Historic Shipwrecks: Major new discoveries in the Solent region

Type:Talks, Seminiars and Lectures

National Museum of the Royal Navy, HM Naval Base, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 3NH

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Cannon discovered on the NW68 wreck off the Isle of Wight. Copyright: Martin Pritchard

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A highlight of the Portsmouth and Gosport History Week, this talk covers the latest nationally significant shipwreck discoveries in the Solent.

Dive Superintendent, Graham Scott, joins forces with the National Museum of the Royal Navy to host a talk on two new historic shipwreck discoveries.

These rare and important wrecks were designated by Historic England under the Protection of Wrecks Act only this month (20 July 2022).

Discovered off the infamous Shingles Bank in Needles Channel, Isle of Wight (in a collaboration between Wessex Archaeology, the Maritime Archaeology Trust and finders Martin Pritchard and Dave Fox), Wreck NW96 has potential links to a 16th century African diver.

Jacques Francis, from Guinea on the West African coast, gave evidence to court in 1548 testifying that goods reportedly salvaged from a Venetian ship were in fact from wreck NW96 near the Needles. The wrecks sunk in rough storms, leaving a precious cargo of cannons, a large anchor, and at least 50 lead ingots. The ship is thought to have been associated with the Battle of Portland in 1653, when the fleet of the Commonwealth of England was attacked by the Dutch Republic during the First Anglo-Dutch War.

Given the Netherland’s monopoly on maritime trade in this era, the wreck is key to progressing our understanding of 17th century seafaring.

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