The identity of the Swash Channel Wreck, a ship excavated by Bournemouth University marine archaeologists, has been revealed during the launch event to mark the display of the ornate rudder at Poole Museum.
The wreck is now thought to be the 17th Century Dutch vessel The Fame. The identity was revealed as the ornately carved rudder, excavated by BU archaeologists in 2013, went on permanent display at Poole Museum.
The Fame set off from Holland in 1631 on a voyage to the West Indies. As a part of the well-worn trade route, the ship moored in Studland Bay but dragged its anchor in a storm and broke up on Hooks Sand, in Poole Harbour, in February 1631. After being raided by locals, the ships remained dormant on the Harbour seabed until it was rediscovered in a sand bank after being struck by a dredger in 1990.
Since then, work has taken place to preserve as much of the historic ship as possible, with Bournemouth University archaeologists taking a lead on the excavation.
Marine archaeologist Dave Parham leads the university team who worked on the Swash Channel site. He said: “It is the end of a very long project, it marks the final part of an extremely large project, it is the oldest carved rudder in the UK and one of the oldest in the world, so in that sense it is a significant display of ship carvings.
“It is a classic sign of post-medieval maritime trade and the international status of the material moving past Poole. It is a lens through which we can view the history of Poole.
“Bournemouth University was involved in this project in its very earliest days and have brought it through investigating the risks of the site, the significance of the site, the rescue excavation and research – now through to the display. The display of this rudder is a chance to give this project to the public so that they can engage with it too.”
The rudder is on permanent display in Poole Museam, a free to enter museam on Poole Quay, where more information can be found about the ships origins.