Holes in the ground can contain surprises; but few as significant as the discovery of the Newport Medieval Ship. The hole in question was excavated to accommodate the orchestra pit of the new Riverfront Theatre built on the Usk river bank in Newport, Wales.
The vessel is the most complete surviving example of a Ship from the 15th. Century and is of international importance. It was probably one of the larger ships of the period and capable of carrying a cargo perhaps in excess of 200 tons
Evidence suggests it was a merchant ship trading along the seaboard of the western Atlantic as far south as Spain. It has recently been confirmed that the Ship was built in the Basque country in northern Spain.
We are able to date the Ship’s construction to around 1450 and its dismantling to the period 1468-1470. However, the dismantling process was interrupted; we can’t be sure how or why. The Ship was left to partly sink into the riverbed before being covered by accumulated sediment. This preserved the vessel for around 532 years before its discovery in 2002.
The introduction text for this article is taken from the Friends of Newport Ship website.
Header image by Paul Deacon