LORD NELSONS HMS VICTORY
Monday February 9th, 2009
WRECK OF THE ORIGINAL VICTORY DISCOVERED
The ship on which Lord Nelson’s famous HMS Victory was based has been found. Balchin’s Victory was the most feared and most technically advanced vessel of her age but was sunk during a storm in 1744 with the loss of all hands. She was also the last Royal Navy warship to be lost at sea with a full complement of bronze cannons. There was also a substantial amount of gold and silver on board at the time she went missing.
However countless searches for the ship have proven fruitless. Eventually The Victory was discovered nearly 100km from the ChannelIisland reef where it was believed to have been sunk. With a completed archaeological pre-disturbance survey, limited test trenching and the recovery of two of the bronze cannons now completed it appears they team have a race against time on their hands. There is evidence of extensive damage to the wreck from trawl nets and debris.
As marine archaeologist Dr. Sean Kingsley, Director of Wreck Watch International has warned. 'Rather than staying frozen in time beneath the waves, this unique shipwreck is fading fast… The Victory lies in an area of intensive trawling, and her hull and contents are being ploughed away by these bulldozers of the deep day in, day out. Leaving the Victory's rich archaeology so vulnerable to the ravages of man is like allowing a motorway to smash straight through a historic site on land without excavating it. The archaeological recovery of the artefacts from the site should begin as soon as possible or the story of England's most important lost man-of-war may not survive to be told.'
A preliminary archaeological report detailing research and work to date on the site, which identifies the shipwreck as that of HMS Victory is available at www.shipwreck.net/publications.php
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