The South West Maritime Archaeological Group (SWMAG) is a team of avocational divers with a passion for History from the Sea.
The team consists of all amateur divers except for one member (Dave Parham) who is the appointed archaeologist and works as a lecturer on Marine Archaeology at Bournemouth University. We operate within the legislative framework in the UK and work closely with The Receiver of Wrecks, English Heritage and The British Museum. Under the protection of Wrecks Act, two members of the team are the licensees for the Salcombe and Erme Estuary sites. SWMAG is primarily funded by the team but from time to time receives awards and grants from organisations such as The British Museum and The British Sub Aqua Club.
SWMAG has evolved over the past 20 years and currently has fourteen members. It was formed from groups working on projects in the North as well as South Devon. The marine archaeological projects have ranged from shipwrecks sunk in the 20th century to sites nearly 3000 years old. The more recent projects have involved sites in South Devon including the protected wrecks of "Salcombe Cannon Site" ,"Moorsands" and the "Erme Estuary"
This website contains information about the shipwrecks and artifacts investigated by the team over the years. This includes some of the stories and history that has come to light during our research.
Many artefacts including gold and tin ingots have been found on the Devon sites, indicating a strong trade connection between Devon and Europe as well as north Africa. All of the artefacts are now with the British Museum and details of some of them can be found in the 'Artefacts' pages on this website. Due to the significance of the Salcombe sites the BBC have made various films with the team including "White Slaves Pirate Gold", "Digging for Britain" and "Ancient Britain"
For our marine archaeological work the team have been to the Palace to receive the BSAC Duke of Edinburgh prize on two occasions.
“SWMAG demonstrate that recreational divers can work responsibly with great success in maritime archaeology in the UK. Through their work on the Salcombe Cannon Site they have set the standard that all other groups should aim for". - Mark Beattie-Edwards " The Nautical Archaeology Society “