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Remains of a rare Elizabethan-era ship found in quarry

Remains of a rare Elizabethan-era ship found in quarry

Very few English-built 16th-century vessels survive, making this a rare discovery from what was a fascinating period in the history of seafaring.

3D model still of 16th century ship found at Dungeness quarry
3D model still of 16th century ship found at Dungeness quarry

Workers at a quarry near Dungeness made the dramatic discovery of a rare Elizabethan-era shipwreck on the coast of Kent while dredging gravel for building materials out of a lake in April.

The location is now some 300 metres from the coast, but archaeologists believe that the site was once right on the coastline. The vessel could have been wrecked or abandoned on the former shoreline, and then gradually buried in sediment as time passed and the headland expanded. 

Over 100 timbers from the ship's hull were recovered, with dendrochronological analysis, funded by Historic England, dating the timbers that built the ship to between 1558 and 1580 and confirming that it was made of English oak.

This places the ship at a transitional period in Northern European ship construction—when ships are believed to have moved from a traditional clinker construction (as seen in Viking vessels) to frame-first-built ships (as recorded here), where the internal framing is built first and flush-laid planking is later added to the frames to create a smooth outer hull.

This technique is similar to what was used on the Mary Rose, built between 1509 and 1511, and the ships that would explore and settle along the Atlantic coastlines of the New World.

Source(s)
Wessex Archaeology
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