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Toby Parker

Toby Parker

Worldwide Historic Shipwrecks Consultant

Toby’s Introduction Video

Toby’s Diving Archaeology History
(Not A Complete List!)

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Toby is an internationally-acclaimed marine archaeologist , who grew up in the maritime city of Portmouth. Like most boys who went to school there  he developed a familiarity with swimming, rowing and sailing. He became facinated with historic ships such as HMS Victory and with artefacts , including cannon ,  from shipwrecks such as the HMS Royal George.

From school, Toby went to Oxford University, and there spent six years studying Classics and Classical Archaeology; he then began research on Roman archaeology, specialising in goods found in sunken cargoes, for which he was eventually awarded a doctorate (DPhil) in 1973. 

For purposes of research he learnt to dive and acted as chief archaeologist or director of some twelve university-based marine archaeology projects, most of them in Sicily, of which the last was in 1992. 

Toby’s career took him to the universities of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and University College Dublin as well as the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem, culminating in a post at Bristol University from which he retired early on health grounds in 2002, at the age of sixty. 

From the start he published reports on his marine archaeological fieldwork, often in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology which he had helped set up, and in 1992 reviewed more than a thousand wreck sites in the book, Ancient Shipwrecks of the Mediterranean and the Roman Provinces

Toby also directed training excavations around Bristol and developed research interests in landscape archaeology and environmental archaeology; he pioneered Marine Archaeology as an undergraduate course, and Underwater Archaeology for Divers in the Extra-Mural Department’s avocational programme. 

By 1995 he was able to implement a Master’s degree course in Maritime Archaeology and History and promote postgraduate research degrees through the Centre for Maritime Archaeology and History of which he was director .  In these latter activities he has become well-acquainted with ships of all periods and cultures, including the Caribbean.

Toby was closely associated  with evolving techniques of shipwreck survey and excavation, especially through his involvement with the Nautical Archaeology Society. Of which, he was a founder member and at one time Chairman.