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The Diamond? Project - 2002 to 2009

Between 2002 and 2009, MADU were invited by Cadw to dive and investigate the wreck of a vessel that had been designated under the Protection of Wrecks Act (1973) on 1st April 2002.  The wreck in question was thought to possibly be that of the Diamond, a twin deck, three masted square rigger that had been built in New York in 1823 and lost on 2nd January 1825 when she hit the Sarn Badrig Reef (St. Patrick's Causeway) between Barmouth and Harlech in Cardigan Bay.

This Wreck Site was the first underwater site in Welsh waters to be designated by the Welsh Assembly after devolution, and licences to dive and survey the site, were granted to MADU by Cadw in 2002 & 2003, and to excavate and recover material from the site in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009.

Research & work on the site was carried out in an attempt to compare and contrast what could be found underwater with what was known about the Diamond, and by analysing the findings determine whether the wreck on the site was likely to be that of the Diamond or not!  

Year Licence Description of Work
2002 Survey Initial site familiarisation, investigation and research into the history of the Diamond.
2003 Survey 2-week project to record and survey the site incorporating 28-divers and 4-boats.
2004 Excavation & Recovery Recovery of sheathing & timber samples in conjunction with Wessex Archaeology's acoustic survey of the site.
2005 Excavation & Recovery Monitoring & research but leaving timber samples in-situ until funding for dendrochronological analysis was available.
2006 Excavation & Recovery Recovery of timber samples for dendrochronological dating & provinance analysis.
2007   Monitoring survey in conjunction with Wessex Archaeology.
2008 Surface Recovery Monitoring to assess the deterioration of the site and ongoing research.
2009 Surface Recovery Monitoring, research and the production of a report on the 8 years of site work.

Conclusions following 8 years of work was that the wreck on this site is almost certainly not that of the Diamond, hence the title subsequently used when referring to the wreck as the NTD (or the Not The Diamond).

The project concluded with a report that formed the basis of a MA Discertaion with the title:

A Shipwreck Site in Cardigan Bay, West Wales, Designated under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973, and known as the Diamond:  An Interim Report on the Site (2000 - 2009)

Of course having hopefully satisfactorily answered the question that MADU set out to resolve, they were then left with two additional questions:

a)  What had they actually been diving on for 8 years?

b)  Where is the Diamond?


To help answer these questions, MADU are looking for your assistance.  Up until around 1990, a painting of the Diamond when it lay wrecked on the Sarn Badrig Reef hung in a rectory near to the site.  The location of this painting currently remains unknown.  Do you know where this painting is today?  If you have any information that might help, please contact us to help resolve these unanswered questions. - Many thanks.

Reference Links:

For further information see the following articles:

Malvern Archaeological Diving Unit (MADU) & the Diamond by Ian Cundy which can be found in "Nautical Archaeology" the NAS newsletter (2003.2, page 3).

The Diamond now a Protected Wreck which can be found in "Nautical Archaeology" the NAS newsletter (2002.2, page 2).

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