Where we are with the project
Fifteen years after the ship’s discovery in 2002, the conservation process is now nearing completion. The timbers have been cleaned and recorded, and the majority have finished the ammonium citrate and PEG stages and are now being freeze-dried. The freeze-drying is being carried out primarily by the York Archaeological Trust, but some timbers were too large for their facilities and were instead sent to the Mary Rose Archaeological Trust.
In 2015 the Project moved from its base in the Maesglas industrial estate to a new site just south of the Spytty retail park. Visitors to the Ship Centre can see many of the conserved timbers in two environment-controlled stores, along with a number of artefacts and some of the first pieces to be put back together. Many of the other artefacts from the ship are on display in Newport Museum.
Work led by Professor Nigel Nayling, a timber specialist at the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David, has established that the trees used to construct the ship were probably felled in the upland interior of the Basque Country around 1449. This research was carried out in coordination with experts from Iberia, and has contributed greatly to the building of much fuller tree-ring databases for that area.
Meanwhile, the recording of each timber using 3D-spacing technology has allowed for a 1:10 scale 3D printed model to be produced, on display at the Ship Centre.
In 2014 the fruits of over a decade of study allowed for the publication of a comprehensive article in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology (Volume 45, No. 2, September 2014) summarising the finds so far. An article on the ship’s dendrochronology (tree-ring data) was published in the same volume.
The conservation stage is currently due to end in 2018, and it will then be imperative to find a permanent home for the ship. The Friends continue to help fund the project and raise awareness about this extraordinary vessel.