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Pritchard Diving (Services) Consultancy

 

PDS Unit 5, Ardtornish Estate

Morvern, Argyll

Scotland PA34 5XG

Tel/fax  +44(0)1967 421 601

Mobile  +44(0)7810 332 395

pdsdive@hotmail.com

Review and evaluation to Anthony Green, Filey, Head of Project, regarding survey works undertaken by Filey Underwater Research Unit of the Filey Bay Bonhomme Richard Project, completed in 2008.

 

 

This report is not confidential

 

 

All Rights reserved, no part of this publication can be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical without permission in writing from Pritchard Diving Services (Consultancy)

 

Report compiled by Peter Pritchard ,AIFA FSA Scot, Pritchard Diving Services( Consultancy)

 

Registered Diving Contractor No 0058.   Corporate member of the Institute for Archaeology.

 

 

INDEX:-

 

 

1)    Introduction

 

2)    Site Location

 

3)    Aims and Methodology

 

        3.1 Aims

 

        3.2 Methodology

 

4)   Results

 

 

                5)   Conclusion

 

 

         6)  Bibliography

 

         6.1 Project design 2007/2008

 

  

1)  Introduction:-

 

This review has been commissioned by Anthony Green,                   Filey in line with guidance laid down for monitoring procedures for any grant holders of Heritage Lottery Fund. (HLF)

A general overview will be taken in relation to the projects undertaken by Filey Underwater Research Unit (FURU).   Contains specific comments passed on work appertaining to a previous survey undertaken on behalf of FBI by the Hydrographic Department of the Royal Navy, referred to as ‘Gleaner Survey’, and work undertaken by FURU in relation to magnetometry  readings taken in the ‘Filey Corridor’.

It has to be declared at the beginning of this report, for those unfamiliar with the project, that until recently the author was the nominated archaeologist for the Filey Bay Wrecksite and author/joint author of papers included and referred to in the text.

 

 

2)  Site Location :-

 

The general working area is located in Filey Bay, North Yorkshire, between the land promontories of  Carr Naze and Filey Brigg to the Northwest and Flamborough Head to the Southeast (in general terms)

Accurate locations and general depiction provided.

 

 

3)  Aims and Methodology:-

 

3.1 The aims of the HLF grant operations are two fold, to dive and ground truth targets acquired by the ‘Gleaner survey’ and secondly to remotely survey a larger area ,the ‘Filey Corridor’ by means of a magnetometer.

 

3.2 The methodology will again have to broken down as two separate protocols, although the ground area overlaps considerably. In relation to the ‘Gleaner Survey’ target sites were to be re-acquired using known locations using Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates and dived to identify ,’Ground Truth’ the target, it then to be recorded in situ by photography ,  videography  and drawing. This was agreed and placed into the project design.

     The methodology for  the ‘Filey Corridor’ was not discussed with the author at any time and when questioned about this FURU have no written record as to how they were to proceed pers coms ADAMS J ‘ Its all up here in my head’.

 

Details of equipment used to obtain data has been provided.

 

 

4) Results:-

 

The diving opportunities the summer of 2008 have been few and far between weather being such that it would have been impossible for FURU to complete a program of dives to establish the identity of the targets acquired in the ‘Gleaner Survey’ and a record of dives has been viewed by the author.

The remote sensing undertaken by the FURU team has identified the sites acquired by the ‘Gleaner Survey’ and a multitude of others on both ‘Box’ sites. Plotting these targets within the grid pattern of search has come up with some potential additional site which will have to be investigated.

A processed record of targets affixed in the appendices.

 

 

5) Conclusion:-

 

The FURU team have spent a limited time in the 2009 season undertaking investigation of the site and periphery. The environmental conditions have been adverse and credit should go to the team for the effort put in on the days on site. However it has become very apparent that the team are not acting in a ‘professional’ manner as the author has heard professed by them to be on many occasions. The author is aware that FURU have undergone training outlining quite clearly what diving protocols should be adhered to, have been supplied with the appropriate paperwork to complete and have failed to do so. All operations whether professional or amateur require a complete audit trail, this would appear not to have been done. No apparent risk assessment has been completed, no daily dive planning though a limited dive record has been kept .The author would suggest that better discipline be followed and the protocols laid out be followed.

