Anti-aircraft gun of SS Thistlegorm

Anti-aircraft gun of SS Thistlegorm

  • Online | In person in The Levinsky Room, 3rd Floor, Roland Levinsky Building, University of Plymouth

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The event brought together experts from the underwater cultural heritage (UCH) community to discuss the increasing challenges inherent in maintaining the sustainability of the UK’s underwater military heritage against seabed development, climate change and looting. 

In addition the seminar considered the challenges and social benefits of engaging the public in UCH. Driven by technological advances the UK regulatory authorities are reviewing processes for achieving these objectives and the seminar provides an opportunity for experts and public alike to learn about and input into these developments.

The event showcased the following themes:

  • The social and cultural importance of conserving underwater military heritage
  • How public engagement can drive and enhance this process
  • The current regulatory framework and recent evaluations of its successes and failures
  • The benefits of and threats to this process posed by modern technological advances and climate change.

Hosted by Jason Lowther and Mike Williams, the seminar commenced with a networking lunch followed by presentations from 13:15-16:30.

  • Jason Lowther and Mike Williams – Challenges, enforcement and the PMRA
  • Dominic Tweddle – Military remains and shared heritage
  • Commander Caroline Tuckett – Sovereign immunity and practicalities of underwater heritage protection outside UK waters
  • Elisabeth Bussey-Jones – Reflections on HMS Victory 1744
  • Dave Parham – Failures in the protection of underwater military heritage

This was a hybrid-delivery event, with some limited, socially-distanced seating for in-person attendance or participation online live using Zoom.

Further reading

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Mr Jason Lowther

Jason is an Associate Professor of Law in the School of Society and Culture at the University of Plymouth. He has published widely in environmental and underwater heritage law and worked to advise government departments and NGOs on matters as diverse as wildlife crime, enforcement of underwater heritage law, fisheries regulator powers and the protection of underwater heritage in Antarctica. 

He is an editor of the journal of Environmental Law and Management and a Trustee of Wild Futures.

Jason Lowther

Professor Mike Williams

Mike is a Visiting Professor of Law in the School of Society and Culture at the University of Plymouth. A qualified diver, he worked on several protected wreck sites and has published extensively on the law relating underwater cultural heritage; advised government departments and agencies, both in the UK and abroad. Mike sits on the UK’s Joint Nautical Archaeological Policy Committee and is a member of the UK’s UNESCO Expert Network. 

He is Chair of the Devon & Severn Inshore Fishery and Conservation Authority, as well as having roles with a number of key maritime archaeology NGOs.

Professor Mike Williams

Commander Caroline Tuckett, Royal Navy

In her current role Caroline is the lead legal adviser in International and Operational Law for the Royal Navy. A barrister, she is responsible for engagement with key allies of the UK on legal matters in the maritime environment, as well as having oversight of the training and mentoring of RN lawyers in operational law posts. 

She has recently completed a Masters by Research in International Law, focusing on sub-threshold operations in the maritime environment.

Caroline Tuckett, Royal Navy

Ms Elisabeth Bussey-Jones

Elisabeth has spent the majority her career as a barrister and part-time judge in different legal jurisdictions. She now sits as a full-time First Tier Tribunal Judge and a part-time Recorder in the Crown Court. She initially qualified and worked in Australia but was then called to the Bar (Inner Temple) in 1997 and thereafter, practised in criminal and regulatory law in the UK. She has prosecuted and defended all manner of criminal cases, been engaged in numerous operations for the National Crime Agency and was appointed to the panel of Specialist Regulatory Advocates in H&S and Environmental Law. 

She undertook a Masters in Maritime Law (LLM) at the University of Southampton, during which her dissertation involved a case study on HMS Victory 1744 and applicable Underwater Cultural Heritage Law. Her particular interest for future academic study is in all matters touching upon the conservation and preservation of the marine environment.

Elizabeth Bussey-Jones

Professor Dominic Tweddle

Dominic is an experienced archaeologist specialising in Anglo-Saxon studies and the Director General of the National Museum of the Royal Navy. Extensively published, he has previously held posts at the British Museum the York Archaeological Trust, where he helped develop the Jorvik Viking Centre. Following that he was CEO of Continuum Group. Dominic is an honorary professor at the University of Portsmouth.

Professor Dominic Tweddle

Professor Dave Parham

Dave is an experienced archaeologist and diver/diving supervisor who has directed maritime archaeological projects that range in date from the Bronze Age to the Second World War and in scope from strategic studies to extensive field investigations. He has worked extensively throughout the British Isles as well as the Baltic, Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea. 

His research interests focus on the archaeology of seafaring and ship construction of all periods but can extend into underwater cultural heritage management on occasions.

Professor Dave Parham

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