About the SHIPS Project


The city of Plymouth has a long maritime history that dates back to the arrival of the first humans in the South-West of England.  Since that time the waters of Plymouth Sound and the adjoining rivers have seen hundreds of maritime events, accidents and disasters; some witnessed and recorded but many more happened unseen and undocumented. 

Despite the passing of time the seabed and shoreline around Plymouth still contains evidence of these events, so the aim of the SHIPS Project is to record the maritime history of Plymouth by recording the remains of these events.


To investigate, record, publish and promote the maritime history of Plymouth Sound, it's estuaries, rivers and foreshore.


1. Research

To undertake research using documentary archive material, anecdotal records and oral histories
To document andresearch objects recovered from underwater and the foreshore in the area

2. Geophysical Exploration

To collate and reprocess any existing geophysical data available to the Project
To undertake new geophysical survey work within the area

3.  Investigation

To investigate targets and objects located underwater or on the foreshore

4.  Technical Research

To undertake research into the technology and methods employed by the Project
To research and develop techniques in marine geophysics for archaeological prospection
To research the degradation of materials underwater

5. Collaboration

To collaborate with and promote organisations with an interest in the maritime history of Plymouth, including academic and government institutions, museums, groups, societies and the public locally, nationally and internationally
To undertake and support training in all aspects of fieldwork

6. Publication

To publish the results of the Project investigations and research using publications, conference papers, talks, the media and the Internet


The scope of the SHIPS Project includes Plymouth Sound, it's harbours, estuaries, foreshore as well as the tidal extents of the rivers Tamar, Plym, Tavy, Lynher and Yealm

The northern boundary is the tidal reach of the Tamar at Gunnislake, Beacon Hill to the east, south to the 50m depth contour and Portwrinkle to the west.

The temporal extents of the SHIPS Project are from the arrival of man in the area to the present day.


SHIPS Project Annual Report 2012


The SHIPS Project logo has been adapted from the line drawing of a ship from a seal of Plymouth dated 1368

SHIPS Project Partners

SHIPS Project Supporters

email If you would like to know more about the SHIPS Project then please contact us