Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sealing the Fate of the Newport Ship

The Newport Ship is at the heart of a new collaboration that gets underway this week between the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, the British Museum and Cardiff University. European funding will allow new research on what kept the ship watertight: the tars and pitches used to seal and repair the hull of the 15th century sailing vessel which was discovered off the southern coast of Wales in 2002.

Tars and pitches are black sticky substances produced by heating wood. They have an ancient history of use as all-purpose waterproofing agents and adhesives. In medieval times their role in ship building and maintenance led them to acquire vital strategic and political importance for the developing European seafaring economies and naval fleets.

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