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Trainee Archaeologists Explore Mull Wreck

20 July 2009

Aspiring archaeologists from across the globe have visited Mull to learn about underwater heritage.

Historic Scotland has sponsored the underwater archaeology fieldschool in the Sound of Mull to encourage public interest in the recording of Scotland’s underwater heritage.

Philip Robertson, Historic Scotland’s marine archaeologist, said: “Scotland has some incredible wreck sites that have fascinating stories to tell. The Swan, where we took the students to dive, was one of three ships lost in a Commonwealth flotilla that attacked Duart Castle (Mull) in 1653 in order to stamp out pockets of Royalist resistance to republican government in the aftermath of the English Civil War. Archaeological investigations of this very well preserved historic wreck over the last decade have helped to shed light on a little known aspect of Scottish maritime history.”

The fieldschool participants had travelled from across the UK, Europe and the USA and were among the first to see a new interpretation panel explaining the Swan’s significance, recently installed on a promontory overlooking the wreck site.

The fieldschool follows the introduction of the Marine (Scotland) Bill to the Scottish Parliament, a bill that includes mechanisms to improve protection and management of Scotland’s world-class marine heritage, and the establishment of the Sound of Mull pilot project of the Scottish Sustainable Marine Environment Initiative (SSMEI).

Isaac Forster, the Sound of Mull project’s pilot officer watched the students diving. He said: “The marine heritage of the Sound of Mull is an economic and cultural asset of the region that draws tourists from around the globe, and forms an integral part of the local community. The SSMEI project is developing a strategic plan for managing the marine environment, using information on where activities, features and resources occur, and taking into account economic, social and environmental factors. We hope this plan will assist in safeguarding the heritage of the region and aid in identifying appropriate development opportunities to further appreciation of historical sites and features.”

Notes for editors:

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament. For more information visit

  • Historic Scotland is delighted to be supporting the 2009 Year of Homecoming with a series of initiatives including family trails, spectacular events and the creation of a Homecoming Pass for heritage attractions in association with other heritage organisations

For further information

Lesley Brown
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8603 or 07788 923873