 

Regarding the magnetometery survey the author has been supplied by  Mr Lee Norgate, on behalf of FURU, with  data streams and  plotted areas of search undertaken. As the author has not been privy to the thought process applied in relation to the methodology interpretation of what has been achieved against what was hoped to be achieved is difficult to estimate The author would point out that as there is no written plan either on a daily basis or as part of the whole operation in relation to achievable aims there is a great likelihood that data obtained will be of a dubious and non repeatable/auditable type. To counter this, the author would suggest a detailed plan/time program be put together before further survey outlining expectations, this needs to be discussed with an experienced professional in this field. The equipment which has been used is at best described as ‘coarse’ but within certain parameters will meet the basic requirements and as a whole has been used in an acceptable manner, the main problem is there is serious doubt as to whether the equipment has been functioning correctly, the author has been advised that the altitude mechanism has been/is inoperative thereby skewing the results obtained.

 

The following advice needs to be heeded, FURU have to take more direction from professionals in its methodology and application they are in the authors experience enthusiastic if it meets their ends and absurdly secretive, it needs to be pointed out that the site is now in the public domain not private individuals.

 

The results from the years work are not auditable as written records are scarce and base data questionable. The author would hope some of this report will be acted upon before next season.

 

In the course of my recent assessment of works undertaken by members of FURU, it became blatantly apparent that the team were not prepared to proceed within the framework laid down by previous training furnished by Pritchard Diving Services. I would emphasise that they have received the training and professed to be satisfied with the same, it was for them to demonstrate competency and a more consistent approach.
I have to admit to a disappointment in the general malaise amongst members with a perceived emphasis on being given a qualification which they could use elsewhere. Pritchard Diving Services does not 'give out' certificates of competence lightly and feel that there was an expectation that attendance would be enough. I will clearly state that I do not consider the team competent in archaeological diving and require further training before meeting a good standard. Pritchard Diving Services will discuss with any other training agency what modules have been taught, but will not become involved with any further training.
In relation to the First Aid qualification, my previous comments stand.

 

 

6) Bibliography

 

     6.1 Project design 2007/2008

 

© Pritchard Diving Services (Consultancy)

 

 

 

PDS Report 

PDF version of Report to follow

 

Response to Prichard Diving Services (Consultancy) in respect of this, and their original Report dated January 2009  in respect of the work completed in 2008  by the Filey Underwater Research Unit (FURU) in connection with the wreck site  Bonhomme Richard in Filey Bay (Designated Order 2002).

 

 

Mr P Pritchard

Prichard Diving Consultancy

PO Box  38003

Spean Bridge

PH34 4WA

 

Dear Sir

 

Preamble

 

Due to the complex nature of information it will be necessary for me to provide some background detail.

 

I have read your Report and carefully considered its contents and ramifications.  As I hold no position with either FURU or the Filey Bay Initiative (FBI) it is unclear to me if your report has been responded to by either of these organisations, and I suspect that FURU would wish for it to be securely buried.  However, as for the past fourteen years or so I have been the architect of the investigation into Bonhomme Richard here in Filey and the development of FURU, and in addition a major player in FBI. Further to this, single handidly or with part of a team of others I have been responsible for acquiring a substantial amount of Grant Aid for FURU and the project. As such I maintain a substantial number of contacts and can call upon a wide range of expertise.  Therefore, with my past experience I consider that I am well placed to evaluate your observations and conclusions and place them into context with regards to any future direction on this particular site.  In short, FURU have attained the position that they hold today because I put them there.

 

I note that although FURU’s work in 2008 is only partly in relation to work in the Restricted Area, the whole of the 2008 work is irrevocably intertwined with the project and as such it has relevance to the whole of the project.

 

Background information

 

About some twelve months or so predating your report (the date is immaterial) I handed over responsibilities for FURU to one of their team as the amount of my commitment to them, and FBI became unsustainable.

 

It would appear then that at some point onwards from this, things at FURU began to change for the worse and I am more than shocked at what your Report reveals.

 

Your Report is in two parts and covers an electronic survey of areas within Filey Bay and subsequent “proof diving” of targets discovered. One part is a technical digest of the work completed by one of their associates and forms no part of my response, and the second part contains your observations and conclusions and this is the subject of this response.

 

The main points of the conclusions in your report are:

 

1)  You have complimented FURU the commitment that they have put in bearing in mind the amount of inclement weather experienced in 2008.

 

2)  The Team have not been acting in a ‘professional manner’ as you have professed on many occasions.

 

3)  FURU has undergone training outlining quite clearly what diving protocols should be adhered to.

 

4)  They have been provided with the appropriate paperwork and have failed to complete it.

 

5)  No apparent risk assessment has been completed.

 

6)  No daily dive planning has been done and only a limited dive record has been kept.

 

7)  As you have not been privy to the thought process applied in relation to the methodology of the survey work, the interpretation of what has been achieved against what was hoped to be achieved is difficult to estimate.  You also point out that as there is no written plan either on a daily basis or as part of the whole operation in relation to achievable aims, there is a great likelihood that data obtained will be of a dubious and non-repeatable/auditable type.

