In the early 2006, a new method to finding shipwrecks
was practiced in the United Kingdom at the entrance to Sutton Harbour, in
Plymouth, the place in which a partial excavation in the 1970s discovered the
Cattewater Wreck in the muddy bottom during a routinely dredging effort.
Using sound waves, researches found that the wooden
wreck dates back from the 16th century and belonged to an unidentified armed
merchantman, probably from Holland or France, by some of the pottery that was
However, this is only one of more than 50 wrecks
protected by the British Government, which expressly forbids excavations to
avoid damage to the remains of these ships buried in the mud.
In Portsmouth, archaeologists found in 1982 the
remains of a Tudor wreck, the Mary Rose, which sank in 1545, and they were able
to rescue the ship's anchor and a section of a bowcastle from Henry VIII's flag.
Even though all attention and efforts to rescue the
British treasures that lie in the bottom of the sea are focused on the
Cattewater Wreck for its international importance. The size of the ship is
described as a three-masted, skeleton-built vessel, weighing between 200 and 300
tons; this is over 220,000 kilograms (440,000 pounds).
With such a large ship, it is easy to imagine why
it sank in this port, but especially rejoicing when trying to figure out the
treasures buried in the bottom during all those centuries. The ship is well
preserved and it lies just a meter below the seabed.
The name of the Cattewater Wreck comes from a city of the same name situated in
Devon, close to the site where the vessel sank. Researchers believe that once
they learn the name of the ship it will be easier to determine the treasure kept
inside because the British Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 prevents the use of
another means of investigation.