Archaeology ORCA

Video Images of the German High Seas Fleet Scrap Sites

Good visibility and perfect conditions, while diving on the German High Seas Fleet Scrap Sites (Scapa Flow Orkney), enabled the team to video amazing wreckage left behind following the salvage operations of the inter-war years.

The video clip above shows remains of the German Battlecruiser Von der Tann including one of the derricks, used for lifting the ship’s pinnace, and superstructure that became detached as the ship was raised and moved across Scapa Flow, Orkney.

Marine archaeologist, Sandra Henry from Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology (ORCA), the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute and Kevin Heath from SULA Diving completed a dive on the German High Seas Fleet scrap sites in early spring.

Concentrating on sites located through side scan sonar survey completed in phase one, the archaeologists recorded and documented extensive remains of the First World War fleet that still lie on the seabed. The conditions underwater were perfect and visibility was good, allowing the divers to take some excellent photographs and video footage while recording and surveying the wreckage left behind following the inter-war salvage efforts on the scuttled German High Seas Fleet.

The salvaging of the German High Seas Fleet in the 1920s-40s raised battleships, battlecruisers and destroyers from the seabed for scrapping at dockyard sites further south such as Rosyth. Today the remains of these ships and their associated salvage lie on the seabed, continuing to tell the story of the High Seas Fleet in Scapa Flow, and providing an exciting and interesting heritage resource.

Sandra Henry added, “The story of the scuttling of the High Seas Fleets and the later salvage operation have come to life through the recording and documentation of the ship remains present on the seabed in Scapa Flow. This project, funded by Historic Environment Scotland, will gather data which will be used to protect and monitor these sites for public engagement and enjoyment.”

The project is designed to showcase the significant wreckage of the scrap sites of the German High Seas Fleet and was conducted on behalf of Historic Environment Scotland.

To catch up on full details of the project click our posts German High Seas Fleet Scrap Site Survey in Scapa Flow & Diving on the German High Seas Fleet Scrap Sites.

All images copyright UHI Archaeology Institute.