Newport Medieval Ship Project: an exemplar of community based heritage conservation
The Newport Medieval Ship Project began in 2002 with the ship’s unanticipated discovery during urban redevelopment on the banks of the river Usk in Newport, South Wales. From the very start the project has been an exemplar of community based heritage conservation, which has at its heart the many local people who came together to form the Friends of the Newport Ship. Since its recovery, further study and preservation, the Newport Ship Centre, a tourist facility, has taken the story to a wider audience.
The project, a collaboration between Nigel Nayling of University of Wales Trinity Saint David and the Newport City Council’s Museum and Heritage Service, has generated new methods of ship excavation, making it a project of major international nautical archaeological significance, with interest from across Europe and the USA.
The innovative digital recording techniques and research undertaken has resulted in the single largest digital archive ever submitted to the Archaeological Data Service, numbering some 12,200 files and totalling 124Gb of data.
The project has galvanised the local community with over 300 volunteers helping thousands of adults and over 10,000 school children learn about the ship and its place in the history of Newport and the Severn Estuary.
“The ground-breaking work on the Medieval Ship has generated a wealth of fascinating information which we have been able to use to bring the Ship alive to thousands of people.” Peter Hayward, Chair of the Friends of the Newport Ship