Archaeologists raise artefacts from Elizabethan warship

Marine archaeologists have recovered a ‘treasure trove’ of artefacts from an Elizabethan shipwreck near the Channel Islands.

The wreck was discovered 30 years ago off the coast of Alderney, and is believed to have sunk in the late 16th century. A 2-metre long cannon has already been raised, along with a musket, a soldier’s breastplate and a navigational calendar. These join a large collection of artefacts – including another cannon – raised by divers in the early 1990s.

Described as a ‘Grade A wreck’, the ship represents an important era in the Royal Navy’s development. Dr Mensun Bound, excavation leader told the BBC: “Henry VIII’s Mary Rose dates to 1545 and is an old-style ship. It had all sorts of guns, of different types, different shapes, different calibres, different ages, different styles.”

By contrast, this ship looked markedly different, and Dr Bound thinks that it would have carried more standardised weaponry. “It is a different type of navy, its a more professional navy. We have here the beginnings of broadside naval warfare.”

The excavation is being filmed for a BBC Timewatch programme, to be shown later in the year.

Find out more about it on the BBC Timewatch website