Farewell Stuart Bacon

It is with great sadness to report that the pioneering diver of Dunwich Stuart Bacon has passed away. He was 90, and had had a life of adventure. From Motor racing through flying and of course Diving the Dunwich site, Stuart had lived a full life. His records and artefacts from Dunwich will be housed locally both at Dunwich and Bawdsey Museums. He such a character and inspiration - in fact it was his work and book on Dunwich that inspired all you see on this website. RIP Stuart, and God speed you.

Posted 25/05/2023 14:32

Storm Severity Index and NAO

New Storms Database

A Data base of historic storms affecting the East Anglian coast and thus erosion at Dunwich is available on the website. Sources for the evidence and a simple Storm Severity Index allow the user to see the most devestating storms over the past 1000 years. Erosion events are referred to in the Notes.

Posted 26/10/2018 17:23

New Reports online reveal early dates for Dunwich and new Marine Archaeology finds

New research funded by the Touching the Tide project (http://www.touchingthetide.org.uk/) and led by Professor David Sear, has revealed clear evidence for Saxon occupation and industry at Dunwich, and a new ship wreck site. Two project reports are available online at this website, and document archaeological and environmental investigations on land, and another documenting recent marine archaeology surveys. These reports show that movement of sands after the storms and surge of 2013/14 have buried much of the archaeology on the sea bed. However a new large wreck site has been located to the north of the harbour, which dates after c. AD 1750. In the second report, new dates for one of the roads and for the Town ditch show them to be of Saxon or earlier origin. Dating of a sediment core from the old harbour estuary reveals evidence for Saxon rope making industry. Collectively the evidence supports the view that Dunwich was a substantial Saxon port, prior to its rapid growth following the Norman invasion. The new reports can be found here: Marine Archaeology Survey / Cliff and Core Survey.

Posted 21/08/2015 16:14

Dunwich Wreck with Sidescan and DIDSON images

New Wreck Discovered at Dunwich

Touching the Tide HLF funded DIDSON survey of specific targets at Dunwich has led to two key findings; 1) The medieval town site is currently covered by sand, burying all but the tops of he largest ruins, and; 2) discovery of a previously unknown wreck. The wreck is wooden with copper sheathing on the hull which dates it to post c.1750. The wreck is formed of large (20cm wide) wooden ribs, with much stone ballast covering the site. The Wreck is large (c. 30m length). We are curently trying to find ot its origin. More information is available on http://esdsoton.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/high-tech-sonar-reveals-new-wreck-through-the-muddy-waters-of-dunwich/

Posted 07/07/2014 11:20

New Survey Starts

Excitment starting to rise now with arrival of DIDSON sonar and a clear fine weather forecast. Survey of the new sites discovered in 2011 will start Monday 23rd June. Watch for updates!

Posted 20/06/2014 17:47

Old Harbour area flooded

The storm surge of Dec 5th-6th 2013 was the highest since 1953. The impact at Dunwich has been breaching of the gravel barrier and re-establishment of a tidal regime in the former estuary and harbour area. This may be temporary until storms block the breaches. The Cliffs appear not have been affected, but beach levels have changed. Air photos by Mike Page show the breaching at http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/mike_page_flooding_aerial_1_3089413?id=9&storyId=1

Posted 14/12/2013 14:23

Dunwich on Norwegian TV

A Documentary on Dunwich made by Norwegian TV has been seen by 0.5 Million viewers. Follow this link to view it.

Posted 10/10/2013 18:17

Dunwich hits the headlines

The Dunwich project has hit the headlines again with news covergage in the Times online, Guardian online and Daily mail online. Dan Snow (@the historyguy) has tweeted it and the project website has had 1000's of hits. All this is good news for all those involved in the research, but especially for the Dunwich museum that hopefully will receive further visits and income to help keep it going.

Posted 14/05/2013 21:56

New Diver Survey to Start 2013

A new Diver Survey of the Dunwich town site is to be undertaken in June 2013 using DIDSON technology. The aim is to obtain high resolution images of the new sites discovered in the most recent 2012 survey. Attention will focus on the new ruins near St Peters Church, and on some ruins in the northern harbour area.

