Kent

Shipwrecks at Tankerton and Camber Sands to be protected

Volunteers show the outline of the Tankerton wreck Image copyright Timescapes
Image caption Volunteers show the outline of the Tankerton wreck

An "incredible" Tudor shipwreck, found on Kent mudflats by a local history and archaeology group, will be protected.

Timescapes discovered the wreck at Tankerton Beach, Whitstable, while hunting for World War Two pillboxes.

The timbers, dating from the 16th century, protruded out of the sand.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has scheduled the wreck, and another in Camber Sands, for protection on the advice of Historic England.

This week archaeologists will excavate the Tankerton wreck, hoping to uncover evidence of its cargo and personal items belonging to the crew.

Image copyright Timescapes
Image caption Excavating the wreck at Tankerton

Experts from Wessex Archaeology, with the help of Timescape volunteers, surveyed the exposed remains, which measured more than 12m long and 5m wide (40ft by 16ft).

Samples of the age of the wood revealed one oak plank comes from woodland in southern Britain and was felled in 1531.

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According to Historic England, the hull's construction suggests it is a late 16th or early 17th century single-masted merchant ship of around 100 to 200 tonnes.

A second wreck discovered in 2016 at Camber Sands, East Sussex, is also being investigated.

Image copyright Historic England
Image caption The Camber Sands wreck was discovered in 2016

Historic England said it is believed to be "a substantial oak-built sailing vessel measuring 47.2m long", and likely to date from the late 18th or early 19th century.

Some of the timbers are of North American origin, and it is thought it could be the Avon which was lost in August 1852 with a cargo of timber.

Duncan Wilson, head of Historic England, said: "These two very different ships are equally fascinating and will shed light on our maritime past.

"Many of the ships that Historic England protects are accessible only to divers but when the sands shift and the tide is right, visitors to these beaches in Kent and Sussex can catch a glimpse of these incredible wrecks."

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