The Newport Ship
was found in the summer of 2002. After an intense campaign to save the ship,
the Newport City Council decided to save it and finally display it to
the public. The investigation and conservation will take years and cost
an estimated 3.5 million pounds.
The Council for British Archaeology and CBA Wales/Cymru, the
archaeology umbrella bodies for Britain and Wales, supported the Save Our Ship
campaign for the medieval Newport Ship. The
campaigns helped persuading Newport Council and
national heritage bodies to save the finest medieval ship ever found in
- The ship was found in 2002 during foundation works for the orchestra pit of a
new Theatre and Arts Centre. The Welsh Assembly and Cadw have so far made
over £350,000 available to suspend construction and enable the
recording work to take place, but there is currently no plan to save
more than a small sample of key timbers.
- The Newport Ship has been described as a cross between a cog and a
Viking longship, tree-ring dated to the winter of 1465/6 and apparently
recently returned from Portugal, with loads of Portuguese pottery and
large lumps of cork. Unique in northern Europe, she is the only extant
example of a merchantman of this period.
- Following recording and sampling, the majority of the ship was due to be bulldozed over the 26/27 August public holiday
The Council for British Archaeology
The Council for British Archaeology is an educational charity that
promotes knowledge, appreciation and care of the historic environment for
present and future generations on a UK-wide basis, with a membership of over
500 heritage organisations and c.10,000 subscribing individuals of all ages.
CBA Wales/Cymru undertakes this role in Wales.
Francis Pryor, President of the CBA said:
'Culture and history go hand-in-hand. You can't have one without the
other. People want to see the real past, not some virtual reality model.
It would be vandalism to found a cultural centre on the remains of a
treasure of national and international importance like this without making
the effort to save it.'
Jenny Britnell, Secretary of CBA Wales/Cymru said:
'This find is very special to Wales: it is not the first medieval boat
to be found in the area – but it is by far the most impressive. The others
were worth lifting and preserving – this one is twenty times more so. This
could really bring the origins of Newport and Wales's medieval dealings
with Europe alive for future generations. This is a European cultural
catalyst for Wales's newest City'
George Lambrick, Director of the CBA said:
Let's not scupper the chance of turning this fantastic find into a real
asset for Newport. The key thing is to lift the timbers scientifically and
get them into temporary storage tanks so that the possibility of long-term
preservation can be explored without further holding up the work. Deciding
only to make a record and keep a sample is not good enough – it
immediately closes down a whole range of options for the future, which
need careful assessment and planning.