Volunteers wanted for award-winning coastal project

Volunteers recording Hooe Lake vessels, Plymouth
An award-winning discovery programme is calling for volunteers to help record coastal heritage before it is lost.

CITiZAN, launched in 2015, is led by Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) and supported by the National Lottery. It has seen citizen scientists discovering, recording and preserving fragile archaeological sites along England’s coastline before they are destroyed by erosion.

Now the National Lottery has awarded £1.6million to establish teams of volunteers in six more areas. The funding brings National Lottery investment for CITiZAN to over £3m.

Stuart Hobley, Head of HLF London, said: “Our coastlines are full of the most extraordinary hidden heritage, from ancient settlements to the remnants of industry and war. However, that heritage is under threat and at risk of being lost forever, which is why National Lottery funding for a new wave of citizen scientists is so crucial.”

Award-winning work

The programme has already revealed new information about the rich history and former landscapes of our coast. Discoveries vary from a Bronze Age well and ancient timber trackways to the remains of several shipwrecks and even a First World War German U-boat.

[quote= Stuart Hobley, Head of HLF London]“Coastal heritage is under threat and at risk of being lost forever, which is why National Lottery funding for a new wave of citizen scientists is so crucial.”[/quote]

By focusing on sites under threat from erosion, extreme weather and rising sea levels, the programme is also collecting invaluable data on coastal and climate change.

The value of the project has been recognised with a number of awards, including the national Charity Award for Arts, Culture and Heritage and the British Archaeological Award for Best Community Engagement Archaeology Project.

Volunteers needed

Volunteers are vital to the project. Using a standardised survey system via the CITiZAN app, they create detailed records and collect valuable data.

CITiZAN needs volunteers at new sites along six further coastlines:

  • the Mersey
  • the Humber
  • the Blackwater
  • the Kent coast
  • the Solent
  • three rivers in Devon

Stuart Hobley added: “This is an incredible opportunity for people to join an award-winning volunteer programme and make a real difference to the record of the history of our island nation.”

Interested in helping protect your coastal heritage? Visit the CITiZan website for more information or download the app to discover and monitor a site near you.

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