The ship measured about 85 feet in length and was 26 feet wide at its widest point. The timbers of the clinker-built ship survived the centuries thanks to the oxygen-poor conditions in the River Usk where it was found. This kept microbes from feeding on the ship.
Hundreds of artifacts were recovered during the excavation, including an hourglass, a shoe, a cannonball and Portuguese coins. The most important artifact was a small silver coin found wedged into a hole at the join between the stem post and the keel. This type of coin was minted in France from 1445-1456 and so the ship must date to then or later. Coins were often placed into the fabric of a ship when it was being built as a token of good luck.
While a planned museum for the ship hasn’t been built yet and restoration of the timbers isn’t finished, it’s still possible to visit the Newport Medieval Ship. There are various open days, including one on June 1 and another on June 9. The one on June 1 marks a decade since the ship was discovered. Visitors will get to see the restoration in progress and hear more about the ship and its times from local experts.
[Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons]