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*Mediaeval ship excavated from river bank 2002-12-30

Posted by clype in Discovery.
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Archaeologists excavating a mediaeval ship older than the 'Mary Rose' have finally finished the painstaking task of removing it piece-by-piece from a muddy bank ready for conservation.

In the New Year [2003], officials from Newport, south Wales, will embark on the process of getting the 20 m ocean-going vessel reconstructed and on display to the public. But the job will not be an easy one, according to Newport City Council's museums and heritage officer, Mr.Ron.Inglis.

'The timbers are all being held in water tanks to preserve them so they can be recorded', Mr.Inglis said.

It was discovered during the construction of a theatre and arts centre on the River Usk in 2002-06.

Campaigners demanded the ship, which tree-ring dating has shown was made from an oak tree felled between 1465-09 and 1466-04, be fully reconstructed and put on display in the city, but the council said it could not afford to preserve them.

In 2002-08, the Welsh Assembly stepped in and promised up to 3 millon GBP for the ship to be lifted from its resting place and housed beneath a glass floor in the new arts centre for visitors to admire.

Since then more than 1 000 timbers — 95% of the ship itself — have been removed from the site and archaeologists have also discovered a cradle structure beneath it, and most recently skeletal remains believed to be mediaeval. Artefacts found on the ship included shoes, woollen cloth and Portuguese pottery.

There also appears to be evidence the ship was being repaired in Newport. Next year [2003] archaeologists will also examine the possibility of removing the bow and stern of the ship, which it is feared may have been damaged beyond salvation.

'Mediaeval ship excavated from river bank', Ananova 2002-12-29 Su. 08:43