Plymouth shipwreck may be older than famous Mary Rose
By Keith Rossiter - Plymouth Herald
A Plymouth shipwreck may be even older than first thought.
The Cattewater wreck in Plymouth was discovered in 1973 during dredging close to Sutton Harbour, and was deemed so important it became the first to be given official protection. The ship was thought to be from the early 16th century, right in the middle of the Tudor period of British history.
Now detailed analysis of finds, which are in the collection of Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, suggest it could date from as early as 1500.
Martin Read, lecturer in maritime archaeology at the University of Plymouth, wants to raise awareness of the vessel – and is asking local children to come up with a name for a dog whose skeleton was found in the wreckage. The ship is thought to have been a three-masted armed merchantman, probably built in southern Europe but based locally.
For 10 years Mr Read – who holds an official government licence to study the wreck – has worked with students and local divers on the site.
He said: “Tudor wrecks are incredibly rare and the Cattewater wreck is one of the world’s most important 16th Century discoveries.
“As a merchant ship, it provided the trade and taxes which allowed military leaders to build great naval vessels, such as Henry VIII’s Mary Rose, which sank in 1545.