Life
Diver finds “immaculate” artifacts from 13th century shipwreck
The 750-year-old shipwreck site has been given the highest level of protection.
Jaclyn Abergas
09.08.22

An ancient shipwreck dating to the 13th century has been discovered off the coast of England.

Dive-boat captain Trevor Small discovered the ancient wreck site in Poole Bay, off the Dorset Coast of England.

He regularly visited this coast for years but it was the first time he detected sonar indications.

It was all thanks to the weather.

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He said it was most likely uncovered because of storms.

“Usually something like that becomes uncovered due to bad weather — and then when there’s a new structure on the bottom, it gets inhabited by fish life very quickly,” Captain Small explained. “So that makes you think that there is something there.”

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Mortar wreck

A few months later, Captain Small sent a colleague to explore the site and emerged with a centuries-old copper cooking pot.

This led to more explorations and a team of marine archaeologists from Bournemouth University discovered raw Purbeck stone, two engraved slabs, cauldrons, mortars, and different kitchenware.

Because of these discoveries, they named the site the “Mortar Wreck.”

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Top-level security

Mortar Wreck has been officially declared “extremely rare” and awarded the highest level of protection by the Secretary of State for Culture.

Based on the oak tree rings from the ship’s hull, the ship dates back to between 1242-1265, when King Henry III ruled England.

“These fascinating shipwrecks can reveal so much to us about our national history and it is right that we protect them for future generations. The survival of the 13th-century Mortar Wreck is particularly rare, with timbers dating to Henry III’s reign, and the 16th and 17th-century Shingle Bank Wrecks shed light on historical trading,” Nigel Huddleston, Minister under Secretary of State for Heritage, declared.

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Not far down

They’re not sure the reason the ship sank but Captain Small believes it might be because of the weather.

“They must have had a very heavy cargo, and it may be that they were just getting clear of the protection of the coastline when they were hit by a changing wind,” Captain Small theorized.

The wreck site was also not very deep and it was found 32 feet (10 meters) below the surface. It may have started taking in water causing it to sink.

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These are all theories

But it seemed the most logical reason for the wreck. They also noted that the soft sand of Poole Bay, which covered the hull, was probably the reason why the tree hull was preserved for so long.

They were most likely transporting Purbeck stone to nearby cities and churches before it sank.

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A welcome discovery

The marine archaeologists from Bournemouth University are enjoying the study of the discoveries from the wreck. It allows them to learn more information about life from that time.

“This is evidence of industry—they’re quarrying the stones, carving them, dressing them. And it shows that these are really desirable products [being] exported far and wide, all around the coast of England, to Ireland, to the continent,” the archaeologists declared.

They are hoping to receive more funding so they can discover more about this historic wreck.

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See more of the many and varied artifacts found in the debris of the shipwreck in the video below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

By Jaclyn Abergas
hi@sbly.com
Jaclyn Abergas is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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