Asterix #5: The Fiat Gearbox

It was a divers' joke. The object they found was a blue-grey colour, heavy, metallic. It was the size of a man's oustretched palm, with a circular central hole and three vanes each with a screw hole. Three further supporting lugs added strength. They called it the Fiat Gearbox, or the Messerschmitt gearbox, thinking this... Continue Reading →


For the past few months I've been editing a book written by a colleague. Wrecked, Guernsey Shipwrecks, is the work of Patrick Martin. When Patrick was working at Fort Grey Shipwreck Museum he asked if he could write a book about the wrecks on display. This seemed an ideal opportunity to publish some of the... Continue Reading →

Asterix the Ship #4: The Jigsaw

Back in 1985, the divers departed leaving me with occasional volunteers to record the timbers. Some had been planned in position on the seabed, which was fortunate in the case of one keel timber - the largest on the ship- which vanished overnight and was never seen again. We think it was dragged out into... Continue Reading →

Easter, 1985. The Roman ship had been found on Christmas Day, 1982 by local Diver Richard Keen. The wreck was buried between the pierheads of St Peter Port harbour, and due to the lack of shipping that is the only day in the year divers are allowed to go down for scallops. Fortunately Richard had... Continue Reading →

Asterix the Ship #2

I'll be posting a fair few bulletins about Guernsey's Roman ship over the next couple of years, but I thought this time I'd look back to the very beginning. During the winter 1984/85 I was working on my PhD research on North┬áKent Roman pottery. For much of that time I was huddled over a paraffin... Continue Reading →

It is 30 years since the first timbers of the Romano-Celtic trading ship affectionately known as 'Asterix' were lifted from St Peter Port harbour. Portsmouth shivered under a wintry sun this morning, with the temperature bobbling around freezing. The timbers from Asterix have been stored in an old chain house in the RN dockyard since... Continue Reading →

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