Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Ships: The Swash Channel Wreck
Located off the coast of Dorset, England in 2006, the ship is thought to date from the 1620s or ‘30s and has been referred to as the “biggest discovery since the Mary Rose.” Evidently the protective sand which has kept the ship in tact for centuries has been slowly shifting away from the wreck, leaving it exposed to all the damage salt water and sea life can do to ancient wood. Add to this the fact that the wreck lies under a busy shipping lane, therefore making it impossible to mound sand over the ship once again, and you have a recipe for disaster.
According to this article from The Independent online, however, the decision has been made to take immediate action. Through the combined efforts of Bournemouth University, whose marine archaeology department originally discovered the wreck, and the Poole Museum, parts of the ship that cannot be reburied will be raised from the ocean’s grip and preserved at the museum.
The urgency of the mission is palpable in the comments made by David Payton, a senior lecturer in marine archaeology at the University. From the article:
The damage [to the ship] has increased dramatically since we first started studying it. It’s a race – you’ve only got a certain amount of time before it’s too late and there’s no point.
The ship is ornately carved and made of timber which has been determined to have come from the border of Germany and Holland. Despite this information, no one has yet been able to determine what ship she actually is, or even what country she might have come from. The mystery makes the potential secrets to be revealed by the Swash Channel Wreck all the more enticing.
For more information on previous research, check Bournemouth University’s website from which the eerie picture at the header has been borrowed. According to the University, it is a carving of a merman on the hull of the wreck. One wishes the little merman could tell us all the secrets that the Swash Channel Wreck may never willingly disclose.