The charitable aims and object of the company are to further research in Nautical Archaeology and publish the results of such research and to advance education and training in the techniques pertaining to the study of Nautical Archaeology for the benefit of the public.
Nautical archaeology is an archaeological sub-discipline more generally known as maritime archaeology, which encompasses the archaeology of shipwrecks, underwater archaeology and archaeology of related features.
The society's logo is derived from an ancient engraving depicting nautical activity. An explanation is given on the society's website.
The inaugral meeting of the CNA was held in Joan du Plat Taylor's office at the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, at the University of London. The Council membership included the Council for British Archaeology, the British Museum, the National Maritime Museum, the Institute of Archaeology at London University, the Society for Nautical Research and the Society for Post Medieval Archaeology. The British Sub-Aqua Club was also represented on the council.
It was the CNA that was responsible for establishing the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology and the Nautical Archaeology Trust in 1972, but it was also concerned with the promotion of legislation for the protection of nautical archaeological sites playing a key part in what became the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973.
In 1984 the CNA was incorporated into the Council for British Archaeology as one of its research sub-committees
The Trust was established by the Council for Nautical Archaeology as its limited liability charitable arm. As a corporate body the Trust gained the legal ability to enter into contracts and to hold assets. The Trust's objects were
The Trust organised lectures, conferences and seminars, produced a newsletter and had a mechanism for associate membership for groups, associate individual members and subscribers. Associate membership provided a discounted purchase price for the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology.
In 1974, the then chairman of the CNA and of NAT, Professor W. F. Grimes, proposed that what was needed was a membership society but this took some years to establish. The CNA and the Trust eventually agreed the form of constitution of such a Society and the inaugural meeting took place in 1981. The intention of the Society was to act as a forum for the interchange of ideas and all of the associates and subscribers of the Trust were transferred to full membership the Society. The specific intention was to further cooperation between amateurs and professionals and its impact spread beyond the UK with a third of the new membership in its first year being from outside the UK. Joan du Plat Taylor was the first president.
For a few years from 1981, the activities of the charity (the Trust) were separated from the interchange between the members (the Society) although both had identical aims, but the situation was resolved by a special meeting of the Trust held on 3rd July 1986 at the Science Museum. At this meeting, the members of the Trust voted to change the name of the Trust to the Nautical Archaeology Society and to change the constitution (the articles of association) to reflect the change to a membership organisation. The reconstituted organisation continued to have responsibility for producing the IJNA and a clause safeguarding the academic standards of the journal was added to the articles. The renamed Trust thus subsumed the role of providing a forum for the interchange of ideas and the memberships of those who had participated in the Society (many of whom were in any case the original associates and subscribers of the Trust) transferred to membership of the incorporated body.
NAS Training is supported by Cadw and Historic Scotland to provide training opportunities in Wales and Scotland respectively. The development of the NAS training curriculum was supported by English Heritage and its predecessors from 1991 to 2004.
The NAS training syllabus has been adopted by a number of other organisations around the world.
IJNA was first published in 1972 under the founding editor Joan du Plat Taylor. Since 1980, IJNA has been edited by Ian Morrison, James Kirkman and Valerie Fenwick. The current editor, Dr Paula Martin, took over in 2003. Angela Crome has been reviews editor since IJNA was founded.
In 2004 the Nautical Archaeological Society took custody of the remains of an Elizabethan wreck discovered in the Thames Estuary during dredging operations by the Port of London Authority. The remains represented a navigation hazard, and as they had been disturbed and damaged by the dredging operations, preservation in situ was not an option. The remains were investigated by Wessex Archaeology and dendrochronology by Nigel Nayling of the University of Wales gave a construction date of soon after 1754 probably in East Anglia. Now known as the Princes Channel Wreck, the remains were transferred to Horsea Island, an estuarine lake near Portsmouth, where the brackish water should enable the timbers to stabilise while they are accessible to students for study and training purposes. The Princes Channel wreck is formally adopted by a member of the society.
Wreckmap Britain 2005 encouraged recreational divers to submit a recording form for a favourite dive anywhere in Britain. Wreckmap Britain 2006 was launched at the London International Dive Show (LIDS) on 1 April 2006 and has distributed 100,000 recording forms to recreational divers. The results will be added to the Shipwreck Index. WreckMap Britain is conducted in partnership with the Marine Conservation Society (SeaSearch) and sponsored by Crown Estate, the BSAC Jubilee Trust and PADI through the Project AWARE Foundation.
Loch forced to reveal secrets pointing to its oldest wreck; Diver's find could be key to unlocking riddle of centuries-old tragedy
May 30, 2001; A DIVER who discovered an earthenware jug and a stone anchor at the bottom of a sea loch may have stumbled across one of...