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Thursday, 19 September, 2002, 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK
Steelworks houses historic ship timbers
Medieval ship discovered in Newport
The ship is being dismantled timber by timber
Steel giant Corus has stepped in to provide a temporary home for the medieval ship which has been rescued from a Newport building site.

The timbers from the ancient boat, which is older than the Tudor ship the Mary Rose, are to be stored at the nearby Llanwern steelworks until preservation work can begin.

Llanwern steelworks near Newport
The timbers are being stored at Llanwern steelworks

The ship, uncovered during construction work on a new arts and theatre complex, has been saved by a 3.5m cash injection from the Welsh Assembly.

The politicians intervened after a high-profile campaign to save the boat was mounted by local people, with the support of actor Sir Anthony Hopkins.

The steel company is offering storage facilities for the timbers which have been lifted out of the mud of the River Usk where they have been preserved for more than 500 years.

Dr Mark Carr, the steel firm's managing director of said: "Corus are delighted to offer practical assistance to help preserve the foundations of the past."

The company contacted Newport City Council after they appealed for a large fresh water facility to store the timbers safely.

The public meeting called to discuss the ship's future
A huge campaign built up to save the ship

The timbers are being stored in fresh water tanks which have been purposely built to protect them from exposure to the air.

They could be kept at the steelworks for up to three years while the council takes advice on preservation techniques.

Glyn Jarvis, cabinet member for culture and recreation from the council said he was delighted that Corus had offered their help.

"The facilities that they are providing are ideal and have helped us to solve a practical problem of how to keep the timbers safe whilst we wait for them to be preserved.

"This type of support demonstrates the commitment that the local community have to the ship."

The medieval ship was discovered on the construction site of the theatre and arts centre in Newport in July.

Archaeologists first thought the discovery was wharfage, but further investigations established that it was a 15th Century ocean going ship of national significance.

Thousands of people queued for hours to view the ship when it briefly went on public display on the construction site last month.

archaeologist at work
The site has attracted international interest

In time the plan is to display the ship inside a basement under the ground floor gallery and main foyer of the new arts centre which is due to open in autumn 2004.

Visitors will be able to see it through a glass floor, and there will also be a viewing gallery on the lower level.

But the medieval ship may not be the only significant find to be unearthed at the site.

Earlier this week, while carrying out initial investigations into the planned basement where the ship will be displayed, workmen found another set of historic timbers.

Tests are being carried out on these timbers, but a council spokesman said it was too early to say what their significance is.

Later this year artefacts uncovered alongside the medieval ship will go on display in the Newport Museum and Art Gallery.

More news from south east Wales
See also:

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