A FORUM on the Newport Ship has heard the vessel was capable of transatlantic crossings.

The conference began at Bristol University as AMs were calling on council chiefs and the Welsh Government to find a permanent home for the city's medieval ship.

The meeting consists of eight sessions with papers by invited experts in the field. It started yesterday by examining the ship and then moved outwards in a series of broadening rings to investigate the wider context of the vessel.

Yesterday’s session saw Toby Jones, curator of the Newport Ship, give a talk on ‘The Newport Medieval Ship: an archaeological overview of a fifteenth-century clinker-built merchant ship’ and Nigel Nayling from the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David on ‘Sources and resources: archaeological evidence for the origins and trading practices of the Newport Medieval Ship’.

Academics say the Newport Ship is the most important late-medieval merchant vessel yet recovered. Built around 1450 in northern Spain, she foundered at Newport 20 years later while undergoing repairs. Research has indicated for the first time it was a two-decker capable of transatlantic crossings.

Since her discovery in 2002, further investigations have transformed historians’ understanding of 15th century ship technology.

The conference, held by the university’s history department, is bringing together maritime archaeologists and historians to explore the ship, consider her significance, and locate the vessel in the commercial world from which she came.

The timbers of the ship excavated at the site of the Riverfront Theatre in 2002 are currently stored at a unit on Maesglas Industrial Estate.