- On 14/02/2010
- In Underwater Archeology
By Jasper Copping - Telegraph
One of the world's oldest shipwrecks has been discovered off the coast of Devon after lying on the seabed for almost 3,000 years.
The trading vessel was carrying an extremely valuable cargo of tin and hundreds of copper ingots from the Continent when it sank.
Experts say the "incredibly exciting" discovery provides new evidence about the extent and sophistication of Britain's links with Europe in the Bronze Age as well as the remarkable seafaring abilities of the people during the period.
Archaeologists have described the vessel, which is thought to date back to around 900BC, as being a "bulk carrier" of its age.
The copper and tin would have been used for making bronze – the primary product of the period which was used in the manufacture of not only weapons, but also tools, jewellery, ornaments and other items.
Archaeologists believe the copper – and possibly the tin – was being imported into Britain and originated in a number of different countries throughout Europe, rather than from a single source, demonstrating the existence of a complex network of trade routes across the Continent.
Academics at the University of Oxford are carrying out further analysis of the cargo in order to establish its exact origins.