Wrecks found near Aberystywth

THREE nineteenth century boats have been found in the river Leri, near Aberystwyth, after heavy rainfall eroded the area around them. The remains are now being investigated by archaeologists.

The site is of Special Scientific Interest, as the vessels, all 65ft (20m) long, have been lodged in the river since the 1860s. As such, the public have been asked not to venture onto the site and examine the three vessels.

Currently, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW) have been examining one of the ships with help from Aberystwyth University. Using laser scanning, they are in the process of creating a 3D image to aid them in drawing up plans and assist archaeologists in their understanding of the boats.

Louise Barker, the lead RCAHMW archaeologist, has said “the vessel is one of three wrecks in the area, all of which were depicted on an Admiralty Chart in 1892.”

“They are thought to have been part of the Derwenlas (near Machynlleth) slate-carrying fleet, responsible for transporting slates from the Corris and Aberllefenni quarries. The vessels became redundant following the arrival of the railway, and around 1868 were put to their last useful purpose as markers in the channel. Recent monitoring of the wreck by the Malvern Archaeological Diving Unit highlighted the increased erosion and exposure of the vessel and it was therefore important to make an accurate record, both to provide benchmark data for future monitoring and also, in the worst case scenario, ensure preservation by record.”

Ms Barker continued to say that the boats were not scheduled monuments and that protecting them would be a matter for the historic monuments agency, Cadw.