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Shipwreck offers unique opportunity for study

The wreck off Bamburgh beach is only visable one hour either side of low tide.

The wreck off Bamburgh beach is only visable one hour either side of low tide.

A partially exposed shipwreck on Bamburgh beach offers an unparalleled opportunity for study, say archaeologists investigating it.

Working with local archaeologists and volunteers, the Maritime Archaeology Sea Trust (MAST) have conducted a complete site survey.

The work has been made possible thanks to a £3,000 grant from the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty partnership’s Sustainable Development Fund.

The site lies in the intertidal zone and only appears roughly one hour either side of low-water slack. The site itself sits within its own scour which, along with the tidal conditions, means that it may never completely dry out.

The wreck appears to contain the exposed remains of the port side of a wooden sailing vessel lying on its starboard side with its stern inshore.

The survival and position of some of the features within the wreck would suggest that the buried structure could be mostly intact as the position of hull structure, deck beams, masts and even deck fittings are all as would be expected.

An initial report by MAST states: “Should the starboard side survive under the sand it would potentially offer an unparalleled opportunity to study a wreck with this level of survival within the intertidal zone, there being very few comparable examples currently discovered above the low-water line within the UK.

“The exposed deck beams suggest the possible survival of decks below the sand (possibly the entire starboard side) which would also be extremely rare within the UK.”

The survival of the lower parts of the mast from just above the main deck and possibly down to the mast step would also offer a rare opportunity to study these features.

No small finds or personal possession could be seen exposed on the site. However there is a chance that some may survive within the buried structure.

The wreck was first reported by Steve Brown, a PADI Basic Archaeological Diver (BAD) Instructor and local historian.

 

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