30 Sep 2009

Hulks reveal hidden secrets

I've been following the wonderful developments at Purton where Marine Historian Paul Barnett has been working to preserve the 'Purton Hulks' - why you say have I got a pic of the launch of the Stroud currency? Well Paul is holding the £1! Anyway here is his latest news:

Following what is now being billed as the first ships excavation to take place this century, the last remaining Kennet built barge Harriett of the now famous Purton Hulks is set to take centre stage amongst the country’s archaeological fraternity and ignite a massive debate into the distinct lack of national funding for our nations maritime archaeology.

This comes in the wake of this week’s site excavation of the vessel by volunteer guardians of the site, The Friends of Purton, set up in 2008 in light of continued governmental inactivity to afford formal protection to the nation’s largest foreshore ships graveyard in the country.

Friends of Purton Chairman Paul Barnett today remarked “that despite it being too early to comment, I am thrilled with the results and believe that there is so much more to discover regarding this rapidly disappearing epitaph to a dwindling maritime way of life and a once proud maritime nation.”

In line, Head of Archaeology for the Friends, Laurent Coleman, heralded the excavation as “a great success, the works giving a vital insight into the state of preservation of the vessel and answering questions regarding the hull form and construction. Further I am immensely impressed by the hard work and cooperation demonstrated by members of The Friends of Purton, of the NAS and of the local community in achieving our common aim. I look forward to presenting a report to the archeologically world in due course”.

This early success has been marked by Mark Beattie - Edwards,Programme Director,
Nautical Archaeology Society, who issued this from their Portsmouth headquarters “The NAS are delighted to see what quantity of the Harriett actually remains preserved beneath the ground at Purton. The challenge now of course is to try and protect in any way we can the remains above the surface for all to enjoy. I am sure that the Friends of Purton will work tirelessly to this end and will not rest until their heritage is protected for future generations and for that we applaud them”.

The excavation itself was conducted as part of a rolling programme to record the entire site and was carried out in conjunction with 3D laser scanning of the exposed timbers by Vista, University of Birmingham and a magnetic surveyconducted by Worcestershire based Stratascan Ltd. Further details on this and the other vessels within the Purton Hulks fleet please visit www.friendsofpurton.org.uk

Plus here are the details of a programme of guided tours through the remains of the Purton Hulks in the company of Paul:
Sunday 17th January 2010 1pm
Sunday 21st February 2010 1pm
Sunday 21st March 2010 1pm
Sunday 18th April 2010 2pm
Sunday 2nd & 16th May 2010 2pm
Sunday 6th & 20th June 2010 2pm
Sunday 4th & 18th July 2010 2pm
Sunday 15th August 2010 2pm
Sunday 5th & 19th September 2010 2pm
Sunday 17th October 2010 2pm
Sunday 21st November 2010 1pm
Sunday 19th December 2010 1pm

Meet Purton Lower Bridge - Tour fee £3.50 per person - Approx tour time 2 hours weather permitting - Slide show presentations also available upon request Tel. 07833 143 231 or Barnadillo(at)aol.com

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