Page last updated at 13:49 GMT, Friday, 24 April 2009 14:49 UK

Wreck artefacts to go on display

The rare wooden carving of a merman
One of the finds is a rare wooden carving of a merman

Artefacts from a 17th Century ship wreck found off the Dorset coast are set to go on display.

Students and experts from Bournemouth University have worked for two years on the wreck site, in an area off Poole Harbour known as The Swash Channel.

The ship, which lies about 23ft (7m) down, is thought to date from the 1620s but its country of origin is unknown.

The university will hold a Maritime Archaeological Day on 2 May when the findings will be on show.

Paola Palma and Dave Parham, the university's maritime archaeology experts, will also speak about their experiences of working on the wreck site.

Artefacts raised from the seabed include cannons, bones, leather shoes, wooden barrels, as well as apothecary jars and ceramic plates and cups.

Channel dredging

The most unique find is a rare wooden carving of a merman, which Ms Palma believes would have adorned the rear of the ship.

She said: "In the last couple of years, the Swash Channel Wreck has constituted a fundamental element in the UK's national and international archaeological maritime landscape.

"It continually reveals an impressive collection of artefacts from the seabed.

"Its further study is vital if we are to better understand our global maritime heritage and how best to preserve this important aspect of our history."

The Swash Channel wreck was discovered in 2004 during a geophysical survey by Wessex Archaeology in advance of dredging to deepen the approach to Poole Harbour.

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