the management of these sites.

Web tour and virtual dive trail.

38 years ago today fishermen Arthur Mack and Melvyn Gofton inadvertently snagged their fishing nets on an underwater obstruction. When they pulled the net up they found attached to it a large piece of timber with wooden treenails and iron bolts. This was the moment the wreck of the Royal Navy’s first Invincible was discovered.

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To celebrate that day, Pascoe Archaeology has launched a virtual dive trail of the site thanks to funding from Historic England. The trail as been developed with Grant Cox of ArtasMedia and Stuart  Graham of CyanSub. The tour has been created from archaeological records consisting of 2D plans, photographs, HD video and the latest 3D photogrammetry models. These records have been gathered from 38 years of archaeological investigations on the site which includes the work of Commander John Bingeman and his team. Grant has created all of the 3D renders, animations and reconstructions and Stuart has built the web platform to display all of this information.

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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.

Photogrammetry in the dark

Last summer we were working with MSDS Marine on the Thorness Bay wreck in the Solent. The identification of the wreck is so far a mystery but the archaeological evidence suggests a merchant wooden sailing ship dating to a period of the late 19th century. Diving along side us were the Licensees Garry McGinty and Gary Paddock. The work was part of a project funded by Historic England to create a virtual and physical diver trail for the site. Grant Cox of ArtasMedia and Stuart Graeme of CyanSub are using all the archaeological data collected during the project to create the virtual tour.

The site

The wreck lies at a depth of 21 metres in the Solent, just West of Cowes on the Isle of Wight. The layout of the wreck is clearly discernible with a large windlass off the bow and steering quadrant and rudder pintle at the stern. Only the lower hull appears to have survived, which is predominately buried with the exception of the keelson and exposed frames and planking along the port side.

location

Location of the Thorness Bay Wreck in the Solent.

Survey

The aim of the survey was to capture video and stills images of the main archaeological features. These would then be used in the visualisation tour of the wreck. A number of features, including the anchor, the pump and rudder pintle were photogrammetrically surveyed and 3D models were produced.

Although the wreck is not particularly deep, more often that not it can be pitch black on the seabed. This makes conducting photogrammetry particularly challenging but with the use of a quality camera and strobes good results can be gained. Thanks to Dr Fraser Sturt and the University of Southampton for the use of the camera equipment for this project.

Video of photogrammetry survey

The video demonstrates the conditions on the day of the survey.

 

3D model of the rudder

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Return to the Rooswijk

The Rooswijk  was a Dutch East Indiaman lost with all hands on the Goodwin Sands in January 1740. In September 2016 an Anglo-Dutch team returned to the site to undertake an assessment with the view of embarking on a comprehensive excavation the following year. The team included members of the Dutch heritage agency,  Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed (RCE), Historic England, MSDS Marine and the original 2005 team including finder Ken Welling.

The team mapped out the exposed features of the site which include: a section of the hull with a gunport; numerous guns and iron shot; two large spare anchors; and cut stone block, carried as cargo.

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3D models produced from results of the photogrammetry surveys on Invincible

In 2016 Historic England provided funding to record  vulnerable and at- risk areas of the Invincible wreck. Pascoe Archaeology teamed up with the Nautical Archaeology Society, the University of Southampton and MSDS Marine to survey these areas with the method of photogrammetry. The results of which will be used in a virtual dive tour of the wreck site. Below are some of the results which have been re-rendered by Grant Cox of Artas Media.

Results from the port bow

A section of the port bow was chosen because there were exposed sections of structure relating to all three surviving decks, the gundeck, orlop and hold.

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Results from a section of the starboard side.

A large section of the starboard side lies to the north of the coherent portside. It consists of a section of the hold and orlop. The results from the photogrammetry show large pairs of riders fastened over ceiling planking and frames.

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