Posted 28/03/2013 15:56

Latest Final Report and Website Update

The Final report to English Heritage on the most recent Dunwich surveys is now available at

Posted 28/03/2013 15:50

St Katherines ruins

June 2012 New Data

Ok so the new Geophysics survey data is starting to come on line thanks to Wessex Archaeology and Tim LeBas of National Oceanographic Centre. ultra high resolution multibeam of the northern and central part of the town site is fascinating. Lots more debris from the town and clear images of scour holes around the masonry. New Didson footage too. Watch as this starts emerging over the next month or two.

Posted 11/06/2012 19:11

Andy Rose prepares to deploy DIDSON

New Survey Goes Ahead

The latest geophysical survey of the Dunwich town site has gone ahead over the weekend and acquired the highest resolution multibeam and sidescan sonar data from the site. A team including Wessex Archaeology, R2Sonic, MacArtney AS and Learn Scuba conducted Sidescan, Multibeam and DIDSON imaging of the northern harbour area of the town, and specific imaging of the St Katherines Chapel and St Nicholas sites. The next task is to process the data. Watch out for new images and updates over summer 2012.

Posted 03/04/2012 16:01

Time Team update

The Time Team broadcast and details can be found at http://www.channel4.com/programmes/time-team/episode-guide/series-19/episode-3 The excavations revealed evidence for the Maison Dieu and established that it probably lies under the existing cafe on the beach! Geophysics confirmed a large Franciscan Friary at Grey Friars, whilst 5m later, the crew found the bottom of the Pales Dyke and possible evidence for a Saxon origin for the town defences.

Posted 03/04/2012 16:13

October 2011 Dunwich Workshop

A workshop hosted by the Dunwich museum as part of an HLF funded project was hailed a great success by those attending. The workshop drew on experts to highlight the history of Dunwich, understand the processes of coastal change and set out the different management challenges faced by stakeholders. Excellent food from the Ship Inn and glorious weather helped make the day. New data from the Dunwich 2011 project was presented.

Posted 05/11/2011 10:44

Dunwich on TV Again!

June 26th Talkback Thames filmed a short peice on Dunwich as part of their Great British Railway Journeys with Michael Portillo. Focus was on what drew the Victorians to Dunwich, but we also discussed the work on the underwater archaeology.

Posted 27/06/2011 14:16

Funding for a New Survey in 2011

Funding for a new survey of the Dunwich Town site has been agreed with English Heritage. This new work will focus on the northern area of the site around the early town and harbour. It will also collect the highest resolution imaging of the existing ruins. Data will also be collected from historical bathymetric charts and pilot books to help the team to understand the relationship betwen the seabed changes and the exposure and burial of the archaeology.

Posted 20/06/2011 21:29

Prof Sear and some of the Time Team crew

Dunwich Time Team

David Sear invited Time Team to come and work on the landward remains of the medieval town. Working with the Dunwich community, English Heritage and Suffolk County Archaeologists, Time Team were able to secure permission to investigate two sites; the Hospital of the Maison Dieu and Greyfriars Friary. Transmission of the programme is likley to be Spring 2012. Cannot wait!

Posted 20/06/2011 21:21

Dunwich on the One Show

Work at Dunwich was featured on the BBC One Show in an article with Dan Snow. This showed the results of a days filming, including Stuart Bacon and David Sear. Dan Snow and Andy Rose (Learn Scuba) took the DIDSON down to St Katherines (?) Chapel. Good exposure for Dunwich Museum too. Thanks to One Show and Mike Sawkins of MacArtney AS for DIDSON.

Posted 12/10/2010 20:35

Funding Update

Proposals are in for a second phase of work at Dunwich. Unfortunately one of these was unsuccessful which means the scale of any future work will need to reduced. This means in effect that the sub-bottom profiling we hoped to undertake to search for the early town and churches will not now go ahead. However English Heritage are still looking to fund further work on the site. More in the New year.

