Page last updated at 12:21 GMT, Thursday, 15 April 2010 13:21 UK
Newport's medieval ship welcomes visitors in open days
Newport medieval ship in the banks of the Usk
The ship was discovered during construction of the Riverfront theatre

Members of the public are being given the chance to discover more about Newport's medieval ship during a series of open days this spring and summer.

Experts have been working on rebuilding the ship for the past 8 years.

It was uncovered in the banks of the River Usk during excavation works to build the Riverfront Theatre in 2002.

Visitors will also be able to see a 3-D model of the ship which is being constructed using lasers and plastic dust.

Over 60% of the wreck of the 15th Century ship has been recovered. It's been a painstaking process of cleaning and recording and conserving all the finds.

At around 35 metres long, the Newport ship is described as the largest example of a medieval, clinker built ship, a method of shipbuilding where wooden planks are attached to a hull so that they overlap each other.

Project Curator Toby Jones says: "It's one of a kind - there's no other ship like it.

"It's held up as the best example of a 15th Century ship in the world."

Newport ship model
The model ship is being created by the melting of plastic dust by lasers

The team are slowly rebuilding the ship using the original excavated timbers and Toby adds that they hope one day to be able to display the rebuilt ship in a large purpose built museum.

The team have also been working with archaeologists from the University of Wales, Lampeter, and Cardiff University's Manufacturing Engineering Centre (MEC) on a project to produce a 1:10 scale model of the ship.

They use timbers and a process known as Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), which uses laser beams to selectively melt successive layers of fine plastic dust.

The process allows archaeologists to accurately model all of the major fastener holes on the ship's timbers.

The model will give visitors a better understanding of the immense size of the ship and the complexity of its design.

Visitors will be able to view displays about medieval life and see artefacts recovered during the excavation. There are also free guided tours and activities for children.

The open days will take place on Saturdays between 10am and 4pm on the following dates:

  • Saturday 17 April
  • Saturday 12 June
  • Saturday 31 July
  • Saturday 21 August
  • Saturday 18 September

Newport Medieval Ship can be found at Unit 22, Maesglas Industrial Estate, NP20 2NN - telephone 01633 215707

Reconstructing medieval ship
03 Feb 10 |  Wales
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