Discoveries are ‘not new’ claim Dunwich divers after BBC East’s Inside Out show aired last night

A warm but breezy day on Dunwich beach

A warm but breezy day on Dunwich beach - Credit: Archant

Marine archaeologists in Suffolk are unhappy at the lack of recognition given to their years of dedicated research following a TV programme about a new project investigating a lost coastal town.

Stuart Bacon of Suffolk Underwater Studies

Stuart Bacon of Suffolk Underwater Studies - Credit: Archant

BBC East’s Inside Out show heralded “new and incredible discoveries” about Dunwich, including that the town was swept away by the North Sea in a series of powerful storms.

But the programme angered divers and researchers who have mapped lost Dunwich on the seabed for the past 40 years.

Stuart Bacon, director of the Suffolk Underwater Studies Unit, who led a team on a series of expeditions, said the programme had revealed very little new information.

He said: “They presented the information as if it was new discoveries just made – we were diving at Dunwich throughout the 1970s and 1980s and we mapped the seabed by grid and brought up many, many artefacts.


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“Our team of divers worked by hand because it was often pitch black down there because of the sediment suspended in the water.

“We did core sampling, too, and all our work is recorded and can be seen in Dunwich Museum.

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“Quite a lot of people are very upset about the lack of recognition by the Inside Out team for all the work that was done. The work by Suffolk Underwater Studies has been absolutely ignored.”

Mr Bacon said theory that Dunwich, which had been one of the country’s most important cities and ports and is known as Britain’s Atlantis, had been swept away by a succession of storms in the 13th and 14th centuries was not new.

He said: “My books on Dunwich document the various storms, such as those of 1286 and 1347 – this is not new information.”

A BBC spokeswoman said: “This was a news piece focusing on the latest research on Dunwich, in particular Touching the Tide and work done by Southampton University.

“We didn’t imply that this was the first or only piece of research carried out as the programme referred to previous finds.”

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