Discover a hidden underwater world!

Come to the Underwater Archaeology Centre at Fort Victoria to learn about our fascinating local maritime heritage. Hear about the unfortunate ships that have been claimed by the treacherous seas around the Island. Learn about the work of maritime archaeologists and the Lost Land that has been discovered beneath the Solent. To find out more about the other attractions at Fort Victoria please visit;

About the Exhibition

The Underwater Archaeology Centre has become an educational hub for the community, schools and dive groups. Within the Exhibition, the work of the Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology is displayed to help teach people about the maritime history of the area. This demonstrates the importance of conserving and recording our maritime archaeological heritage for everyone to see and enjoy see very old monument like in this website :

Discover all this through artifact displays, videos, interactives and much, much more. Follow Professor Archie O’Logy’s Porthole Trail to become an Archie-ologist. There is something for all the family!

The exhibits

Shipwrecks : One of the key areas of maritime archaeology is the exploration and preservation of shipwrecks. This area looks at why shipwrecks are important and how they are caused. They explore why there are so many wrecks in the Solent area and how they become time capsules of the past. It focuses on the wreck of HMS Pomone, an 1805 Leda class gun frigate, lost on the Needles while returning from the Mediterranean with military intelligence for the King George. This exciting story is told though in-depth text panels and a DVD that takes you under the seas to explore the wreck site!

Underwater Achaeology in practice : Have you ever wanted to be an archaeologist and explore the past? This area feels like you are below deck looking out at marine archaeologists at work deep under the sea. Here you can see the barnacle encrusted Alum Bay wooden gun carriage wheel brought up by divers in 2002. It is made of exotic wood that is yet to identified.

Submerged Landscapes : See the underwater footage taken by divers of the pre-historic cliffs and remains of forests that lie under the Solent! Watch as a lobster digging its nest uncovers Mesolithic flint tools and learn how the seas rose to submerge this landscape! Here you will find a display of flint tools and pre-historic animals that lived under and around the ancient valleys under the sea!

Fort Victoria : Fort Victoria was one of dozens of Victorian fortifications built around the shores of Britain to defend the nation from an anticipated French invasion. Work started in 1852 and the fort was armed and ready by 1855. After numerous other forts were built along the Needles Passage in the 1860s, the fort was put to different uses. During its life it served as a sea mining station, a coastal artillery training school, and a base for British speedboats supporting the D-Day landings. After the Second World War it was used as a small vessel training station for men on their National Service. The 2010 exhibition tells the story of the fort and it’s important role at the cutting edge of military technology.

Discovery Room : Hands on learning and discovery! Use our touch screen display to test your knowledge, play games and view the underwater world!


Children learn to identify potsherds at Fort Victoria

"Education and lifelong learning are integral to the ongoing work of the Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology. We will endeavour to promote interest, research, knowledge and learning opportunities of maritime archaeology through our collections, exhibitions, events programmes, outreach, dive trails and ongoing research projects." Education Policy 2004. The Underwater Archaeology Centre offers tours for small groups or talks and workshops for schools and clubs! Our recommended age groups for these is 6 through to 14. We have developed a Teachers Resource Pack full of activities and worksheets about maritime history! We have a maximum capacity for 40 children at a time and are fully accessible by wheel chair. Larger school parties can split their groups around lunchtime or around visits to other attractions at the Fort. Whatever your requirements we will do our best to accommodate you, feel free to contact us for further information. We can arrange talks and tours for adult groups too.

Green Island Tourism Award

We are pleased to announce that the Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology have won a Green Island Tourism Award for our work at the Underwater Archaeology Centre in 2007. The Underwater Archaeology Centre not only has first-class facilities that are similar to those in blackpool hotels but has achieved a Silver Green Island Tourism Award for the last two years in 2005 and 2006. What are the Green Island Awards? The Green Island Awards are organised by Green Island Tourism. The Awards are based on an accumulative points system that is translated into a percentage score and finally an award standard. There are over 100 prescribed measures that carry a points allocation dependant on their respective ecological value, only measures that are applicable to the specific site are included in the scoring.

What does our Silver Award mean? Silver is the intermediate sustainable tourism certificate and indicates good levels of environmental management across all aspects of their business with a sound commitment to continual improvement. A typical Silver Award winner will have implemented a range of environmental management measures although is yet to achieve a fully integrated programme that addresses almost all of the environmental impacts of their business. For example a range of energy reduction measures are in place although they do not cover all aspects or there is a certain level of local products sourced but not a full range. Each business' full Green Island performance is outlined in detail within their respective pages on this site. Silver standard businesses must score 70-84% in their Green Island grading.