Marine Antiquities Scheme

The Crown Estate are pleased to launch a new scheme to help protect the nation’s marine heritage by providing a way to record archaeological and historical objects found by marine users in English and Welsh waters.

Called the Marine Antiquities Scheme (MAS), it is a joint initiative funded by The Crown Estate and inspired by, and modelled on, The British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme for onshore finds. It will be managed by Wessex Archaeology. Both schemes dovetail to help further increase our knowledge of the UK’s rich and varied heritage.

The scheme evolved from the realisation that each year divers, fishermen, boat operators and coastal visitors discover many interesting objects and sites while at sea but until now, there has been no way to centrally record them for the wider public benefit.

Central to the MAS is a simple-to-use app that makes recording finds an easy process and gives finders immediate feedback as well as instructions on their statutory obligations, including the need to report any wreck to Receiver of Wreck.

As part of the scheme, a support team of archaeological experts will research each of the finds submitted to learn more about its origins and history.  The information about the finds will be published on a database that is available for general access.

The MAS builds upon build on two existing industry schemes, the Marine Aggregates Protocol and the Offshore Renewables Protocol, which are both for leased areas only. Its development has also benefited from strong collaboration, including the assistance of the British Sub-Aqua Club, National Maritime Museum, Marine Management Organisation, Historic England, National Archaeology Society and the Receiver of Wreck.

The Crown Estate, which actively manages the UK seabed, including awarding leases for offshore energy projects, cables, pipelines and marine aggregate extraction, is funding the MAS through its stewardship programme. These stewardship projects aim to generate value and strengthen relationships across its core sectors, delivering lasting benefits to the communities and environments in which it operates, as well as to its stakeholders. Through the MAS, The Crown Estate hopes to help secure the future of the UK’s marine heritage whilst also supporting the responsible and sustainable development of the seabed over the long-term.

The MAS app is available to download from relevant app stores for iOS and Android phones and tablets. It allows users to locate, record and submit information about archaeological material discovered within English or Welsh waters.

For more information, and to download posters designed to raise awareness about the scheme, please visit