“The whole story surrounding these photographs is something of a mystery. We know very little about the two women themselves – nothing except what we have been able to glean from the notes and captions in the eight photograph albums and we don’t know who donated them to us or exactly when they brought them to the site.
“We believe that someone following the publicity surrounding the opening paid us a visit, left the boxes with reception and just disappeared.
“This was before my time and we assume that whoever received the boxes didn’t know what was in them and they were just put away in a store cupboard and forgotten.
“When I came across them, I realised very quickly that here was an invaluable photographic record of Basil Brown’s dig during the summer of 1939 and as far as we are aware, these pictures have not been seen by anyone since they were taken.”
The pictures show the dig in amazing detail and it is clear from the photographs that the two school teachers were given unlimited access and were taking shots from inside the ship itself.
But, for Claire, the real joy is the fact that a substantial number of the pictures were taken in colour – an expensive and almost unheard of luxury in the dark days before World War II.