A Tudor shipwreck, discovered by members of a local history group surveying Tankerton beach, near Whitstable, in Kent for second world war pillboxes, has been given official protection by the government as the only wreck of its kind in south-east England.
Experts from Wessex Archaeology, with the help of local group Timescapes, dug two trenches revealing wellpreserved hull timbers.
Dating techniques showed one oak plank came from woodland in southern Britain and was felled in 1531.
The hull’s construction suggests it is a late 16th or early 17th century merchant ship of about 100 to 200 tons, Historic England said.
The shipwreck, which was discovered last year, has now been listed as a protected site by the Government’s Culture Department because it is the only such wreck known in South-east England.
It is hoped an excavation – to take place this week – will uncover evidence of the ship’s cargo and personal effects of the men who sailed in her.
Mark Harrison, director of Timescapes, said: “Our group of volunteers was looking for exploded World War Two pillboxes along the Kent coast.
“Adjacent to a lump of exploded concrete, we were amazed to see the timbers of a ship appearing out of the sand.
“We reported the find to Historic England and are pleased that it has been given protection and that this excavation could tell us more about its story.”
It is believed that the ship was involved in the transport of chemicals used in the textile industry.