Ship Excavation Ship Excavation

Excavation

Newport’s medieval ship was uncovered during the excavation of the new Riverfront theatre’s orchestra pit.

It was an accident of fate that the only part of the construction site that required deep excavation would yield a medieval ship.

Unfortunately the ship was damaged by the installation of the theatre excavation site’s walls and also numerous concrete pillars that had been driven through the hull of the ship prior to its discovery.

To begin the ship’s excavation, the visible pieces of timber were labelled and systematically removed, layer by layer.

Many parts of the ship needed careful attention to avoid further damage during the excavation process - for example, wedges were used to carefully pry apart the frames and hull planking and the cranes used to lift the timbers used specially padded straps and slings.

All the remains of the ship that were excavated were stored offsite in large freshwater containers to prevent decay.

A total of 1700 ship timbers and over 600 associated timbers and small finds related to the ship were retrieved and catalogued.