Underwater Archaeology Centre
The Underwater Archaeology Centre is a museum located in Fort Victoria on the Isle of Wight, England. The museum is run by the Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology and is housed in five of the fort's former casemates. Since it was opened in 1990 the museum has been used to display exhibits recovered from several local shipwrecks and the submerged landscapes of the Solent. These include the wrecks of HMS Pomone, HMS Invincible, the Yarmouth Roads Wreck and Bouldnor Cliff Mesolithic Village. The museum also houses an exhibition about the history of Fort Victoria itself. Like most attractions in the fort the museum only operates from spring to autumn, during which time it opens daily and holds regular activity and community events.

History
After the wreck of HMS Pomone was discovered at The Needles in 1969, the Isle of Wight Council funded a team to research and excavate the site. In 1984 another wreck was discovered immediately offshore of Yarmouth and work began excavating that site as well. In 1990 the Isle of Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology was founded and began operating a museum at Fort Victoria called the Maritime Heritage Exhibition. Several finds from the excavations were displayed in the museum, whilst others went to the Royal Naval Museum in Portsmouth and Bembridge Maritime Museum. In 1991 the Trust expanded into the Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology, a charity which went on to investigate more maritime archaeology in the local area and discovered the site of Bouldnor Cliff Mesolithic Village in 2004. The Trust refurbished the museum which was re-opened in 2006 as the Underwater Archaeology Centre.

Exhibits
Shipwrecks: The shipwrecks exhibition explores why there are so many wrecks in the Solent area, how wrecks act as time capsules of the past, and displays many finds from Trust excavations. It includes the stories of HMS Pomone, HMS Invincible, the Yarmouth Roads Wreck (believed to be the Spanish Galleon Santa Lucia), and other wrecks at the Needles and Alum Bay. Submerged landscapes: The submerged landscapes exhibits explain the history of the Solent as a dry river valley before rising sea levels flooded it and created the strait that exists today. It focuses on the Trust's excavations at Bouldnor Cliff and includes underwater video footage and numerous artifacts recovered from the sea bed. History of Fort Victoria: Fort Victoria does not have a museum of its own, but an exhibition within the Underwater Archaeology Centre details its history and its role in the defence of the Needles Passage. The museum also contains a children's discovery area and information about the actual practice of maritime archaeology.

Building Activity

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