The archaeological "rescue" of the medieval sailing vessel found last year ithe river Boyne is in its final stages, Minister for Environment and Heritage John Gormley has said.
The vessel is being recovered "timber by timber", while some of the larger intact parts may be taken out in sections, Mr Gormley said last night. The wreck is to be conserved for further analysis and will ultimately be put on public display.
The Department of Environment's National Monuments Service has been working with the National Museum of Ireland and the Drogheda Port Company on excavating and recording the vessel, which was discovered in late November 2006 during dredging of the river.
The 12-metre clinker-built vessel, believed to be a sailing ship, is thought to have been carrying a cargo when it sank up to 800 years ago. At the time, Drogheda was on a trading route with links to England, Iceland and the Baltic.
Much of it is intact, but the order to excavate and remove it was approved when it was found to be lying midstream on the fast flowing river. "This is considered to be a discovery of national and international significance," Mr Gormley said. "No similar wreck has been discovered so intact in Irish waters and seldom even in Europe, and I am delighted that my department is funding and co-ordinating the challenging recovery operation."
Mr Gormley said he believed the work of examining, conserving and analysing it would "take some years of patient research to come to full fruition".
© Irish Times