Fieldschool Day 5

31 07 2009
Andrew investigating the framing

Andrew investigating the framing

A thunder and lightning storm woke everybody in their tents at 04’42 and we presumed the worst but it was not to be. After a large amount of heavy rain it cleared up and it became a beautiful day. First up for diving were Jens and Andrew and they carried out photography of the wreck site and working operation in an amazing visibility up to twenty meters. Next to dive are Sarah and Marja. This perfect visibility gave them the opportunity to start the tagging of the various part of the wreck and to draw some of its interesting features.  The last dive of the day was carried out by Cate and Christian. They continued on with the tagging of the wreck and made great progress towards completing the drawing of the wreck. Meanwhile at the campsite Bente, Jens and Martin finished the drawing plan of the ‘4 a.m. wreck’ (FPL 77). They also managed to survey ‘4 a.m. wreck’ (FPL 77) with a total station before the divers arrive back from a hard day’s work.

Martin Lonergan


Fieldschool Day 4

30 07 2009
Measuring the sternpost

Measuring the sternpost

The day started off with a small amount of pessimism about the weather.  The wind never really died, but we were fortunate enough to not have any rain.  Our first dive was cut short due to multiple simultaneous calls of nature, but the remaining dives seemed to be having a competition for the longest dive.  The winner of this “competition” came in with a dive of 2 hours 18 minutes!  This was despite having equipment problems in the middle of the dive.  Aiding the divers in their competition was the fact that the main purpose of their dives was to draw more of the ship, a task which allowed the divers to focus completely on their work while remaining very relaxed.

Not all of the focus is on diving, however.  With the ship fragment FPL 77, affectionately known among the students here as the 4 AM Wreck, everyone had work to do even when they were on the surface.  People seemed to be in especially good spirits when informed that we would be able to take the ship apart in order to fully document it.  Drawing has begun and is coming along quite nicely.

Andrew Stanek

Fieldschool Day 3

30 07 2009
Supervisor checks before dive

Supervisor checks before dive

Having the task today of being the site director I had planned an ambitious day of diving. The main task of the divers was to establish a recording grid and maybe start recording. With An early start I wanted to do four dive and if possible a fifth dive could be squeezed in. This plan slid even before the first dive. After a successful morning briefing, we made practice set up of the grid in the camp, to make sure it was understood by everyone.

Arriving to the boat moored approximately three kilometers down the beach from the site, I discovered that the fuel tank had been removed the day before, after diving. This resulted in a rather late start of the first dive. After retrieving fuel for the boat the first dive team got in the water about 11 o clock.

I was part of the second dive together with Bente. My dry suit wasn’t nearly as dry as the name promises. My left leg was completely soaked shortly after the beginning of the dive. Wearing the backplate, my only buoyancy control was my suit. When surfacing I couldn’t keep air in the suit since it was constantly escaping from my neck seal, this meant that I couldn’t stay at the surface with out kicking hard. Despite these problems we got the grid right and started on the drawing.

The third dive went well and the outline of the wreck was recorded on the drawing.

After a chaotic start we got the things running and managed to reach the goal set for the day’s dive.

Christian Thomsen

Fieldschool Day 2

28 07 2009
Cate Wagstaff draws as the other students study the details.

Cate Wagstaffe draws as the other students study the details.

