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Swash Channel Wreck

One of BU’s current maritime archaeology projects involves the investigation and conservation of a 17th-century shipwreck – known as the Swash Channel Wreck – that has been labelled as the most important since the Mary Rose.

Found in the approaches to Poole Harbour, it is thought the ship was involved in early international trade and holds secrets to the economic, social and political environment of the past. However, its true identity remains uncertain.

At the heart of the project is the question of why the ship ended up at the bottom of the sea. Researchers are examining theories including the possibility it was sunk during the English Civil War or that it was attacked by privateers or pirates.

Some of the largest artefacts have been excavated, including an iron cannon and the ship’s eight-metre-long rudder. Weighing five tonnes this rudder is decorated with a classical wooden carving – a three-times-lifesize sculpture of a moustachioed face. Artefacts like these can tell us more about the history of the ship and the life that took place on board.

We are fundraising for monitoring dives – critical to prevent further damage to artefacts still on the sea floor. Please contact us for more information or make a donation online.