MSDS Marine and the Nautical Archaeology Society MoU

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MSDS Marine and the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS) are pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enable us to bring together the extensive experience of both organisations for the benefit of underwater cultural heritage research, promotion, education and enjoyment.

Both MSDS Marine and the NAS are fully functioning, and successful, organisations with existing management structures and staff. They are both recognised as market leaders in maritime archaeology and bringing the diverse skills of the two organisations together will ensure that we can maximise the benefit of our work by increasing public value, and promoting good practice through innovation and skills development.

Having known Mark and Alison at MSDS Marine for decades and having worked with them in recent years on a number of projects including at Sandwich and on the Rooswijk wreck, we are very excited about what the future might hold for both organisations by working together. This year marks the 50th year of our international journal and 50 years of supporting and promoting nautical and maritime archaeology, and partnerships and collaborations like this with MSDS Marine are crucial to ensure that we are around for the next 50 years.

Mark Beattie Edwards, CEO of the NAS

MSDS Marine and the NAS agree to the following goals in order to initiate a closer working relationship:

  • the development of shared access to staff and resources to increase capacity within both organisations;
  • the ability for MSDS Marine to develop projects which require registered charitable status through the NAS as a mechanism to recognise the aims and aspirations of MSDS Marine;
  • identifying opportunities for MSDS Marine to promote the work of the NAS to the diving community and beyond through its sister company Go Dive;
  • the development of closer working and the formalisation and recognition of an exclusive relationship whereby MSDS Marine recognise the NAS as their preferred partner for project delivery and vice versa.

MSDS Marine have always had an active interest in education and outreach and the promotion of marine archaeology, as well as contributing to increasing capacity in the sector. Wherever possible, we always try to ensure that these interests are included within projects. Since our formation we have worked to establish a number of ways in which we can help the sector. Current initiatives include the MSDS Marine student and licensee grants, the donation of equipment and software such as Agisoft Metashape to the Big Cannon Project and CISMAS, the funding of the logistics and the provision of staff and equipment for volunteer projects including the first phase of the Sandwich Bay fieldwork project.

Alison James, one of the company directors, started her marine archaeological career at the NAS before moving on to work as an education and outreach officer at the Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology (HWTMA), now the Maritime Archaeology Trust (MAT). Following her move to English Heritage (EH), now Historic England (HE), Alison’s involvement with avocational archaeologists continued with her role managing England’s protected wreck sites. This role involved daily involvement with the licensed divers of these sites, classed by Historic England as their affiliated volunteers. At MSDS Marine, Alison’s involvement in the volunteer and community sector continues and she manages a number of externally funded projects that involve training, outreach and stakeholder engagement. Alison also sits on the NAS Executive Committee and ICOMOS UK Wood Committee.

Mark James, another company director, started his marine archaeological career working for the education and outreach department of HWTMA, now MAT, before moving to the New Forest National Park Authority (NFNPA) and project managing the Coastal Heritage Project (CHP). The CHP was a two-year project undertaken to identify, record and understand the coastal heritage of the NFNPA, including the intertidal and submerged resource. The project focused heavily on the recruiting, training and the creation of opportunities for volunteers to become involved in their maritime heritage. Mark continues to manage projects with a large volunteer and training element.

Sally Evans, the third company director, has been heavily involved in MSDS Marine projects that have a volunteer, training or outreach component. The projects she has run and been involved in include working with volunteers at Sandwich Bay as part of the Historic England Ecosystem Services project which preceded the ongoing fieldwork now taking place at Sandwich Bay. Sally managed and co-ordinated the volunteer and student workforce shore-side during the Rooswijk project excavation phase, as well as working on our behalf at the outreach events. Sally is currently involved in the development of further projects with a volunteer component.

“I am absolutely delighted to be able to sign this MoU with the NAS and welcome the opportunity it will bring for both MSDS Marine and the NAS. Having started my career with the NAS it seems fitting to be able to work together with them now to benefit the maritime archaeology sector. I look forward to working with them on existing projects such as at Sandwich and on the creation of new projects in the future“.

Alison James, MSDS Marine

The NAS are a very well established and respected charity who are well known in both the sector (worldwide) and the recreational diving community. Their standing in the community is excellent and they are a very well-respected organisation and the ‘go-to’ place for avocational marine archaeological training.

I am very pleased to announce the signing of a MoU between the NAS and MSDS Marine and excited by the opportunities it will present for both organisations. I look forward to sharing the results of our collaboration on current and future projects in the coming months.”

Tim Parker, Chair of the Nautical Archaeology Society

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