It looks like gloop from the River Usk. But as Mike Buckingham finds out, where there's muck there's an historical treasure trove. Mud, mud, apparently inglorious mud stored in 50 building waste bags may contain historical gold relating to Newport's mediaeval ship.
"And just as the old prospectors panned for gold we are going to have to sift through this lot to get it to reveal its treasure" Charles Ferris who has led the campaign to save the ship says.
Mr Ferris who is also a Newport councillor stands in front of unpromising rows of plastic bags ranged three deep on metal shelving in the industrial unit where remnants of the 550-year-old vessel are stored.
"And that's the easy part" he with a faint smile eloquently conveying under-estimation.
"After that the coins, scraps of clothing and bits of leather, fishbones, nails and items of lost cargo will have to be analysed, photographed and stored.
"The gold waiting to be discovered is the most detailed insight we can hope for of life in Newport and on board the ship at a crucial stage in the history of the development of sailing vessels."