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German Fleet salvage sites archaeology project results published online

The Derfflinger aft spotting top.
(Bob Anderson)

With the centenary of the scuttling of the German High Seas Fleet in Scapa Flow fast approaching in June of this year, a fascinating insight into remains of aspects of the wrecks has now been published online.

Historic Environment Scotland commissioned the Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology and SULA Diving to complete a full survey of the wrecks and debris remaining on the sea bed following the inter-war salvage operations.

The seven remaining ships of the High Seas Fleet have seen Scapa Flow become one of the most well-known dive sites in the World. Those wrecks are still the primary focus of recreational divers, but the remains of the vessels that were mostly recovered and removed from Scapa Flow have also been a recognised diving resource for many years.

However, the exact extent and composition of these so-called salvage sites was unknown until this week, when the report of the second phase of work on these sites was published online.

The overall aim of the Scapa Flow Salvage Sites Project was to determine what remains of the many vessels of the German High Seas Fleet that were salvaged in the years that followed their scuttling in June 1919.

Phase One, undertaken over the winter of 2016/17, involved a side scan sonar survey of the main anchorages and other areas thought to have been involved in the salvage process.

In the second phase of this project, divers and remotely operated vehicles examined and recorded the remains in detail.

The overall result is that the vast majority of salvage sites in Scapa Flow have been located and the remains at each site have been directly investigated and recorded.

The full report is now available for public download through the Scapa Flow Historic Wreck website http://www.scapaflowwrecks.com/projects/salvage-sites-phase-2/

Further details in The Orcadian on Thursday.