Page last updated at 10:51 GMT, Saturday, 2 May 2009 11:51 UK

Shipwreck artefacts 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 shipwreck found off the Dorset coast have gone 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) under the sea, is thought to date from the 1620s. Its country of origin is unknown.

The university is holding a Maritime Archaeological Day on Saturday.

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

Artefacts raised from the seabed and on display include two leather shoes, musket balls, kitchen utensils and an apothecary jar.

Channel dredging

The most unusual 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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