Search Canmore

Shipwreck Map of Scotland Published as Maritime Record Enhanced

18 March 2014

RCAHMS have published a new ‘wreck map’ showing the density of 1,200 years of shipwrecks in Scottish waters as part of a drive to enhance the maritime record for Scotland.

This map was produced as part of Project Adair, a partnership between RCAHMS and Historic Scotland to collate and promote information on the marine historic environment.

The project has drawn on thousands of records held digitally in the RCAHMS online database Canmore; on a huge private collection of photographs and materials recently donated to RCAHMS by the pioneer of nautical archaeology in Scotland, Colin Martin - and on records from commercial consultants, WA Coastal and Marine and ORCA.

The national maritime record for Scotland is now greatly increased, with nearly four times more records of shipwrecks and a 40 per cent increase in maritime records overall. Freely available to the public, the records, photographs and data can be accessed via Canmore and include:

  • The ‘wreck map’ showing the ‘density’ of ship and aircraft losses in Scottish waters. The data includes vessels built as recently as 1992, as well as shipwrecks reported as early as AD800.
  • 1,200 digital images from the Colin and Paula Martin collection, including never-before published photographs of shipwreck dives off the coast of Scotland providing public access and long-term protection to a fantastic resource. 
  • 5,200 records from the UKHO Wrecks database; 18,500 records from Ian Whittaker's Off Scotland database; 600 records of Orkney Waters and the Pentland Firth; data from the recent Scapa Flow Survey  and fieldwork undertaken on coastal settlements at Caolas Stulaigh and Hairteabhagh in South Uist

Archaeology Projects Manager and maritime archaeology specialist at RCAHMS, George Geddes said ‘As Scotland’s marine environment is undergoing its latest change, with the growth in offshore renewable energy and proposals for marine protected areas, we have collated a number of datasets in one place for the first time, to present marine heritage information in a more intuitive way.’

RCAHMS will continue to actively manage the maritime component of the Canmore database, and further data enhancements are planned for coming years, including further partnership projects with WA Coastal & Marine and Historic Scotland.