Relics of War

Abstract from Mark Littlewood and Dr. Annalisa Christie`s recent paper : The large natural anchorage of Scapa Flow has played an important strategic role as the main northern naval base for Britain in both World Wars. As a result the seabed and surrounding coast is littered with wreckage and debris associated with the wartime defences and the vessels that were part of the conflicts.

The submerged remains of wartime vessels from both World Wars have been the focus of several Historic Scotland funded projects to confirm the identity and assess the extent, character and condition of these sites. Targeted vessels, sites, their debris fields and their surrounding seabed contexts were surveyed with side scan sonar then ground truthed by diver or drop camera to elucidate the condition of the remains.

The paper presents the outcomes of these recent surveys to demonstrate the diversity of submerged cultural wartime heritage in Orkney – from the remains of German battleships of the First World War, to experimental anti-torpedo close protection vessels of the Second World War and from crashed aircraft sites to extensive fields of boom defence debris. These will be explored examining how material culture and historic documents can be used to portray the personal narratives of the military personnel who would have interacted with them from the period.
https://www.uhi.ac.uk/en/archaeology-institute