MAS extended to Northern Ireland

archive – Diving NewsMAS extended to Northern Ireland

The Marine Antiquities Scheme (MAS) is set to launch in Northern Ireland. The scheme, which launched in England and Wales in July 2016, aims to enhance awareness of marine heritage by encouraging divers and other water-users to record archaeological finds in the marine environment through a website or mobile app.

MAS was created through the partnership of Wessex Archaeology, the British Museum, the Crown Estate and the British Sub-Aqua Club, in consultation with the Receiver of Wreck.

Now the Historic Environment Division (Department for Communities) has joined this partnership to support the research and documentation of finds in Northern Ireland’s waters.

“The scheme will undoubtedly help to increase public participation with marine archaeology in Northern Ireland waters, while also promoting best practice with regard to the treatment and legal reporting of these finds,” said Ian Greenway, Director of the division.

A total of 352 finds have been recorded by members of the public under the existing scheme in England and Wales.

These include a collection of Roman pottery, which includes the legible name-stamp of Advocisus in central Gaul from around 200 AD, and a medieval pilgrim’s ampulla used for carrying holy water.

The MAS app allows users to locate, record and submit information, while the database provides a resource for anyone wanting to know more about marine archaeology and underwater heritage.

All finds, once verified by a team of archaeological experts and when the legal requirements relating to wreck have been observed, are to be published on the database, with details of the item’s origins and history. 

The app for phones and tablets can be downloaded from iOS and Android app stores.

Finders can also submit information using an electronic recording form on the MAS website.

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