Filey Bay Research Group
Inter-tidal Archaeological Survey
All the pictures are the copyright of National Geographic Magazine
During the summer of 2004, members of the Filey Bay Initiative's dive Team undertook an inter-tidal archaeological survey of the beach at Speeton to the south of Filey under the direction of Peter Pritchard PDS Consulting.
The object of the survey was to locate any items of archaeological interest and to provide a measured survey of them in their original location and to assist the team, they were fortunate to have Dave Conlin of the American National Park Service who was visiting FBI in Filey in his own time, Jeremy Weirich of the American National Oceanic and Aeronautical Administration (NOAA) and Peter Pritchard the archaeologist of Pritchard Diving Services. Dave Conlin was the archaeologist in charge during the raising of the American Confederate submarine the Hunley.
The sea shore at Speeton is rich in geological and occasional archaeological resources, Speeton cliffs are the home of the Kimmeridge or Speeton clays which contain an abundant source of fossils such as belemnites and two species of dinosaur, the Ichthyosaur and the Plesiosaur. and Jeremy took a particular interest in this clay and its rich bounty. On this part of the coast, the sea takes and gives nothing back, however items of interest in the form of old timbers and the occasional metal artefact sometimes appear after heavy weather. There are the remains of two steel wrecks on the shore in this area, one is the Laura and the other is the Hawkwood, the boilers and sternpost of the Laura is visible from about half ebb but the Hawkwood is covered with sand for most of the time.
Part of the Team met up at Speeton Church and others made their way there by means of a 4x4 vehicle and then walked southwards on to the white chalk rocks. As the tide was falling, more of the beach and rocks were uncovered and in a short space of time some timber artefacts were discovered. Jeremy noted their positions by means of a hand held GPS receiver and Team members photographed the items against a calibrated stick and made drawings of them on drawing boards with scaled templates and covered or "skinned" with waterproof translucent covers.
No items were removed from the beach but if there had been any of importance, they would have been removed for further investigation, however this raises the question regarding the conservation of recovered items and this subject is often overlooked when recovery is contemplated leading to the destruction or severe damage of important artefacts due to the natural drying out process.
Dave Conlin and Peter Pritchard inspected the items found and with the benefit of their experience and knowledge gave on site lectures to the Team. Upon the conclusion of the work, all the Team members had received a large amount of valuable instructional information which was delivered in an ideal practical "classroom" (with a sea view) and on completion of the exercise, the members who had walked down the cliff faced the long walk back up again and the group re formed at Filey.
Click for underwater photography by Pritchard Diving Services