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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 June 2006, 09:13 GMT 10:13 UK
Experts' hope over shipwreck find
Divers at the site of one of the newly-discovered shipwrecks
The wrecks could shed light on 18th Century life
Two well-preserved 18th Century shipwrecks, found by a team of Bristol archaeologists in the Caribbean, could shed new light on life in the 1700s.

They were discovered in 2005 while the Bristol University team was trying to locate HMS Nymph, a warship which sank in the British Virgin Islands in 1783.

Marine archaeologists are to investigate the two sites and try once again to locate the Nymph.

They will use a robot to collect video data which will then be catalogued.

Initial investigations indicate that the first site is probably a vessel of 80-100 tons, built for trade, and originating in Bermuda or the Caribbean region.

'Time capsules'

The other ship appears to be a 250-ton vessel, also built for trade, and constructed along the eastern North American seaboard.

HMS Nymph was initially discovered in 1969 but its location has since been lost.

The team, led by Kimberly Monk of the university's department of archaeology and anthropology, will survey the sites with divers and remote sensing technology.

"These wrecks are fascinating time capsules providing a unique window into the past and we are delighted to have this phenomenal opportunity to document them," said Ms Monk.

"Unlike land-based archaeological sites, the nature of harbour environments has allowed for impressive organic preservation, enabling us to expand on existing knowledge in the areas of colonialism, warfare and 18th Century society."

Archaeologists survey 1783 wreck
19 Jun 05 |  Bristol

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