Colossus Wreck Artefacts To Be Used In Study

One of Scilly’s best know wrecks, The Colossus, will be used in an experiment to determine how artefacts can be best preserved.

When shipwrecks are covered in sand or mud, they are not exposed to the bacteria, fungus and wood boring insects that can affect them on the surface following salvage.

Kevin Camidge has been diving with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Maritime Archaeology Society on the site recently. He says he’s uncovered tackle and blocks from the 1797 wreck, which would have been part of the ship’s guns. They are in good condition and so is rope, something that may be expected to deteriorate because it’s been buried on the seabed.

A collection of timbers, pieces of pottery, iron and copper items recovered from the Colossus is being analyzed, X-rayed and photographed in detail at the York Archaeological Trust before it is buried on the seabed for at least 10 years in a test measuring how much it deteriorates.

English Heritage is backing the project, which will see divers place the artefacts on the site in September. Kevin says they also intend to add another two numbered buoy markers on the wreck, which allow divers to navigate the Colossus and identify items of historic interest.

This new signage will show the location of recently-found rigging and guns which were part of the quarter deck and which lie some distance from the existing underwater debris trail.

Kevin believes its important to show off what is there as exposed parts of the wreck will have a finite life and won’t be there for ever.