Maritime Archaeological Students Measure Purton Hulks

The maritime archaeological students start the survey

The maritime archaeological students start the survey

Students from the Centre for Historical and Maritime Archaeology at the University of Bristol, were taken  down to the shipwreck hulks at Purton to practice measuring shipwreck profiles.

On the bank between the River Severn and the Gloucester- Sharpness Canal, near Bristol there are about 40 craft laid in various states of disrepair on the banks.

The Purton hulks have been studied by many people, including Grahame Farr, David MacGregor and Colin Green. Both the latter drew up sketch plans and identified many of the vessels. In 1998 the Archaeology Department of the University of Bristol, under the direction of Dr. Toby Parker, has made an accurate survey of the site and plotted and numbered the visible remains.

This survey was published in 1998 and the article summarises the previous work on identifying the vessels and offers a numbering system to assist in identifying and referring to the remains there.

The students, all of which are working hard for their MA in Maritime Archaeology, were taught the basics of measuring by Dr. Simon Q. Spooner, who is a Research Associate within the department.

Above and below, photos of the students at work, on  the 'Dispatch', the 1888 Geddie built schooner. At the bottom there is the wreck of the ship which collided with the railway bridge, destroying the bridge and the ship at the same time. Here you can see the remains at low tide in the middle of the River Severn.

This unique site is currently undergoing an ongoing comprehensive research program, which has sought to establish the identities of 81 historic vessels, that currently lie undisturbed on the windswept foreshore of the River Severn.   In turn, local marine historian Paul Barnett has subsequently established the identities and potted history for 76 of the stranded vessels along with approx. 200 photos, scale plans and associated information with ref to this unique site.  If you would like to discuss these findings further or if you can provide help in anyway, he can be contacted directly on 07833143231 or or see hulks  for details.