Jessica Berry (GradDipMarArchaeol ’08, MarArchaeol ’08) is a former journalist with the UK broadsheets with stints in the Middle East before settling in the UK as an investigative journalist.
She swapped mediums after 15 years to pursue an entirely different career – underwater – after taking a Masters in maritime archaeology at Flinders University in 2008.
Jessica is an author and now CEO and founder of the Maritime Archaeology Sea Trust (MAST), a charitable company launched in February 2011. Since its founding MAST has partnered or led on a number of major British and international maritime archaeological projects.
MAST works closely with academic establishments, government bodies and agencies, museums and avocational groups. In 2016 MAST received a LIBOR grant of £2 million to conduct a rescue excavation of Invincible 1744 in partnership with Bournemouth University and the National Museum of the Royal Navy where the artefacts will eventually go on display.
Importantly the grant requires that the rescue helps in the rehabilitation of military. Many of MAST’s projects, past and current, have involved serving and ex-Service personnel. The aim of this Project, aside from rescuing the remains of this most important site for the UK, is to be inclusive of those mentally and physically disadvantaged, serving and retired Service men and women.
It has been shown that ex-military retraining as teachers has had a beneficial effect in inner city schools and, similarly, the Invincible Project offers the opportunity for a number of disadvantaged youngsters from deprived neighbourhoods to benefit from being in an organised environment, working alongside Service personnel and, through association, acquiring social responsibility
This is a radical and key achievement in the field of maritime archaeology in the UK and it is Jessica that has paved the way.
Jessica Berry was awarded a Flinders University Distinguished Alumni Award in 2017 for her significant contribution nationally and internationally to maritime archaeology