Home Archaeology Institute Staff Mark Littlewood

Mark Littlewood

Job Title : Geomatics Officer


Mark works as the Geomatics Officer within the Archaeology Institute UHI and ORCA Marine, which is a really technical way of saying he makes digital maps and site plans and building elevation drawings. He also zaps things with survey equipment which go beep, although he prefers to turn most of the beeps off. He has been a professional field archaeologist since 1997 after graduating from Bangor University with a BA in History with Nautical Archaeology in 1995 and then an MSc in Maritime Archaeology from the University of Southampton in 1996.

His main specialisation in maritime archaeology concerns ship and boat structures, their reconstruction, performance and usage. He has experience in handling, identifying, analysing and first aid conservation of maritime archaeological finds from ships’ structural timbers, ship-building techniques, items of cargo and personal artefacts. Mark is experienced in producing marine Desk Based Assessments, Environmental Impact Assessments and Environmental Statements for a range of clients and developments types and the application of Historic Seascapes Characterisation.

Beyond maritime archaeology Mark specialises in survey, both terrestrial and underwater, the use of CAD, GIS and image software packages to create and interpret the aforementioned digital maps. He has extensive experience in geomatics software; or digital map software and the maintenance and operation of surveying equipment.

Mark has worked on numerous commercial excavations and archaeological evaluations throughout the United Kingdom from nearly every period in England, Wales and Scotland, with the current exception of any Viking Age sites.Mark’s current rocket scientist ambitions are currently hindered by the proximity of Kirkwall airport and the fact that the rest of his fellow rocketeers and even the rockets are several hundred miles away.

Academic Responsibilities

Tutor : Maritime Archaeology and Heritage of Northern Scotland

Short Course Tutor : Nautical Archaeology Society Part III courses in side scan sonar, ROV survey and GIS in Maritime Archaeology

Research Interests

Mark has a research interest in Chinese and Southeast Asian junks and sampans, Roman harbours, Bronze Age to Iron Age Boats of the United Kingdom, the Imperial Japanese Navy, naval history and archaeology of the American Civil War, WWI and WWII naval and maritime history.

Recent Projects

  • Condition Assessment Survey of HMS Hampshire: Mulit Beam EchoSounder and Remotely Operated Vehicle survey of 1st class armoured cruiser HMS Hampshire condition assessment for Ministry of Defence 100th anniversary of the sinking.
  • Ness of Brodgar Excavations: Ongoing surveying and CAD and GIS processing alongside full terrestrial high definition laser scan recording, editing, analysis and presentation.
  • Lost Aircraft of Scapa Flow: Ongoing side scan sonar, diver and drop camera survey and historical research of aircraft lost in Scapa Flow in WW2. I am the Geomatics Officer conducting side scan sonar survey data processing analysing and assessment contributing to final reporting.
  • Roan Head Boom Buoy Vessel : Side scan sonar, drop camera, ROV and diver ground truthing survey on Anti Torpedo Close Pontoon Pontoons (ATCPP) located off Flotta.
  • Scapa Flow 2013 Marine Archaeology Survey : Side-scan sonar, drop camera, diver survey and desk based assessment; an investigation that used side scan sonar, drop cameras and diver surveys to establish or confirm the identification, extent of survival, character and condition of 19 Churchill Barrier Blockships, Royal Navy tanker Prudentia, HMS Roedean, HMT Rose Valley, the Clestrain hurdles, the remains of a naval steam pinnace, the reported remains of an aircraft at the Barrel of Butter, the salvage sites of SMS Bayern and SMS Seydlitz and ten areas of foul ground listed as wrecks on the chart.
  • High Definition Laser Scan Survey of the WWII Ness gun Battery, Stromness. Project Adair: Mapping Marine Heritage Sites in Orkney and the Pentland Firth. Interrogating key marine datasets and production of GIS based database to enable RCAHMS database, Orkney and Highland HER/SMRs to be amended and updated.
  • Scapa Flow Wrecks DBA and Assessment for Website : Project to collate and research information on the shipwrecks of Scapa Flow such as the German High Seas Fleet, Royal Navy ships, blockships and submarines and their crews for an interpretative website.

Recent Conferences

  • Dr Annalisa Christie and Mark Littlewood (22nd November 2015); The Relics of War: Stories from beneath the waves of Scapa Flow, Orkney. Nautical Archaeology Society & Society for Post Medieval Archaeology Conference 2015, Portland Building, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth
  • Mark Littlewood (21st – 22nd November 2015); Lasers and Drones: Rapid Recording of Orkney’s Coastal Heritage. Nautical Archaeology Society & Society for Post Medieval Archaeology Conference 2015, Portland Building, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth
  • Mark Littlewood (10 September 2012); Laser Scanning in Archaeology. Orkney International Science Festival, Pickaquoy Centre, Kirkwall

Recent Publications

  • Christie, A, Heath, K, Littlewood, M, Robertson, P ‘Archaeological assessment of Anti-Torpedo Close Protection Pontoons in Scapa Flow, Orkney’, International Journal of Nautical Archaeology forthcoming
  • Mainland, I, Card, N, Saunders, M, Webster, C, Isaksen, L, Downes J & Littlewood, M (2014) ‘“SmartFauna”: a microscale GIS-based multi-dimensional approach to faunal deposition at the Ness of Brodgar, Orkney’, Journal of Archaeological Science 44, pp 868-878
  • Pollard, E. Gibson, J, Littlewood, M ‘Interpreting medieval to post-medieval inter-tidal features around ayres on Orkney, NE Scotland’, Journal of Field Archaeology forthcoming
  • Pollard, E, Robertson, P, Littlewood, M & Geddes, G (2014) ‘Insights from archaeological analysis and interpretation of marine data sets to inform marine cultural heritage management and planning of wave and tidal energy development for Orkney Waters and the Pentland Firth, NE Scotland’, Journal of Ocean & Coastal Management 99, pp 39-51

External Responsibilities and Memberships

Mark is an ordinary member of the IfA’s Maritime Affairs Group, for 9 years he was a member of the committee where he compiled and edited the MAG bulletin alongside other duties, such as government consultations on marine cultural and environmental legislation and guidance. He is currently an Associate of the CIfA. He is a member of the Orkney Marine Archaeology Forum.

Contact Details

Email: mark.littlewood@uhi.ac.uk

Tel: 01856 569227