So far, 295 artifacts with a combined weight of 84 kilograms have been retrieved by SWMAG at the shipwreck site. The Bronze Age treasure was found in the Salcombe region, close to the shore and in just 26 to 33 feet (8 to 10 meters) of water. Three golden bracelets found in the most recently identified Salcombe shipwreck site gleamed enough to be noticed. While the new found wreck yielded several golden bracelets, called torques, the previously discovered site included even rarer treasures, which date to between 1300 and 1100 B.C. Once worn as a bracelet, the braided-wire torque is incredibly rare, with the closest known example coming from France, according to Ben Roberts of the British Museum.
But the large quantity of metal ingots at the site resemble gravel cobbles, making them very hard to distinguish in undersea rock gullies. Shaped into pellets convenient for shipping, copper and tin ingots were the raw material for making the metal which defines the Bronze Age. The Salcombe shipwreck's 259 copper ingots likely came from overseas, possibly from mines in central Europe or what is now Spain, according to the study team. This metal ingots would have been used to make bronze, which was the key product of the period. The bronze would in turn have been used to fashion all from tools to weapons and jewellery.
Sadly none of the ship’s structure remains. Most likely it has been rotted away over the centuries. But experts have speculated that it was probably a “bulk carrier” about 12 metres long by almost two metres wide, and made out of long timber planks or a wooden frame with animal hide stretched across it. It would have been crewed by about 15 men and powered by paddle. A narrow row boat might sound like an exposed and treacherous way of crossing the English Channel, but it’s thought that intrepid Bronze Age mariners would have used vessels like this to criss-cross the waterway with some frequency.
Source: National Geographic Daily News, Photo courtesy South West Maritime Archaeological Group, Independent News UK.