ScapaMAP (Scapa Flow Marine Archaeology Project) is a multi-disciplinary, multi-institution, international project involving government agencies, industry and the academic community, designed to document a unique marine archeological area in the waters of Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands of Scotland.
New - 3D models for the wrecks, based on acoustic surveys carried out by the ScapaMAP project in 2001 and 2006, are now available through the wrecks pages.
Scapa Flow is a shallow natural harbor off the north east coast of Scotland. Used as a sheltered anchor since at least the thirteenth century, it played a major role in both World Wars as a fleet base for the British Grand Fleet. At the end of World War I, it was also the internment site for the German High Seas Fleet during the Armistice negotiations. On Midsummer's Day (21 June) 1919, the British fleet left for exercises in the North Sea, leaving only two destroyers on guard. Acting on four day old reports in The Times that Armistice negotiations were about to fail and that the recommencement of hostilities was possible, Admiral von Reuter took the chance to make sure that the fleet would not fall into anyone's hands, and at 10:30 hrs executed the pre-arranged order to scuttle the ships at anchor. Following the relay of the signal, the interned ships hoisted their battle ensigns along with the code flag 'Z' (Advance on the Enemy), and proceeded to abandon ship. With the sea-cocks open and internal water-tight doors removed, the British had no opportunity to stop the mass sinking except to tow some of the ships to shore and beach them. In all, 52 of the 74 interned ships (representing about 95% of the total tonnage) went to the bottom.
During the inter-war period, and up until the 1970's, many attempts to salvage the ships were made until only seven major ships now remain in the water: the cruisers Brummer, Dresden, Köln and Karlsruhe, and the battleships König, Kronprinz Wilhelm and Markgraf. Today, along with the remains of the salvaging work on other ships and wreckage from other periods of Scapa Flow's naval history, the wrecks provide a major attraction for sport divers, with several thousand visitors per year. However, the wrecks were extensively weakened by later salvage work and over 80 years at the bottom, and many of them are in poor condition. In order to protect and monitor the wrecks for the future, ScapaMAP was initiated with the aim of constructing suitable base maps of the wrecks, recovery sites and other areas of interest in the Flow to aid in the interpretation, protection and monitoring of a significant local, national and international asset.