Finds from the rare remains of a 13th-century ship and its cargo are to go on display in Poole Museum when it reopens in 2024.

Maritime archaeologists from Bournemouth University recently uncovered the mediaeval ship in Poole Bay on the edge of the Swash Channel. It was first found by a local charter boat skipper, Trevor Small.

Though constructed from Irish timbers, the Mortar Wreck is thought to be local to Poole. Finds have included copper cooking vessels and stone mortars, as well as a cargo of ready-produced carved gravestones.

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Poole Museum ( CC BY-SA 4.0 Nilfanion)

A new display will showcase finds from the 15-metre mediaeval vessel in ‘Shipwreck!’ one of Poole Museum’s three new maritime galleries. The display will reveal the ongoing story of the excavation and the people who make it possible.

Before the new exhibition, Poole Museum is set to close at the end of October 2022 with building work taking place during 2023 and reopening planned for 2024. The new galleries are currently under development as part of the £4.3m Our Museum Project funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. During closure the museum will take to the road through a programme of outreach and events.

Tom Cousins, Researcher in Maritime Archaeology at Bournemouth University said the medieval wreck provides “unparalleled potential for telling us about the past lives and shipping in the 13th C at an important time in Poole’s history with the charter of Poole in 1248 and the height of the marble trade in the west.

“The discovery of the wreck came at an opportune time to coincide with the developments at Poole Museum allowing us to directly engage with the public as the story of the wreck unfolds over time.”

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