The remaining wrecks from the scuttling of the German High Seas Fleet in Scapa Flow have been examined and recorded as the centenary of the event approaches.
Historic Environment Scotland commissioned the Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology and SULA Diving to complete a full survey of the wrecks following the interwar salvage operations
The seven remaining ships of the 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.
The exact extent and composition of these so-called salvage sites was unknown until now, with the publication of a report on the second phase of work on these sites.
Pete Higgins, senior project manager at Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology, said: “The German High Seas Fleet Salvage Site Project provides an insight into one of the most spectacular episodes in maritime history when 44 warships were raised from the seabed of Scapa Flow and salvaged.
“The report brings together the archaeological remains of this operation and not only records the position and scale of the debris field, but also tells the story of these ships and their salvage through the remaining artefacts.”
Philip Robertson, HES marine expert, said: “As the centenary of the scuttling of the German High Seas Fleet approaches, the publication of this report marks a significant milestone for marine archaeological heritage in Scapa Flow, and we are particularly grateful to the many volunteers who have assisted us in documenting what survives of the fleet following one of the greatest salvage feats of all time.”
The overall aim of the Scapa Flow Salvage Sites Project was to determine what remains of the many vessels of the fleet that were salvaged in the years that followed their scuttling in June 1919.
Phase one 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, 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.