Please read the statement below from the Maritime Heritage Foundation before continuing
The Victory (1744): Management Principles
The First Rate warship the Victory, wrecked in 1744 (outside UK territorial waters in the western English Channel), is one of Britain’s most important underwater heritage assets. The Maritime Heritage Foundation and its contractor, Odyssey Marine Exploration, are committed to ensuring the Victory is treated with the utmost respect and scientific rigour.
- The Victory project is a groundbreaking archaeological project based on the contextual recording of artefacts and structural remains. It is categorically not salvage.
- All activities adhere to a detailed Project Design submitted to the Government’s Advisory Group (MoD, Historic England, National Museum of the Royal Navy): the Government-appointed management path for the Victory, which has independently reviewed the Project Design and provided regulatory content (Key Management Principles).
- The Project Design and all activities conform to UK law and as best practice to the archaeological principles of the Annex to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. The Victory project adheres to the Government’s heritage policy in the UK Marine Policy Statement, as well as Protection and Management of Historic Military Wrecks Outside UK Territorial Waters (DCMS & MoD, 2014) and the Museum Association’s Code of Ethics.
- In line with the deed of ownership agreed between the MoD and the Maritime Heritage Foundation, transferred artefacts recovered and documentary materials will comprise the Victory 1744 Collection, which will remain united as a single assemblage for museum display wherever possible.
- Best practice and the Foundation’s vision are demonstrated by the comprehensive non-disturbance survey completed in 2012 in adherence to the Project Design and published in a series of scientific reports with the University of St Andrews and the University of Huelva, Spain.
- The project is both rescue and research that intends to recover artefacts at risk on the wreck’s surface and to assess the site’s archaeological character, stratigraphy and preservation potential.
- The fieldwork is carefully controlled by a phased approach tied to a detailed research framework and reports. The Project Design limits activities to the recovery of surface artefacts at risk (including at least 44 of the ship’s 100 cannon) and seven preliminary trenches. Subsequent activities would be dependent on a written report submitted to Government and its acceptance of a new annex to the Project Design.
- The project will treat any human remains found with the utmost respect and sensitivity in line with the Government’s Key Management Principles formulated for Victory.
- Discussions are ongoing for the collection to be transferred to the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth Dockyard, or to a subsidiary location. The Foundation is committed to the public display of the collection for the benefit of present and future generations.
- Extensive oversight and law assure against the commercial exploitation of the Victory 1744 Collection. All finds will be declared to the Receiver of Wreck in accordance with the Merchant Shipping Act. No dispersal of the Victory 1744 Collection could occur without the permission of the Minister of State for Defence and adherence to all applicable UK laws.
Project Design (February
2014): A Mitigation Strategy for the Wreck of the First Rate Warship Victory
Addendum (September 2015): Project Design. A Mitigation Strategy
for the Wreck of the First Rate Warship Victory (1744)