Friday, November 19, 2004


Historic ship remains recovered



Parts of a medieval ship thought to have lain under the Thames Estuary for the past 500 years have been recovered near Gravesend.

The ship was carrying tin and iron ingots.

The remains, thought to have been part of an armed merchant vessel, were found during dredging of the estuary.

The Port of London Authority recovered the bow section of the ship relatively intact - virtually unheard of for a ship of this age.

Divers also found artefacts including cannons and even a leather shoe sole.

The ship was found during an operation to deepen a shipping channel in the waterway. She was carrying iron and tin ingots to an unknown destination.

Marine archaeologist Anthony Firth said the section was part of the stem or front of the ship, rising above the water from the keel.

Four cannons were also raised from the estuary.

"There are many wrecks in the Thames Estuary, but we were not anticipating one there," Port of London harbour master Bruce Richardson said about the discovery.

"It's been a very exciting project which we're pleased to be part of," he added.

One of the four cannons raised from the wreck was in such good condition researchers found a mark tracing it back to Thomas Gresham. His cast-iron cannon factory was at Mayfield in Sussex.

Nicholas Hall from the Royal Armouries said it was one of the very earliest of the mass-produced guns to be found.
The wooden remains will cost too much to be kept on public display, but they will be stored in a centre training marine archaeologists.

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