Sea War Museum takes part in a new research project
A two-year project with support from the Danish Ministry of Culture will search to determine how fast shipwrecks deteriorate in the North Sea
Text and photo by Knud Jakobsen
Senior researcher David Gregory of the Danish National Museum's Conservation and Science Department has in collaboration with Sea War Museum Jutland in Thyborøn launched an extensive research project, which might have a decisive influence on the future conservation of the cultural heritage in the North Sea and other vulnerable waters. In cooperation with the museum in Thyborøn and Dr. Rory Quinn of Ulster University he is going to investigate how fast shipwrecks deteriorate in the North Sea.
For decades, it has been regarded as a sound policy to protect historically valuable shipwrecks in situ, i. e. on the seabed, and prohibit all intervention from the view that they thus will be available to future generations. Experience from the Baltic Sea and other protected areas have supported this position, but in the North Sea, the situation is quite different.
"Our latest studies show that a wreck in the North Sea in a worst cases scenario can deteriorate and disappear in just 30 years. Everything indicates that there is an urgent need for a more nuanced view than hitherto. In the future it will be necessary to take the conditions on the spot in consideration," David Gregory says.
He has received DKK 763,000 (102.500 €) from the Research Committee of the Ministry of Culture for his new project, and through affiliation to Sea War Museum Jutland, he has gained access to the largest database over wrecks in the North Sea. It has been created by the founder and director of the Sea War Museum, Gert Normann Andersen, who himself has dived on many of the wrecks.
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Memorial Park for the Battle of Jutland
Memorial Park for the Battle of Jutland is to be established in Thyborøn, to honour the 8645 British and German mariners, who lost their lives in the battle on May 31st and June 1st 1916.