Lampeter professors help date ancient shipwreck


TWO Lampeter-based UWTSD professors have completed a survey of a Tudor shipwreck. Professor Nigel Nayling and Dr Roderick Bale were commissioned by Historic England to undertake the tree-ring dating of the wreck which was unearthed off the Kent coast by archaeologists hunting for World War Two pillboxes.

Following a survey of the remains, the experts estimate the vessel dates back to the late 16th or early 17th century and was a carvel-built merchant ship of up to 200 tonnes.

Professor Nayling and Dr Bale joined other experts from Wessex Archaeology to survey the exposed remains, which measured more than 12m long and 5m wide.

Tree-ring dating showed one oak hull plank to have been felled after 1531 and to have likely come from a tree growing in southern Britain.

Further sampling and tree-ring dating of the wreck, commissioned by Historic England, has since been undertaken in recent weeks by Professor Nayling, Dr Bale and Selina Ali at the environmental archaeology laboratory on UWTSD’s Lampeter campus. 

“These discoveries are truly fascinating and will hopefully give us more information and knowledge regarding the region’s maritime history,” said Professor Nayling.

“We are delighted to be involved with the work of furthering our understanding of these shipwrecks and it’s very pleasing to know that our work has contributed towards legally protecting such remains.

“Following our initial work on site additional sampling of the 16th century shipwreck at Tankerton has been undertaken by Dr Bale with an aim to help refine the tree-ring dates already obtained.”

A second wreck, which was discovered in 2016 at Camber Sands, East Sussex, has also been investigated by the UWTSD academics.

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