Treasures of the deep surveyed
A HUGE marine research and exploration project has unearthed more "important finds" that help piece together Plymouth's history.
The Herald reported in May that long-lost treasures and historical artifacts dating back centuries are being discovered in Plymouth Sound in the first ever major archaeological survey of its kind.
And, since the article was published, city folk have been in contact with the US-led marine research and exploration project revealing more important historical artifacts.
The project, to discover the secrets of the Sound, is being led by ProMare, a not-for-profit charity which was established in 2001 to promote marine research and exploration throughout the world.
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Peter Holt, project manager for ProMare UK, said: "Back in May we introduced the SHIPS Project and the work we are doing uncovering more about the history of Plymouth.
"At the Project we are interested in things that people have found in the sea and rivers around Plymouth as we can learn a lot about what was happening in the area by the things people left behind.
"So we were pleased when we received emails from people who had read the article and wanted to offer us objects to look at."
One of the objects the team were shown was the top of a pottery jar found off the beach at Cawsand.
"We could immediately see from the shape that this was an ancient amphora that was used for transporting oil or wine," said Mr Holt.
"The amphora jar was a rare and important discovery as few have been discovered in the south west and so far no others have been found in Plymouth Sound. The amphora has since been identified by experts who said that it was made in the late Roman period and was between 1400 and 1700 years old."
The team were also shown some stone anchors that a sports diver had found some years ago and was using as garden ornaments.
The stones look like big beach stones which have holes through them that you can tie a rope to. Roughly shaped stones with a single hole are usually ones that smugglers in the 1800s used to sink barrels of brandy on the seabed to be picked up later on, said Mr Holt. But the team were also shown stones with three holes carefully bored through them and their sides carefully shaped.
Mr Holt said: "These shaped stones are more likely to be anchors used by ships many thousands of years ago, ships that historians did not expect to have been in Plymouth and ones we know almost nothing about."
Since 2001 ProMare has developed archaeological research projects and uncovered treasures in countries including Norway, Italy, Portugal, the US and Argentina.
And since June 2010, the ProMare team has been focused on uncovering the hidden gems underwater in Plymouth Sound.
Mr Holt said: "The amphora and the anchors were very important finds that have told us something new about the history of Plymouth, so we would like to put out an appeal for more people to come forward and show us what they have discovered. We are keen to see anything interesting or unusual found on the beach or underwater dating from before 1945. In exchange our experts can often tell you more about what you found, how old it is or where it was made.
"All of the objects shown to us are just measured and photographed so we do not keep anything. You may have an important piece of Plymouth's history in your house or in your garden so please get in touch and tell us about what you have discovered."
If you wish to get involved in ProMare's research in Plymouth, email email@example.com.