Thursday, February 24, 2005


Dive on the 16th century ships timbers at Horsea Island Dive Centre in 2005



The ship remains are located in Zone One of Horsea,
an area sport divers rarely have the opportunity to dive in.

Three special weekends of diving has been arranged for people to dive on the Elizabethan ships timbers submerged in Horsea Lake: 4th-5th June, 23rd-24th July and 3rd-4th Dec 2005. Spaces will be limited so book early for this rare opportunity. Use the booking form available here.

The Nautical Archaeology Society has taken ownership of parts of the hull of a ship dating to the 16th century and is now the the position to utilise them as a training aid for divers to practice recording shipwreck structures underwater.

The ship in question was wrecked in the Thames Estuary about 400 years ago. The timbers were found in spring 2003 during dredging operations and in November 2003 they were lifted because they constituted a hazard to navigation (Wessex Archaeology press statement June 2004).

The commercial archaeological contractor Wessex Archaeology has been recording the parts of the wreck that have already been recovered, and is currently working on developing a strategy for safeguarding the rest of the site.

Surveys using sidescan sonar, which creates an acoustic image of the site, indicate that large sections of the ship's hull still lie on the seabed. Archaeologists from Wessex Archaeology are currently diving on the site to gather further details about the extent and condition of the wreck (Wessex Archaeology press statement June 2004).

Tree-ring dating by Nigel Nayling, from the University of Wales, Lampeter, suggests that the ship was built soon after AD 1574, probably in East Anglia. This date places the construction of the vessel during the reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603) and just before the Spanish Armada of 1588. However the wreck is thought to be a merchant ship, as fragments of Spanish olive jars and numerous iron bars, thought to be a cargo, have been found on the site. Two iron cannons were also found during dredging operations. These cannons have now been given to the Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson, Portsmouth (Wessex Archaeology press statement June 2004).

The sections of hull were temporarily at Fort Cumberland until they were placed in Horsea Island lake. This saltwater lake in Portsmouth will not only allow the timbers to return to a more stable environment, but also allow divers to see them. NAS Training uses one section as a training aid on Part 1 courses and on specialty (Part 3) courses on survey, illustration, photography and video.


Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?