 

8)  You also comment that the electronic equipment on the whole has been used in an acceptable manner but as there is serious doubt as to whether the equipment has been functioning correctly, therefore the results of the survey are ‘skewed’.

 

9)  You have advised that FURU have to take more direction from professionals in its methodology and application and that they are in your experience enthusiastic if it meets their ends, and absurdly secretive.

 

10)  You further point out that the site is now in the public domain and not private individuals.

 

11)  The results of the 2008 work are not auditable as written records are scarce and base data questionable, and all operations whether professional or amateur require a complete audit trail.   This would appear not to have been done and as a rider it was noted that FURU leader John Adams stated at the meeting with you “that it is all in my head”.

 

In your advice to them for the future, you recommend that better discipline be followed and the protocols laid out be followed.

 

 You also state to me that you are disappointed with the general malaise amongst members and that you do not consider the team competent in archaeological diving and First Aid.  

 

My observations on the above

 

To be frank, there is absolutely no excuse for FURU to behave in this totally unacceptable manner as they have received training to an advanced level (with the generous support of the Public Purse but have yet to be formally qualified).  Clearly this has been a waste of time.  It is interesting to note that John Buglass made similar comments when he resigned as Nominated Archaeologist to English Heritage in 2006.  At that time, most of his recommendations were being implicated and it was expected that they would continue after I moved over as part of the ongoing development of the team.  It seems that they now have been disregarded.

 

I note that FURU were offered your services under grant aid at the beginning of the 2008 season but declined, It was assumed that they had the necessary knowledge and wherewithal to deliver a professional scheme when in fact unbeknown to us, they flagrantly disregarded all advice a protocols in such a cavalier fashion that they ‘crippled’ the work and fell well below any acceptable standard.

 

The fact that you have stated that they are not competent in archaeological diving would have severe ramifications if the information was in the possession of English Heritage as they fall far short of the requirements for holding the Licence of a Designated wreck site.

 

Your comment about FURU being absurdly secretive is true.  Historically, when the project was first set up it was vitally essential that it was secure until the site could be formally recognised and other factors could be established.  I was a fundamental part of this procedure and it was because of this that the site was protected. 

 

As time went by, the need for this lessened particularly as the Designation Order 2002 provides substantial legal protection for the site.  In addition, as the National Geographic Magazine funded expeditions to the site, they insisted that they had control over all images (and by agreement this meant ours as well, for which I was personally liable).  English Heritage may not have been pleased with this at the time but it was necessary.  Again, once they released their control, we were able to publish some of these as part of the technical digest for the site and the need to hide these away becomes less as time goes by.  In other words, in my opinion the security for the site and its “product” was balanced and handled sensibly.

 

However, as FURU is primarily made up of one family, there is resistance to “opening up” to the outside world and this explains your comment about them being absurdly secretive.  I am an outsider and as such have been on the receiving end of this culture.

 

As an example, some two years ago, after the evaluation of photographic evidence, the possibility of “yellow metal” (gold) was considered to be a present on the wreck. At that time I gave instructions to Adams regarding confidentiality and advised him on a protocol whereby this matter could be resolved sensibly bearing in mind the contentious issues that this raised, and the fact that a valuable artefact could decide the identity of the wreck.

 

Since that time I have not been advised whether this matter has been investigated or not, whether there is gold on the site or not and whether English Heritage have been advised of this or not (which by now they should have been) and, at the time of writing this, I have not the faintest idea of what the position is. 

 

Such is the level of secrecy that even I, a pivotal member of the project was denied information regarding this matter.

 

One of my duties with FBI/FURU was forward planning and as part of this I recommended that additional new team members were “broken in” and eventually interleaved into the main team.  This was resisted on the pretext that other divers were unreliable and that the site was too dangerous to dive to the uninitiated.  Notwithstanding that people have to be trained up for the continuation of a process, in my opinion there was resistance to “outsiders” being brought into the secret enclave.

 

I note that Adams has continually complained that he has not been able to discuss matters with you as he has been unable to contact you.  I find this most strange.  I accept that as working archaeologist you are not readily available but you have always got back to me.  So much so that I set up the last joint investigation with you over a period of time that you were supposed to be “unobtainable”.

 

Again, it is my opinion that perhaps the main reason for this is their objection to a non-family member being in a powerful and regulatory position.  I understand that following your resignation, a new archaeologist who is Adams’s nephew is or has been considered to fill your position.   I am sure that the new archaeologist is adequately qualified; however being a family member I suggest that he will experience difficulties if he goes against the wishes of FURU.  Whether this will be in the best interests of the site I do not know.

