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Thursday, 15 August, 2002, 09:45 GMT 10:45 UK
Thousands view medieval ship
The ship's outline is clearly visible
The campaign is growing to save the medieval remains
Thousands of people have turned out in Newport to see a medieval ship which has been discovered on a construction site.

A viewing of the 15th Century timber remains - which archaeologist say could be more significant than Henry VIII's legendary Mary Rose - proved so popular it was extended until dusk.


I think the people of Newport must be reassured that the ship will come to no harm

Save Our Ship campaigner, Charlie Ferris

Pressure is growing to save the remains of the ship which was discovered during the building of an arts centre in the south Wales city in June.

A public meeting held on Wednesday night to consider the future of the archaeological find was also well attended.

Newport Council has pledged it will do all it can to find a suitable holding place while its long-term future is resolved.

Campaigners from Save Our Ship organised the meeting on Wednesday night to show the groundswell of public opinion in favour of making the most of the find in a river bank.

Archaeologists believe the 15th Century construction could be of international importance, perhaps even more significant than the Mary Rose.

The ship has already offered up a fascinating glimpse of medieval trading links between Wales and Europe, with finds of Spanish pottery and Portuguese coins.

The public meeting called to discuss the ship's future
A public meeting was well attended

Excavation work by Gwent Archaeological Trust is due to end soon and the site will be filled in for building work to continue.

But businessman and Save Our Ship campaigner Charlie Ferris wants the ship put on display in the city, believing it could become a major attraction for tourists.

"I think the people of Newport must be reassured that the ship will come to no harm - that she will be taken out and treated with the respect that she deserves," he said.

He said people as far away as America had show an interest.

Newport museums officer Ron Ingles said: "The strategy that we are following it to remove five to 10% of the key timbers that tell us most about the history of the vessel and to take those for detailed analysis and study.

"The remainder of them will be removed carefully and we're aiming to deposit them in a freshwater lake."

sections of ship's hull
Key oak timbers will be removed and studied

Earlier this week, Charles Barker, the director of the Mary Rose Trust, stepped into the row, saying that to allow the boat to be broken up would be a disaster.

"This is unique in Britain, there is nothing else like it.

"This is a treasure trove of information and we only have a few weeks to examine it.

"It is probably more important than the Mary Rose in some respects."

Wood used in the ship is variously dated between 1420-69, which Mr Barker said is a fascinating period in history.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Wyre Davies
"The ships frame has been almost perfectly preserved"
Save Our Ship campaigner Charlie Ferris
"The people of Newport need to be assured that the ship will will come to no harm."
See also:

14 Aug 02 | Wales
09 Aug 02 | Wales
22 Oct 01 | England
19 Aug 98 | Royal Yacht Britannia
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