Royal Navy Dredges Up Maritime Artifacts


By Royal Navy News 2017-08-01 16:29:23

3,200,000 cubic metres of mud – the equivalent of 12,800 Olympic-sized swimming pools –  have been dredged out to make Portsmouth Harbour ready for the arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Navy’s next-generation aircraft carrier. 

More than 20,000 items were recovered in the process, from shoes to mines, many dating back several centuries. The wealth of artifacts uncovered include eight cannon, an aircraft engine, 36 anchors and a human skull, which was passed to the local police.

There was an arsenal of old ordnance, ranging from bullets and cannonballs to a British torpedo. A German sea mine and five large bombs were found, before being made safe by the Royal Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal team.

Elsewhere the dredging uncovered bottles, plates, ceramics and shoes which probably belonged to sailors. They have been passed to the project’s archaeologists at Wessex Archaeology for study.

“The dredging was the culmination of 12 years’ work monitoring the seabed environment around the harbour and unearthed a huge array of items, some of which may be historically significant, and underlines again Portsmouth’s long maritime history,” said Captain Iain Greenlees, Head of Infrastructure at HM Naval Base Portsmouth. 

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