Aviation Archaeology in the Maritime Environment

Event Date:
Start at 12:00 AM
January 16, 2021


This course will provide a theoretical and practical insight into aviation archaeology in the marine environment and will introduce participants to aircraft archaeology and its practical application in an archaeological context. Through theoretical presentations participants will see how the study of aircraft crash sites can contribute to the interpretation of the archaeological record.

Through presentations and online practical exercises, participants will learn the key aspects of relevant legislation relating to aircraft. They will also learn about avenues of research to help identify aircraft, and the issues around the excavation and recovery of aircraft from the marine environment.

The course will cover aspects of UK legislation, with other nations legislation outlined; finding and researching aircraft; history and construction; excavation, recording and recovery of aircraft from the marine environment; and, conservation, preservation, and restoration.

There will be study sessions and quizzes looking at aircraft construction and research sources during the course.


The course is aimed at individuals undertaking the NAS Education Programme, as well as professional archaeologists wanting to increase their knowledge of aircraft archaeology.

NAS members will earn 5 credits for attending


A computer or tablet (phone screens are a bit small to look at for the whole day) with a good internet connection is essential. A built-in or external webcam and microphone are optional. A week before the course you will receive an invitation to the online course session which will be run through GoToMeeting. This is an online video conferencing programme that can be run directly through the internet or you get better connection if you download the small programme – it only takes a minute to do.

If you are concerned about your computer set up, please contact the organiser at education@nauticalarchaeologysociety.org for a test run before the course.


NAS members £30
Non-NAS members £60 (although as NAS membership starts at £12, you’re better off becoming a member and getting the discount rate immediately!)


Alistair Byford-Bates, Senior Marine Archaeologist with Wessex Archaeologist. Alistair was involved with the recovery of a Fairey Barracuda from the Solent in 2019.

Phil Short, Director of Darkwater Exploration Ltd and Fellow Royal Geographic Society. Phil will talk about recovering WWII aircraft veterans using archaeological techniques. Over the last few years Phil has worked with organisations such as WHOI, the US National Parks Service Submerged Resources Unit, Lund University and the DPAA. He has also been DSO/DOM (Diving Safety Officer/Diving Operations Manager) on two major aircraft survey, excavation and recovery projects.

David Morris ama, Curator of aircraft at the Fleet Air Arm Museum. David will present on the conservation and preservation of aircraft remains. He is a well known author and speaker on the issues of aircraft preservation and conservation with over 30 years aircraft engineering experience.


Please note Timetable is provisional and may be subject to change

10.00 Log on, online etiquette and introductions – NAS Host

10.20 Introduction to Aviation Archaeology course – Alistair Byford-Bates

10.30 The construction of aircraft – Alistair Byford-Bates

11.00 Questions and break.

11.15 Researching and Identifying an aircraft – Alistair Byford-Bates

12.10 Short break

12:15 Features of aircraft crash sites and survival of aircraft remains – Alistair Byford-Bates

12.45 Lunch break and Picture Quiz

13.15 Legislation, Health and Safety – Alistair Byford-Bates

13.35 Questions/short break

13:40 Excavation, Recording, and Recovery – Alistair Byford-Bates

14.40 Short break

14.50 Recovering WWII Aircraft Veterans using Archaeological Techniques – Phil Short

15.30 Questions and break

15:45 Conservation, preservation, and restoration – David Morris

16.15 Questions

16.30 Quiz Answers

16:45 Getting involved with NAS – NAS Host

17:00 Feedback and course end