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Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Shipwreck film nominated for archaeology ‘Oscar’

A film about the shipwrecks in the Solent has been short-listed for an award at The Archaeology Channel’s International Film and Video Festival in Oregon, America.

‘Shipwrecks of the Western Solent’ is a 28 minute film investigating five different shipwrecks in a busy shipping lane in southern England; the Ceres, Fenna, SS War Knight, SS Serrana and MV Margaret Smith.

The film was made by award-winning underwater cameraman Michael Pitts in partnership with the New Forest National Park Authority for the New Forest Coastal Heritage project.*

‘Making the film wasn’t as easy as it sounds,’ said Michael Pitts. ‘Maritime archaeology is full of challenges and none more than on the south coast. If anyone has been across the Solent on the Isle of Wight ferry and looked in the waters they will have noticed that they are not crystalline.

‘It took a lot of hard work and after the initial disappointments we soon learnt to dive the right tides and with the knowledge and expertise of our skipper, we finally had enough footage to put the film together.’

James Brown from the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘The New Forest has a vast coastal history and the aim of the film was to capture a snapshot of this. With the risk of rising sea level and the threat of climate change it is important that we start working on a detailed record of what lies beneath the Solent.

Making a film seemed like a logical part of recording this work, as well as opening the subject up to new and wider audiences. We are delighted to have been shortlisted for an award.’

Richard Pettigrew, President and Executive Director of the Archaeological Legacy Institute, said: ‘We congratulate the makers of this film. The quality of this year’s film entrants was extremely high. We received 90 entries from 22 countries and we only short-list 27 films.’

The film and video festival will run from the 8-12 May. For more information visit

To buy your copy of the film go to

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