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Last Updated: Monday, 16 June, 2003, 13:09 GMT 14:09 UK
Medieval ship: conservation plans
Part of the medieval ship uncovered at Newport
The ship's conservation is expected to take 10 years
A year on from the discovery of a medieval ship buried in a river bank, experts are putting into place a strategy of what needs to be done to conserve the vessel.

The 14th Century boat was found during the construction of a new arts centre in Newport in June 2002.

Ambitious plans to put the reconstructed ship on display in the basement of the arts centre with an interactive visitor experience are being discussed by Newport Council.

Experts predict that the project will take at least 10-years to complete and are concentrating on the next phase of the conservation which has had 4m of funding allocated from Newport Council.

Charles Barker, who is head of Mary Rose Archaeological Services which is leading the conservation said that one of their first priorities was to find a permanent premises to store and conserve the recovered timbers.

"We need a big secure shed which we can put 15 to 20 tanks in and we need to have water, drainage and power," said Mr Barker.

Charles Barker from the Mary Rose Archaeological Services
Charles Barker:' We need a secure shed for the ship'

"It could be anywhere but we would prefer it to be in Newport."

The timbers are currently being stored in a building at Corus' Llanwern site but will have to be moved to another building on the plant because the steel company need the space for its operations.

A spokesman for Corus said: "We need to use the building that the timbers are in for our operations, but we have offered an alternative building nearby.

"It's not a permanent solution because we may need to use the building in the future but we want to work as closely as we can with the team behind the ship and fully support what they are doing," he added.

Mr Barker said that he hoped a permanent site could be found to house the 1,700 timbers in Newport for the 10-year reconstruction scheme while he and his team conduct detailed examinations of the remains.

Tredegar House, Newport
A briefing on the ship's progress was held at Tredegar House

"This is the next biggest find since the Mary Rose," said Mr Barker.

"A lot of ships have been found but not recovered because of the huge expense involved and I think it has been a very courageous decision to recover it.

"It is famed world wide and when I heard about it last year I came straight down to see it."

Mr Barker added that it has cost about 20m to conserve the Mary Rose so far, and said that the expense of recovering the Newport Ship could rise.

He said he was disappointed that the stern of the ship not being recovered with the rest of the vessel.

"I think it is a great shame that the whole ship wasn't recovered and I think the stern should have been recovered if it could have been," he said.


"Health and safety reasons were behind the decision but there were a number of plans to do it but eventually everything come down to money and there were deadlines and priorities with the arts centre."

Mr Barker and his team are now working on finding the right balance of chemicals to preserve the timbers.

"It is quite complicated chemistry and we have to get it right or the wood could distort and fall apart," he said.

"What we are doing now is analysing all the processes that need to be done and advising on the conservation technology to make sure that the ship is ready for display as soon as possible," he added.

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