Project SAMPHIRE is all about building bridges between professional maritime archaeologists and the local communities with knowledge about archaeological sites. Although we mainly focus on sharing of information, we also work with groups like the Nautical Archaeology Society (https://www.nauticalarchaeologysociety.org/) who offer training to those who want to get even more involved.
Dr Dan Atkinson and John McCarthy (from WA Coastal & Marine and the SAMPHIRE Project), and Steve Liscoe (Fife Council), are also tutors for the NAS and last weekend we ran a one day Nautical Archaeology Society Introduction course for a group of recreational divers. The day included a mix of theory and practical sessions. We spent the morning going over the basics of maritime archaeology, including how to survey a site and then moved to Musselburgh Pool to put the theory into practice. This course was supported by Historic Scotland.
You can see more images from the training course here.
Today the SAMPHIRE team were conducting dive surveys from Kinlochbervie Harbour, from the local boat the MV Nimrod, skippered by Jimmy MacIntosh. We have been joined for the next few days by Bruce Greig, a volunteer dive whose years of scallop diving in the area have given him a comprehensive knowledge of local diving conditions and sites. We had a great first day of diving south of Elphin and were escorted back to the harbour by another local with extensive diving experience!
The SAMPHIRE team are in Shieldaig today, following up on a possible wreck site at Murchadh Breac reported to us by a local creel fisherman. We are working with Torridon Sea Tours and mobilised our dive team today from the pontoon at Shieldaig. We were fortunate to have local historian Robert Gordon joining us on the trip and to be able to compare notes with boat operators Kenny and Gemma Livingstone, whose family have lived and fished in the area for generations. We sent two divers down on the west side of Murchadh Breac, at the mouth of Loch Torridon. The area was found to be heavily covered in kelp and no wreck material was encountered today but chatting with locals we now have more info on wreck sites in the area and will be following up on these leads.