 

One of Buglass’s recommendations or advice was to ensure that archiving of the site’s information was completed.  This was started and an ongoing plan drawing of the works has been produced.  In addition, there are two sets of video files that are held.  One produced on about eight discs before the site was designated in VHS(C) format and a more recent series using digital formatting.  The VHS(C) video is important as it has footage of a part of the site that is now buried and is unique, and this was transferred to digital format through FBI at no cost to FURU.

 

Up to the beginning of this year I had not been informed of any video being given to English Heritage for archiving and certainly Adams stated to me that he had no intention of delivering the first series to English Heritage anyway.  I note that you have already offered to assist in archiving and that this offer was refused.

 

As you are aware, due to FURU the new electronic equipment for the survey was not trialled and it subsequently failed when it was required.  Well into the project, the equipment was in effect handed back to me.  While single handidly trying to resolve the situation by obtaining a loan of equipment from the American Team, I was very publicly and wrongfully accused in writing of inviting Americans into the Bay to survey,  with the explicit implication that I had given the American Team ‘secrets’ or had been responsible for a breach in confidentiality.  The fact that we had a historical link with this Team, and that we had provided survey information to them in the past and wanted a loan of equipment as part of the reciprocal agreement - had been very conveniently ignored.

 

This libellous accusation of a breach of faith and confidentiality is untrue which made my position with FBI and FURU untenable, even though my position was supported by the Chair of FBI.  Though this accusation is widely known and proven to be untrue, Adams has not retracted and as such, the accusation still stands.  Perhaps it was construed to cover their own inadequacies. The truth of the matter is that FURU were unable to rectify the problems with the magnetometer, and despite allegedly having access to many thousands of pounds worth of resources, they handed the problem back to me as the person of last resort.  I am thankful for the services of the local company Dane Consulting Engineers, who liaised with the manufacturer and cured the faults.

 

As I was Head of Project and person of last resort, I implemented procedures to bring the Project back in line that were not popular with FURU.  In addition, I also have to thank Lee Norgate who is not a member of FURU who had the foresight to construct the survey log, thus enabling the Grant conditions to be met.

 

Due to these allegations, I have since resigned from both organisations which I think was the original intention.  Certainly, I could not continue with FBI because of this outstanding smear.  The reasoning behind Adam’s decision not to publicly apologise for maligning me is questionable and unforgivable, but again it has ensured that a none-family member has been removed from the team.  It is also true that FBI allowed a Board Member to continue in the full knowledge of the above, and that did not go unnoticed.

 

Following this, FURU have been advised in writing of various matters, including my own recommendations and these are contained in a document that perhaps they would not like to admit to owning.  I also reported extensively to FBI.

 

Conclusions

 

You have stated the more obvious points in your own report.  Based upon my experience of FURU I find that they cannot be trusted to observe dive protocol and this has been proved when they were left to their own devices.  They work well under supervision but have showed a cavalier disregard for established convention when not supervised and a strong bias against “outside” influences.  As an essentially overly secretive private diving club in my opinion they are acting against the interests of English Heritage on the Designated site. As such I would be unable to recommend them for Licensed diving on this or any other important site.  In addition to this, based upon your Report with my own experiences, I am unable to recommend them to any Grant Authority for further Grant Aid.

 

After at least fourteen years working on this project it is clear to me that they have learned little.

 

I will go further and state that perhaps is now the time for the work to be taken out of the hands of amateurs and a professional team engaged to move into this area and provide the conclusive proof required. 

 

I have made other recommendations but they are not included here.

 

If FURU get lucky and the site is formally identified as Bonhomme Richard then this problem will be solved as it is likely that the project will then be taken away from them - for the benefit of all.

 

Yours faithfully

 

 

 

 

Anthony Green

 

Former Head of Bonhomme Richard Project, Filey.

Former Secretary, The Filey Underwater Research Unit.

Former Secretary, The Filey Bay Initiative.

 

© July 2009.

NB.  To date there has been no retraction, or apology for the untruthful and scandalous public accusations made against me by John Adams above relating to a breach of trust and confidentiality.  As such I have been placed in the position of having to defend my integrity on more than one occasion.  In the circumstances, this published Report by Pritchard Diving (Services) Consultancy and my reply to them serves as  my Right of Reply, and to redress the balance.  AG.

 

No part of these Reports are permitted to be reproduced or distributed in any form whatsoever without the express written permission of the authors.

Response to Report

 

PDF version of the response is to follow

Bibliography

Final Advice to Filey Underwater Research Unit

Report (1) to The Filey Bay Initiative

Report (2) to The Filey Bay Initiative

Reports to Pritchard Diving (Services) Consultancy

Reports (miscellaneous)

Advice to English Heritage

Fileybay home page          Project         Filey Bay Research Group         Bonhomme Richard