Page last updated at 17:41 GMT, Sunday, 5 October 2008 18:41 UK

Medieval ship restoration on show

Restoration work on Newport ship
The recording of all 2,600 timbers is almost complete

The latest phase of restoration work on a medieval ship found in a river bank has gone on show at an open day.

The Newport ship, found in 2002, could only be raised from the banks of the River Usk timber by timber and all 2,600 had to be individually recorded.

That task is almost complete and will be followed by conservation work and the vessel's eventual rebuilding.

The 15th Century ship was on view at Unit 22, Maesglas Industrial Estate in Newport on Sunday.

Charles Ferris of Friends of the Newport Ship said the next stage would involve removing iron oxide from the timbers to stop them corroding.

"Then we go for freeze-drying of all the timbers and then we're ready to go for reconstruction which will be in about five years," he said.

"It's a long old road but we're progressing along it well and we've got a brilliant and dedicated team down there."

You can't overstate the historical significance of the Newport ship
Charles Ferris, Friends of the Newport Ship

Sea trade

More details have emerged about its working life.

"We recently found a merchant's mark on a timber belonging to a Bristol merchant and we know he was trading with Spain and was importing wine and iron ore," he said.

"We're getting a picture of who was using her and also hopefully what she was trading in and what she was carrying.

"We know she was carrying raw flax which indicated she was trading with southern Ireland."

In 2006 a French silver coin was found inside one of the timbers, which experts believe was intended to be a good luck charm.

Mr Ferris said the ship was one of the four most significant historical wrecks found in Europe.

"You can't overstate the historical significance of the Newport ship," he said.

The recording project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund in partnership with Newport City Council.

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