Thanks to generous donations, MAST is funding the of three 17th century wooden ships’ carvings and a canister
that was also found on the Swash Channel wreck. As seen
on the BBC’s
on April 6, both the carvings and the canister are rare
survivals that would normally have been destroyed in the
wrecking process or swept away.
They were raised in August 2010. The three carvings were
found directly above the gunports in the bowcastle and are
in extremely good condition. They bring the number of carvings
found on the site to five.
One is on the head of the rudder and is that of a moustached
male head surmounted by a laurel wreath. A carving of a
merman was situated at the forward edge of the structure,
buried face down. The fifth carving, that of another merman,
is currently being conserved.
They all are early Baroque in style, which matches the early
17th century date of the site and those of the wreck of
the Vasa in Stockholm.
Carvings are very unusual on UK Protected Wreck Sites. There
are only two other examples, the wrecks of HMS Colossus
(1798) and the Duart Point Protected Wreck Site (1653).
All of these are later than the date of the Swash Channel
Wreck Site. The carvings present on the site are the earliest
known in the UK and amongst the earliest known in the world.
The work will be done by the . Once conserved you will be able
to see the artefacts up close at .
Joining these artefacts at York Archaeological Trust is the freshly raised Swash rudder, 8.3 metres long and weighing over 3 tonnes. MAST was closely involved in its excavation.
Along with its impressive moustachioed head, it will be recorded using a Faro Arm before being conserved, using the same process as the smaller carvings. It should be ready to view at Poole Museum in about two years time.
Here are the scanned images of carvings whose conservation was funded by MAST. They have now been digitally scanned by Geomagic, so you can look at all the angle and close up too.
You just need a version of Adobe Reader which you can download for free.