Posted 11/10/2010 17:49

July 2010 More DIDSON Success

July 2010 a team from BBC Oceans filmed the search for Blackfriars Friary and St Peter's Church using the Diver Held DIDSON sonar. This time marine archaeologist Frank Pope used the DIDSON and obtained the first DIDSON images of the ruins of St Peter's church and evidence of some structure associated with the site of Blakcfriars. This site is more dispersed than the others therefore presents more of a challenge in the short dive time. Further investigation is needed to confirm ruins at this site.

Posted 21/07/2010 22:14

Didson Image of large stones from St Peter's Church

November 2009 First Didson Images of Dunwich

October 22nd saw a successful trial of the Soundmetric's DIDSON at Dunwich. Mike Sawkins (MacArtney Underwater Systems) and divers Andy Rose and Duncan Cole (Learn Scuba & Historic Wreck Recovery)accompanied by David Sear (University of Southampton) and Mark Dunkerley (English Heritage) used a hand held diver Didson system to image the seabed over St Peter's church Dunwich in less than ideal conditions. The aim was to see if the Didson could image the seafloor during zero visibility. Despite the conditions the Didson was able to visualise the seafloor.

Posted 02/11/2009 20:59

Didson Image of ruins of St Katherine's Chapel

June 2010 Didson Success

June 24th 2010. BBC One show filming using Didson camera donated by McArtney AS and used by Dan Snow and Andy Rose captured first ever images of St Katherine's chapel ruins during poor visibility conditions. The system offers the opportunity of visualising Dunwich ruins even during the typical zero visibility conditions. Look out for the article on the One Show in September 2010.

Posted 29/06/2010 15:25

October 2009

Sea trials of a novel acoustic imaging system (Soundmetrics Didson) are to be held at Dunwich in late October weather permitting. Links to the technology can be found at www.soundmetrics.com Check out how they went in November.

Posted 09/10/2009 14:54

Sept 2009

Two new potential sites identified at Dunwich. The new Klien 3900 sidescan sonar data collected for the project by Wessex Archaeology reveals details of two new targets. One lies to the north of St Peter's church and is small, and less dispersed. The other site is in the vicinity of Blackfriars Monastry. Diver surveys are planned to ground truth these. Watch this space!

Posted 23/09/2009 16:50

June 2009

Historic Wreck recovery divers report visibility as very good at times over Dunwich town site. Confirms Stuart Bacon's 1979-83 data that May/June are best times to dive on Dunwich. Film of Church sites taken.

Posted 07/07/2009 09:57

August 2009

Learn Scuba (Lowestoft)and Historic Wreck Recovery divers film ruins of St Peters Church during good visibility. DVD footage clearly shows worked masonry. More to follow.

Posted 22/08/2009 08:09

June 2009

Wessex Archaeology guided by Dunwich 2008 survey data conduct high resolution survey of church sites. More to follow.

Posted 07/07/2009 09:56

June 2009

erman film company accompany Historic Wreck Recovery to dive on church sites.

Posted 07/07/2009 09:56

May 2009

Website to come online July 2009.

Posted 07/07/2009 09:55

April 2009

April 2009: Divers start mapping of St Peter's Church site and recover a 5m length of worked timber.

Posted 07/07/2009 09:55

April 2009

April 2009: Professor Sear gives Royal Geographical Society Talk at NOC, Southampton.

Posted 07/07/2009 09:54

April 2009

April 2009: Project posters go on Display at Dunwich Town Museum and Suffolk Underwater Studies Orford.

Posted 07/07/2009 09:54

November 2008

November 2008:Professor Sear gives a talk at Dunwich Museum Trustees annual dinner.

Posted 07/07/2009 09:52

December 2008

Dec 2008: NOC Expert Time LeBas creates enhanced Sidescan images for St Peter's and St Nicholas Church sites.

Posted 07/07/2009 09:53

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