15th-century ship – level 3
A piece of history emerged from the deep this week when archaeologists raised a medieval ship from a Dutch riverbed where it had lain beneath undisturbed for half a millennium. Construction workers happened upon the discovery during an underwater investigation whilst preparing to excavate the port. The discovery of the 15th-century ship in such a well-preserved state has excited maritime historians used to finding mere fragments of disintegrated vessels.
The ship is believed to have been a cog, a medieval trading vessel, which used to sail the Baltic and North Seas. Built with metal joints, the wreck is sturdier than other contemporary finds, leaving them free to raise it from the water without fears it would break apart.
They encased the 20-metre by 8-metre boat in a specially constructed metal frame, raising all 40 tons from the water with the help of experienced divers.
The delicate remains will be kept at the Newell and Heritage Centre in a specially designed station keeping it wet at all times. They hope the preservation of the vessel will allow future generations of maritime enthusiasts to appreciate the craftsmanship of the past.
Difficult words: emerge (to come out of), the deep (deep water such as the ocean), excavate (to dig), mere (very small), fragment (a part of something), maritime (relating to the sea), disintegrated (broken apart), vessel (a ship), joint (a part which joins or connects things together), sturdy (strong), contemporary (from the same time), encase (to put in a case – a box), delicate (easily broken), enthusiast (somebody who loves doing something), craftsmanship (a skill in a particular craft – an activity of making things).
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