The High Seas Fleet was the battle fleet of the German Imperial Navy in World War One. On 21st June 1919, Rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter gave the order to scuttle the 74 ships of the High Seas Fleet located in Scapa Flow. 52 vessels were successfully scuttled, although during the interwar period salvage operations lifted 45 of these vessels from the seafloor. Today the wrecks of three battleships and four light cruisers remain on the seabed of Scapa Flow (http://www.scapaflowwrecks.com/wrecks/).
Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology (ORCA) is pleased to announce a collaborative maritime archaeology project surveying shipwrecks of the German High Seas Fleet and the war graves HMS Hampshire, HMS Vanguard and HMS Royal Oak.
HMS Hampshire was an armoured cruiser that was assigned to transport Field Marshal Lord Kitchener, to Archangel in northern Russia for a meeting with Tsar Nicholas II. During this assignment, the ship struck a mine, off Marwick Head, on the west coast of Orkney. She sank in twenty minutes with a loss of 737 men including Lord Kitchener
HMS Royal Oak was a revenge class Battleship. The Royal Oak under command of Captain Commander W.H. Benn sat at anchor when struck by torpedoes fired from U47 under the command of Kapitanleutnant Günther Prien resulting in the loss of 833 lives.
HMS Vanguard was a St. Vincent class dreadnought battleship destroyed at her mooring by a series of explosions before midnight on Monday, 9 July 1917. 843 men were lost out of the 845 people on board.
This exciting project, which began on Sunday, is led by Sandra Henry, ORCA (Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology), University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute and Kevin Heath of SULA Diving has brought together universities, commercial companies and government bodies including Historic Environment Scotland, Marine Scotland, Ulster University, Heriot-Watt University, University of Dundee, and Seatronics – an Acteon company.
The survey is using a suite of geophysical equipment, ROV and diver survey to collect data that will accurately record the wrecks as they sit on the seafloor today. The data collected will be used to continue to monitor, protect, conserve and promote these impressive ship wrecks. Visualisations of the wrecks by Chris Rowland, University of Dundee 3D Visualisation Research Lab (3DVisLab), will
bring the wrecks to the surface and to life as he employs the latest technologies available to create these models. The project commences on the 23rd July 2017
If you would like more information contact: University of the Highlands and Islands, Archaeology Institute, Orkney College KW15 1LX
t +44(0)1856 569 000
• The project lead is Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology (ORCA), University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute.
• Marine Scotland vessel MV Scotia will be the work platform for data collection. Data collection will involve Marine Scotland undertaking MBES survey, providing calibrated unprocessed raw data and camera equipment for the acquisition of data.
• Seatronics – an Acteon Company will provide ROV, positioning and 3D modelling and spatially cross referenced video inspection equipment photogrammetric equipment.
• Historic Environment Scotland will provide guidance on marine historic assets, survey targets and specialist knowledge on the wreck sites.
• Ulster University will provide input into the specifications for data acquisition for the geophysical and ROV surveys and provide input into maritime archaeological assessment and analysis.
• Heriot-Watt University will provide input into the specifications for data acquisition for the ROV survey and undertake marine biological studies on the submerged cultural heritage assets.
• Ministry of Defence will provide input into the specifications for data acquisition for the geophysical and ROV surveys, and specialist knowledge on the wreck sites being investigated and environmental studies of the wreck sites.
• The University of Dundee will process MBES and ROV survey data and work to produce visualisations based on the collected data. This will involve the production of 3D models of the wreck sites from the multibeam echosounder and photogrammetric data.
• The project will be conducted under licence from the Ministry of Defence.
• The data and project archive will be deposited with the project partners, including Historic Environment Scotland, the MoD, and Orkney Islands Council in accordance with the standards established by the Marine Environmental Data Information Network (MEDIN).