Monday, 25 March 2013

An Historic Wreck Site

A few hundred metres from Mingary Castle, just off the headland called Rubh' a' Mhile, lies a sunken 17th century ship.  Scottish Ministers now propose to designate the area, including part of the headland, as the 'Mingary Historic Marine Protection Area'.   The site of the wreck itself was discovered in 1999 and investigated by Wessex Archaeology - story here.  It was investigated in a TV 'Wreck Detectives' episode in 2003, and in 2007 it was designated under section 1 of the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973.

A consultation paper has now been issued.  It describes the site's importance thus -

"The wrecked vessel is believed to relate to a wrecking incident that is recorded to have occurred during a siege of Mingary Castle by Archibald Campbell, 8th Earl of Argyll, in 1644. The remains of the vessel lie wrecked on or in the seabed at a depth of 8-11m below chart datum on the SE side of the rocky peninsular of Rubh’ a ‘Mhile, approximately 700m to the SE of Mingary Castle, Ardnamurchan.

"Relatively few wreck sites have survived in Scottish waters prior to the early 19th century, and well-preserved examples that have been investigated systematically by archaeologists are particularly rare across the UK. Survey work on the wreck off Mingary Castle has identified survival of a wide range of artefact types and as this site remains substantially undisturbed, it retains an inherent potential to make a very significant addition to our understanding of the past. In particular, this site is likely to preserve important information about the design and use of vessels during the 17th century. Our understanding of the significance of this site is further enhanced by its connections with important events in Scottish history, in particular conflicts between the anti-Campbell Highland clans and the Covenanters during the 1640s. In addition, the location of this site, close to Mingary Castle, the object of Argyll’s attack, and two other 17th-century historic wrecks, adds significantly to our understanding of the coastal landscape bordering the historically significant sea-route through the Sound of Mull, and the growing vulnerability of coastal castles to attack by seaborne artillery during the 17th century.

"As this marine historic asset is located within an area that is very popular for recreation and tourism (in particular sport diving), it is expected that designation will also help to promote the heritage value of the site, foster its understanding and enjoyment, and encourage responsible behaviour by divers and others."

The site which it is proposed to designate is in the area shown on this Google satellite image.  The boat is almost exactly above the wreck.  The wreck is already protected, so it is illegal to dive on it without prior permission.  HM Coastguard Kilchoan keep a watch on the site, and have reported divers to the police.

The consultation document, in .pdf format, is available here.  Comments need to be submitted by 14th June 2014.

No comments:

Post a Comment