Began Tuesday at 04:00 following an urgent call for assistance from the local authorities. Had breakfast and headed to the Bernstein Weg beach. We arrived at 05:20. A small patch of wood showed through the sand, on the edge of the surf. We began clearing the sand with hands and shovels. First planking then treenails and then frames appeared. We dug all of the planking proud of the sand. A two-pronged digger was used to loosen remains. The remains were loosened a little more with shovels. Following this it was taken out of the sand completely by the digger. We could see the boat was originally clinker built. The clinker hull had been covered with flush outer planking. There were the remains of two flush planks on top of original clinker planking and frames. Filling planks were used to assist the flush laid planks to sit securely on the clinker planks. The frames appeared to be of different sizes. The iron nails were sometimes on the upper and sometimes on the lower face of the planks. They had had roves around them as indicated by square indents around the small square holes. There was a little metal staining in some cases in the rove indents. There was one wooden nail that was square at its head it was the same width as the iron nail heads, about 1cm . Cate made a drawing of the remains. Bente and Kostas took photos of the morning’s proceedings. There was sea grass on the underside of the wreck, which was the inner side of the hull. The planking butts of the clinker section overlapped, showing the direction of the stem and stern. The wreck was attached to a heavy wooden board transported to a large pick-up truck. Then it was transported to our campsite and where we kept it water logged with a sprinkler.
08:00 We were back at our site. We had three dives today on the Ostsee-Bereich wreck. Thijs and Jens were first into the water. This was also their first dive on the wreck. They cleaned most of it with brushes. Maja and Cate were the next dive pair into the water. They picked up where Thijs and Jens left off, cleaning the wreck. The last dive pair of the day was Andrew and Martin. Their main aim was to start a photo record of the wreck. They also took some working shots of each other cleaning the wreck. Bente was dive supervisor for the day. The dives ended at 18:15. Dinner was followed by discussions of the day’s events and of plans for the next day. The remainder of the evening was spent processing the day’s accumulated data.

Sarah Fawsitt.

Fieldschool Day 1

27 07 2009
Martin cleaning the wreck

Martin cleaning the wreck


For a period of three weeks the Maritime Archaeology Programme, usually based in the University of Southern Denmark, Esbjerg, is relocating to sunny northern Germany.  The class of 2008 along with professors, Jens Auer and Thijs Maarleveld arrived at Prerow on Sunday the 27th of July. The class is made up of Cate Wagstaffe, Andrew Stanek, Marja Lisa Grue, Christian Thomsen, Martin Lonergan, Bente Grundvad, Kostas Alexiou, Sarah Fawsitt, Delia Ni Chiobhain, and Liv Loftus. On Sunday we erected our tents and had an evening swim out to the wreck site. The wreck was located 200 metres from shore as was expected.

Day one

Monday morning our main aim was to launch our two boats. Our newest boat, the Mapper launched without any problems. Our inflatable however had a puncture so we were unable to launch it. The Mapper and two divers headed for the wreck site where a buoy was secured near the wreck.

Meanwhile back at the camp the first divers prepared their equipment and headed down to the beach. When they arrived, Mapper came into shore to pick them up. There were four dives altogether. The first divers entered the water at 12’51. They put down a measuring tape to use for offset measurement in the center of the wreck. Christian Thomsen begun the sketch, while Cate Wagstaffe was ‘cleaning’ the wreck. Cate took over the sketching half way through dive and Christian continued with the cleaning. They finished their dive an hour later. The next divers were Andrew Stanek and Sarah Fawsitt, they focused on the sketching and took some more measurements. They also did certain amount of cleaning. Their dive was from 15’17 to 15’51. Kostas Alexiou and Bente Grundvad begun their dive at 16’52. Kostas cleaning and Bente made some more measurements and sketching. They reached surface at 17’57. Martin Lonergan and Marja Grue began their dive at 18’36. Their aim was to check out the extent of the wreck, but their dive had to be aborted after 15 minutes, due to a time constraints. After the last divers and most of the equipment were brought to shore the powerboat was taken back to the initial area (surfing school) and the last of the equipment was taken out, before it was anchored. The people responsible for the mooring and driving the boat were picked up from there.

After dinner we had a debriefing and were told that due to a wreck washing up on a nearby beach we would be having an early start in the morning.

Diving for archaeology

8 07 2009

Last checks before a night dive in the commercial diving course

At the end of May six – freshly graduated and tired but happy – commercial SCUBA divers received their licenses from a representative of the Danish Maritime Authority in Esbjerg after the last oral exam…

Congratulations and well done!!