A 15th-century ship found in South Wales riverbank is the world’s largest puzzle finally getting solved as archaeologists try to put together the pieces gathered over two decades. The 25 tonnes ship, 30 metres in length, would be created from 2500 pieces.
The wine trading ship was discovered on the banks Usk river in Newport along with other medieval artefacts in 2002. Researchers say this finding is a century older than Mary Rose and is as important as it, if not more.
All the 2500 pieces of wood that have been preserved for 550 years and more will be restored and displayed on Thursday, January 19, which will be the biggest attempt to put together an archaeological ship of this nature.
This will be done by trial and error, as there are no specific instructions or known ways to go about it. So, assembling, fitting, cross-checking, disassembling and refitting is the way.
This is the first time an archaeological ship from the 15th century will be on display, a unique thing. The 1982 reassembled archaeological ship Mary Rose, from the 16th century, enjoyed its stardom, and now it’s time for this Newport Ship.
The ship will provide critical insight into the life of the time, especially shipbuilding activities prevalent in the mid-1400s. So far, the team has spent 8 million pounds restoring the wood.
The wood from the ship was freeze-dried at Portsmouth’s Mary Rose Museum.
On Thursday, they will be on their last wood collection spree to collect 100 timbers which will then be used to assemble the ship at Newport. It’s likely to be ready for display in 5 years.
The importance of this ship lies in its nature of the ship, as this vessel was a trade ship made when European shipbuilding was undergoing a revolution. In contrast, Mary Rose is like any other vessel from the early modern period.
It will depict the shipbuilding history of the time when the Welsh, the Portuguese, the Spaniards and the Cornish people were making strong and big ships that could withstand the Atlantic Ocean conditions.
It depicts a generation before Columbus, which marked the European exploration era in maritime history. A time people got into the Indian Ocean by crossing the Atlantic.
It’s a globalized ship where the wine and the wood came from France and Northern Spain, respectively. The vessel is likely to draw 150,000 visitors annually, increasing Wales economy by 7 million pounds per year.
The researchers are considering allowing people to witness this spectacle of reassembling the ship, but that depends on the availability of a place that can accommodate the ship. It can’t be built and moved. It has to be made where it will be displayed.
So far, the Newport council has thought of an empty department store as the place to do it, but they are waiting for a feasibility study to finalize a place.
References: BBC, Canada Today
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