Alex Hildred 1 - The first dive I can remember, absolute panic


    Alex joined the excavation of the Mary Rose in 1979, after graduating from university with a degree in archaeology. She started as a volunteer diver, and then became an archaeological supervisor and a member of the full-time team. Alex still works for the Mary Rose Trust, as the Curator of Ordinance.


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    Extract Text (Duration1.45)

    The first dive I can remember, absolute panic I think, You know, you're going down a rope into completely black water, it was cold because it was October, and we were only wearing wet suits, so these were four ml, five ml wet suits which was really, really cold! Onto something that you'd been told was a 40 meter long wreck, or nearly 40 meter long site. And all you could do is feel hand over hand and you were with somebody, in fact I was with Chris Dobbs and he was pulling me along holding my hand and trying to talk me through what we were seeing, or what we weren't seeing, what we were feeling, and he'd just take my hand and push it through the sediments saying, "Feel this" and trying to talk through the demand valve. And then occasionally, you know, well what is it... You'd signal and look really close into their eyes, or into his eyes, and say, "What." And then you got this GUN GUN BANG BANG and put right the way, hand through the sediment and I felt that it was like a crenulated thing that was raised, so it was actually the lifting dolphin, one of the lion lifting dolphins on the first bronze gun that was found, it was then high up on the castle deck and hadn't been lifted. And then he took my hand and because in between the tide runs occasionally you had weed coming back into the site and also sometimes a little bit of sediment, so you would have to feel through and you can feel the whole length of the gun and the muzzle of it, and he put my hand in the muzzle and immediately I thought, oh no, there's going to be an eel or something awful in here. So that was the memory and I didn't know which way I was going, which was north, which was south, east or west, any of it, and then plunging down in to the deep holes that seem to go to the middle of the earth and it was... it was quite frightening.

    The first dive I can remember, absolute panic

    1.45 mins - mp3 File

    It was hugely labour intensive

    1.22 mins - mp3 File

    Lots of really memorable dives

    2.17 mins - mp3 File

    Under water it just seemed huge

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    I was so privileged to be able to do it

    1.42 mins - mp3 File

    A shipwreck is a fantastic resource

    3.31 mins - mp3 File