The Archaeology Data Service (ARIADNEplus Partner ADS) is playing a major role in UNPATH, a new project led by Historic England and involving a large consortium of UK Universities, Cultural Heritage institutions and government agencies concerned with maritime archaeology. “Unpath’d Waters: Marine and Maritime Collections in the UK” is one of five projects funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of the “Towards a National Collection” initiative which aims to bring together various diverse collections and archives.
The UK has a very rich maritime history going back 23,000 thousand years ago (late Pleistocene period) when part of the North Sea was still connected to continental Europe. As a major naval power and trading nation, UK waters are home to shipwrecks and artefacts not to mention famous explorers and a cultural folklore steeped in the island’s maritime past. As such, a vast wealth of archaeological and documentary resources are to be found all over the UK and which can vary from ancient charts, films and recordings, to archaeological reports and seismic survey datasets as well as the physical objects and artefacts. Through digitisation and recording (meta)data about all these resources, UNPATH aims to provide access as well as new ways of searching across collections, visualising underwater landscapes, and identifying wrecks and artefacts from them – for the benefit of not just researchers and historians but the general public. ADS will adopt approaches developed in ARIADNE to ensure interoperability between these resources, and will also make them available via the ARIADNE Portal. This will greatly enhance the Portal’s marine archaeology content and provide more valuable resources for end users.