ANCIENT bones found under New-port's medieval ship will be moved to the city's museum today.

As previously revealed in the Argus, archaeologists at the site of the new arts centre discovered two thigh bones in the mud last week.

More bones have since been uncovered, including a hand, pelvis and the torso. There was speculation that the bones were those of a victim of an early industrial accident connected with the ship, but now experts believe that the bones are much older. Elizabeth Walker, pre-historian at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, visited the site under the new arts centre on Friday.

Adam Yates, an archaeologist who has been working on the remains, said: "The lower legs and head are missing. That doesn't mean anything sinister, it's probably just erosion. We don't know for sure if it is a man or a woman at the moment, but tests will be done and we will find out."

Bob Frett, chairman of Newport Museum, said: "It was very unexpected to find the ship, and then to find it on a cradle makes it an extremely unusual find. And now this skeleton! It has been a very exciting year for archaeology.

"The fact that Elizabeth Walker has looked at the remains suggests that the people on site think the bones are very old. We have had ancient skeletons discovered in Gwent before, at the Orb steelworks and at the Alexandra Dock. One of them Roman and the other Bronze Age, both are on display in the museum, and this new find could teach us even more."

Keeper of archaeology at the museum, Victoria Newton-Davies, 27, said: "There are a lot of theories at the moment, but the bones definitely pre-date the ship. They could be from a prehistoric burial, until we carbon-date them it is impossible to say."

The bones will be carbon-dated to discover their exact age before the local authorities decide what to do with the remains.

Mr Frett said: "Obviously these are the remains of a human being and we have to treat them sensitively. If it is discovered that the person could have been a Christian, for example, we will have to look at giving them a Christian burial."