On the 4th of April 1944, just two months before D-Day, a large-scale, live-fire amphibious landing exercise “Exercise Smash I” took place in Studland Bay. Unfortunately, the sea conditions on the day resulted in the sinking of six of the DD (Duplex-Drive) Valentine amphibious tanks used, also resulting in the loss of six lives. In 2014 BU Maritime Archaeology conducted a search for the tank wrecks, as the location of some of them had been lost, and carried out a survey of archaeological remains. In 2018 they returned to the wrecks and created 3D photogrammetric scans of the tanks.
“Exercise Smash” Virtual Heritage Experience
Following a brief developed by Dr Eike Falk Anderson of the National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA) in cooperation with Tom Cousins of BU Maritime Archaeology, and on the basis of the 3D scans of the sunk tanks, a group of undergraduate students of the NCCA created the “Exercise Smash” virtual heritage experience, leveraging modern video games infrastructure (in this case the Unreal Engine 4). Blending a historical serious game with a virtual dive trail, in a snapshot in time, users live the past and try to land an amphibious tank while taking part in “Exercise Smash”, and then return to the present to explore the tank wrecks in Studland Bay during a virtual dive. The project was conducted as part of the 2nd year Group Project unit (led by Susan Sloan) by students from three of the NCCA’s undergraduate programmes, BA (Hons) Computer Animation Art and Design (Arran Bidwell, Alexander Lechev and Manuella Nagiel), BA (Hons) Computer Animation Technical Arts (Joseph Adams and Dawid Kupisinski) and BSc (Hons) Software Development for Animation, Games and Effects (Radu Rosca).
“Exercise Smash” at Tankfest 2019
At the end of June, the “Exercise Smash” virtual heritage experience was presented to the public for all three days of Tankfest 2019 at The Tank Museum in Bovington (this year enjoyed by a record of around 24000 visitors according to the Dorset Echo) at the BU Maritime Archaeology stand. There, the project was very well received by the museum as well as by the visitors of Tankfest. Visiting children especially loved the virtual heritage experience and “had to be peeled away from driving the tank by their parents”.
Paola Palma will be talking about “Shipworms, shipwrecks and global ‘worming'” on Tuesday 24 February in Dylan’s bar at 5:30pm.
Join us for a fascinating insight into maritime archaeology and find out how we can save historical shipwrecks from being eaten by shipworms.
The talk lasts just 20 minutes and is followed by a short Q&A. To find out more or get to involved check out the Talk BU pages.
Please note this talk will be filmed and made available online.
BU’s Paola Palma will be introducing us to a world of shipwrecks and shipworms at the next Talk BU Live event on Tuesday 24 February. Join us in Dylan’s Bar at 5:30pm for a fascinating insight into maritime archaeology and the secrets beneath the sea.
About the talk
Marine borers, particularly shipworms – destroyers of timber par excellence – have been a well-known threat to sailors since ancient times. They attacked the wooden hulls of ships with such intensity that the weakened planks broke up even with mild impact such as hitting a rock or a floating object, causing tragic ship-wrecks. Even the survival of sunken ships as historic wrecks depends on the mercy of wood-destroying organisms, which may turn these “port-holes” to history into meaningless junk.
Recent research along the English coast has shown evidence of a shipworm which is typical of much warmer waters. But what exactly are these sea-dwelling critters? Why are they so far north? And what can we do to stop them destroying our maritime history?
About Talk BU Live
Talk BU Live is a once monthly on-campus event designed to get people talking and thinking. Talks are no more than 20 minutes long with a short Q&A at the end and are open to all students and staff at BU.
You can get involved by tweeting #TalkBU or find out more by contacting the team below or visiting the Talk BU page on the BU website.
Please note that this event will be video recorded and made available online.
Tel: +44 (0) 1202 961041
BU Maritime Archaeology is pleased to announce that we have been successful in the latest round for the Fusion Investment Fund. The upcoming project will involve publicising findings made by the BU team on the maritime archaeology of Poole Bay while investigating never before publicised sites. The project also carries particular significance for BU as this year marks the 10th anniversary of maritime archaeology at BU making this a special time and a unique opportunity to showcase the work that has occurred over this decade.
Poole’s maritime archaeology spans most of man’s seafaring past and is a recognised international resource. It includes examples of palaeoenvironmental deposits, Bronze Age sites, Iron Age port facilities and logboats, medieval quays, 16th and 17th century shipwrecks, 19th century hulks, WWI aircraft carriers, WWII aircraft and amphibious tanks. Many of these have been investigate by BU’s Maritime Archaeology students and staff as part of teaching and research projects for over a decade since maritime archaeology was first taught at BU in 2004. This has included one of the largest shipwreck excavations undertaken in the UK, the first archaeological investigation in the UK of amphibious armoured vehicles and the investigation of one of the largest collections of abandoned watercraft in the UK. This work has involved teaching and research facilitating co-production with students working alongside staff, in many cases being involved i both the conception and publication of this work.
In addition to archaeologists with an interest in our seafaring past we require a dedicated media team to document, record and publicise the work in innovative ways – creative juices will flow as the assembled team ventures in to the unknown armed with their energy, enthusiasm and limitless imagination to unearth the maritime mysteries held by the Bay since time immemorial.
This will involve up to 10 days diving as well as land based exploration in the summer so you don’t have to be a diver to be involved! By land, sea and air we will begin our investigations in to the mysteries of Poole Bay.
To express interest simply email Tom (firstname.lastname@example.org) – we will be distributing application forms in the new year.
Dave Parham, Karl Rawstrone, Tom Cousins & Irini Malliaros