Conference celebrates 20th anniversary of Newport Medieval Ship Project

The conference will take place at Newport's Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre on Tuesday, October 11 this year.

A one-day conference marking the 20th anniversary of the discovery of the Newport Ship will be held next month, in which attendees can enjoy talks from those involved in its conservation as well as leading figures from other major maritime heritage projects, including the Mary Rose Museum.

The Newport Ship, a 15th-century merchant vessel, was discovered on the banks of the River Usk during construction work for Newport’s Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre.

It is at this very theatre that the conference will take place on Tuesday, 11 October this year. Tickets are now available online.

Newport Ship blue plaque. IMAGE: Jaggery/WikiMedia Commons.

The first talk of the day will be delivered jointly by Dr Toby Jones, curator for the Newport Medieval Ship Project, and archaeologist Nigel Nayling, a professor at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Their presentation will chart the achievements of the Newport Medieval Ship Project so far, from the vessel’s discovery through to the careful conservation and analysis of its hull and artefacts.

Pat Tanner, a maritime archaeologist with expertise in traditional boatbuilding techniques, will then explore the project’s plans to reassemble and display the Newport Ship, which has so far been resurrected as a scale model using digital reconstruction technology.

Steph Mastoris, Head of the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea, will steer the conference in a different direction, exploring the challenges of maintaining the momentum around newly-opened heritage attractions.

This year also marks the 40th anniversary since the raising of Henry VIII’s flagship, Mary Rose. Dominic Jones, Chief Executive at the Mary Rose Trust, will be shedding light on what has been learnt from decades of archaeological and conservation work.

Attendees can then enjoy a talk by Tim Bryan, Director of Brunel Institute, about the story of the SS Great Britain and the famous engineer behind its design, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Launched in 1843 as the largest passenger ship in the world, it is now Bristol’s number one visitor destination.

Tickets are £15 (plus booking fee) for Friends of the Newport Ship members (£30 for non-members) and available online. For more information, visit the Newport Ship website.