Today's Scotland reporter Huw Williams
Experts in maritime history are examining hundreds of postcards and photographs that have been recovered from a ship scuttled off the Orkney Islands.
The hoard has been described as "exceptional", and giving a "unique insight" into life on board the German first world war fleet. It was discovered by a diver exploring a wreck in Scapa Flow.
Seven battleships and cruisers remain at the bottom of Scapa Flow off the Orkney Isles, after the German fleet interned there was deliberately scuttled in 1919. The ships attract many divers each year, and it was towards the end of last year that one of them spotted the first few photographs emerging from silt on the cruiser Karlsruhe.
A preliminary dive proved that they could be conserved successfully. Now more are being recovered and treated at a specialist laboratory outside Edinburgh.
Soggy grey mush
When the cards come into the lab they are, frankly, a soggy grey mush of paper, mixed with mud from the ship. But a few images have been successfully separated and dried out. So far there seem to be two basic images. The first is a picture of three boats steaming at sea, and the other shows a naval officer proudly posing for the camera.
Deirdre Cameron is an Inspector of Ancient Monuments at Historic Scotland. She told me it looks as though they were "a stock supply that would have been kept on the ship, for sailors to send to their loved ones".
The images slowly get revealed
Mandy Clydesdale, from AOC Archaeology group, is carrying out the conservation work on an anonymous industrial estate near Edinburgh.
She says "the best thing to do is to slowly remove the sea water by soaking in clear water, and then in distilled water".
As you do that, she explained, "the grey silt disappears, and the images start getting revealed". The challenge then is to slowly and carefully pull the pictures apart, and dry them out.
It's thought the photographs have survived 85 years at the bottom of the sea because they were stored in tin boxes. Those have now corroded away, revealing their contents.
But Historic Scotland say divers mustn't take this as an invitation to go and help themselves to these unique souvenirs. They're stressing that the wrecks are historic monuments, and are fully protected by law. Deirdre Cameron told me "it is illegal to tamper with the wrecks or remove anything from them".
Meanwhile the work goes on to see what other insights may be in the fifteen stacks of photographs that have been recovered so far. It's thought they contain at least two hundred cards - maybe many more.
It's hoped in time to return some of them to Orkney, where they should be displayed at Orkney museum's Scapa Flow visitors centre.
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