Echoes from the Deep
Inventorising shipwrecks at the national scale by the application of marine geophysics and the historical text
Imprint: Sidestone Press
All of the 273 shipwrecks in a 7,500sqm study area in the Irish Sea were surveyed using multibeam echosounder. The methodologies subsequently developed to identify the wrecks enabled names to be given to 80% of the unknown ships, verified by their dimensions, their geographic position, and archival descriptions of the sinking of each ship. In all 87% of the ships in the study are now identified.
In historic terms, the newly identified wrecks include myriad vessels from trawlers, cargo vessels, submarines, through to the largest ocean liners and tankers. They include rare ship designs, losses of national importance, and naval graves. Several of the wrecks uncovered have potential environmental concerns. The accurate dating of so many wrecks in one area has a major impact on the study of seabed dynamics and site formation processes, creating better models for the placement of windfarms and tidal generators.
This research is important because the seabed of the world is being increasingly mapped in detail, and shipwrecks are being located in large numbers. This research developed a low-cost means of inventorising shipwreck datasets across entire national zones without costly physical interaction with each wreck site. It should be of key interest to marine scientists, environmental agencies, hydrographers, heritage managers, maritime archaeologists, and historians around the world.
1. Introduction: Echoes from the Deep
2. Researching and databasing the historical text
3. The Research Phase 1: Establishing the extent of the unknown shipwrecks
4. The Research Phase 2: Identifying the unknown shipwrecks
5. Conclusions, impact & significance
Appendix 1: Summary of results of all 273 shipwrecks featured in the research
Appendix 2: Datasheets of the 129 shipwrecks identified during Phase 2 of the research