Alumni Black Sea investigations featured in Channel 4 shipwreck documentary

Two former Cirencester College students recently had their Black Sea project featured in Channel 4’s ‘Ghosts of the Deep: Ancient Shipwrecks.’

The programme follows the ‘Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project’ (Black Sea MAP), one of the largest ever investigations into the Bulgarian Black Sea.

Amy Wakeman and Thomas Davis were carefully selected as STEM Scholars for the project, run in partnership with Southampton University.

The pair examined sonar pulses, ocean floor samples and footage from unmanned submarines, to complete their individual assignments.

“It was amazing to have so many people at Cirencester College believe in me,” said former student, Amy Wakeman.

Amy studied A-level Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths at the College before applying to the project in 2016. Based on board STRIL Explorer, a large vessel in the Black Sea, Amy helped collect samples from the ocean floor.

Meanwhile, Thomas studied A-level Applied Science, Biology, Physics and Maths and analysed samples at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) in Southampton.

“I opted to stay at the NOC as it presented a unique opportunity to network and shadow the scientists,” explained Thomas.

The Black Sea’s lack of oxygen makes it ideal for preservation and therefore an opportune location to study.

This made the project fiercely competitive and meant Amy and Thomas went through a rigorous and competitive selection process.

The pair have each been awarded the CREST Gold for Science as recognition of 70 hours completing individual assignments within Black Sea MAP.

“I’d encourage anyone thinking about College to choose Cirencester, as they really help you aim high and reach beyond your studies,” said Amy. “My Personal Tutor Mike Cadman is why I’m now at Medical School.”

“The person I spoke to at my university interview was fascinated with my involvement in the project,” added Thomas.

Amy is now studying Applied Medical Sciences at Swansea University. Thomas is embarking on a Natural Sciences qualification at the Open University, specialising in Biology.


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