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Medieval wreck finds to go on display at Poole Museum

Finds from the rare remains of a medieval ship and its cargo will go on display in Poole Museum when it reopens in 2024. Maritime archaeologists from Bournemouth University have uncovered the ship, dating back to the 13th century in Poole Bay on the edge of the Swash Channel. It was first found by a local charter boat skipper, Trevor Small.

A new display will showcase finds from the 15-metre medieval vessel in Shipwreck! one of Poole Museum’s three new maritime galleries. The display will reveal the ongoing story of the excavation and the people who make it possible.

Though constructed from Irish timbers, the Mortar Wreck is thought to be local to Poole. Exciting finds have included copper cooking vessels and stone mortars, as well as a cargo of ready-produced carved gravestones.

Cllr Beverley Dunlop, Portfolio Holder for Tourism, Culture and Vibrant Places at BCP Council said:

“It is incredibly exciting that shipwrecks like this are still being discovered along our coastline. They are such an integral part of Poole’s rich maritime heritage. Residents and visitors will be able to get up close to the unfolding story of the excavation and what that can tell us about times past through both the everyday items on board and a cargo of gravestones!!”

Tom Cousins, Researcher in Maritime Archaeology at Bournemouth University said:

“The medieval wreck provides us with unparalleled potential for telling us about the past lives and shipping in the 13th C at an important time in Poole's history with the charter of Poole in 1248 and the height of the marble trade in the west. The discovery of the wreck came at an opportune time to coincide with the developments at Poole Museum allowing us to directly engage with the public as the story of the wreck unfolds over time.”

The new galleries are currently under development as part of the £4.3m Our Museum Project funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and will open to Poole residents and visitors in 2024.

Poole Museum will close at the end of October 2022 with building work taking place during 2023 and reopening planned for 2024. During closure the museum will take to the road, bringing Poole’s unique stories and heritage to the local community through an exciting programme of outreach and events.


Image Credit: Bournemouth University

Divers discovering the wreck
Posted on Wednesday 27 July 2022