RESEARCHERS have shared an exciting breakthrough in their quest to piece together the story of the Newport Ship.

By looking at tree rings in the timber, researchers from University of Wales Trinity Saint David and Swansea University have determined the hull was made from oak trees felled in the winter of 1457/58.

They believe the ship was constructed soon after, served as a merchant vessel for around ten years, and docked in Newport for repairs in the late 1460s.

Previous analysis suggested the timber came from the Basque country and the trees were felled some time after 1449.

Researchers hope their new, more precise understanding of the ship’s timeline – narrowed down to just a few months – will boost their chances of finding its original identity in historical records.

South Wales Argus: Animated still of Newport Ship at sea.

Now known only as the “Newport Ship”, its remains were found in 2002 during construction of the Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre.

Over the last two decades, the timbers have been cleaned, recorded and conserved – a process that concluded earlier this year.

Those remains were the centrepiece of a medieval open day that attracted more than 1,500 visitors in July.

South Wales Argus: Queue to see the timbers.

Curator Dr Toby Jones told the Argus the city had a “real treasure” that needed to be put on display and the project is now focused on just that.

The Newport Ship visitor centre, at Queensway Meadows Industrial Estate, will open again in late March 2024.

Admission is free and parking is available on site.