Grange and Armada Development Association are delighted to welcome Steven Birch to Grange for the Lecture Series during the Celtic Fringe Festival 2015.
Steven was the leader and driver of the Streedagh Diver Group who rediscovered the Streedagh Wrecks in 1985. It is particularly exciting that he is visiting and contributing a paper in the light of the recent recovery of artefacts from the Juliana. We look forward to an intriguing exchange of ideas and information on Sunday 20th September as he joins with Dr. Hiram Morgan of UCC and personnel from the Underwater Archaeology Unit and the National Museum in dissecting the recent work and recoveries from the Streedagh Wrecks site.
Having a passion for maritime archaeology, in particular the Spanish Armada of 1588, Steven conducted research into the Enterprise of England over a number of years resulting in the formation of the Streedagh Armada Group. The group of divers discovered the remains of the three Armada ships off Streedagh Strand in May 1985 and successfully recovered a number of artefacts off the seabed including three cannons from La Juliana and a breech-loading swivel gun from La Lavia. Other objects were recorded on the wreck sites including the complete rudder of La Juliana and two bronze guns still mounted on their composite wood and iron carriages.
Steven is now Director of West Coast Archaeological Services (WCAS), a Highlands-based archaeological business established in January 1998. Steven graduated with an MA in Scottish Archaeology from the University of Aberdeen in 2005 and recent posts have included being a member of the Research Committee of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (2006 to 2008) and the Scottish Archaeological Research Frameworks (ScARF), sitting on the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Panel (2009 to 2010).
WCAS provides contract archaeology services to a wide-variety of public sectors, including construction, engineering, utilities and forestry, as well as private individuals and community groups throughout the Highlands & Islands. They also provide consultancy services, which includes desk-based assessments and research for heritage projects
Steven has also recently co-directed two research-based excavations on the island of Skye in Scotland; at High Pasture Cave and the Fiscavaig Rock Shelter. Both projects have provided a wealth of detail relating to prehistoric settlement and ritual activities in Skye. Current projects include the Cromarty Medieval Burgh Community Archaeology Project, which has been running for the past three years, investigating the settlement, economy and trade of a Royal Burgh.
Lecture Title: Prelude to Disaster: a biography of the Spanish Armada Transport vessels wrecked on Streedagh Strand in 1588
The lecture will present details relating to the Spanish Armada vessels La Lavia, La Juliana and Santa Maria de Vison, lost off Streedagh Strand in September 1588. This will include a brief history of the ships including their role in earlier military campaigns, their embargo to take part in the Armada campaign of 1588, along with details relating to the provisions, supplies and armaments loaded on board prior to their passage into the English Channel.