Isles of Scilly

The presence of medieval pottery in Tresco Channel has been known for some time. In 2011 a local diver (Dave McBride) recovered a quantity of medieval pottery from around yacht moorings in the channel and brought it to the attention of CISMAS. This pottery was of French origin and dated to 1350-1450 AD. Later that year a combined CISMAS and ProMare undertook a survey of the seabed in this area and recovered over 250 sherds of pottery. This again was mainly French (Saintonge) and was also dated 1350-1450 AD. The pottery distribution was mapped and shows a distinct concentration around two of the mooring buoys.

It seems likely that this pottery is being removed from the seabed sediments by the action of the mooring chains scouring the surface of the seabed. The narrow date range, restricted origin and confined geographical location of this pottery suggest a single event leading to its deposition. The most likely event would seem to be a medieval shipwreck.

Given the fourteenth-century date assigned to the pottery recovered, any associated wreck material would be of great importance to our understanding of maritime Scilly, and any surviving hull structure would be of national importance given the scarcity of wrecks of this period in the UK.
This project will undertake small exploratory excavations in the areas scoured by the two mooring chains. The aim is to establish the source of the pottery and to determine if there is any surviving associated wreck structure.

The further investigation of the site will take place 28 September – 12 October 2013 – This stage of the project will be funded by English Heritage


If you would like to know more the 2011 Survey Report can be downloaded here:  Tresco_Channel_2011_Final_Report