Exposed shipwreck

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Photo: The Bamburgh Castle wreck is exposed to a level not seen for a number of years so the site needs to be recorded quickly Photo: MAST

Archaeologists are investigating an unknown wreck within the intertidal zone of Bamburgh Castle Beach in Northumberland, UK.

The Maritime Archaeology Sea Trust (MAST) conducted a preliminary survey, which noted all the key dimensions and visible features of the site.

MAST says that the wreck appears to be the exposed remains of the port side of a wooden sailing vessel lying on its starboard side with its stern inshore. The length of the exposed material is 22.5m with a width of 5m.

The experts say that it’s relatively unstable as it is exposed to a level not seen for a number of years so the site needs to be recorded quickly.

Apparently, 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 from a mostly intact buried vessel.

“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”, MAST says.

MAST intends to conduct a more complete site survey with local archaeologists and volunteers whilst the site is so exposed. The Bamburgh Castle Beach Wreck project is supported by the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Sustainable Development Fund.

The MAST team has just got a dendrochronology date of 1768 for the wreck. Visit for more information.