Protecting historic wrecks

by Luke Higgins

Two shipwreck sites spanning some 300 years and lying 280 miles apart have been safeguarded under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973.

Off Chesil Beach in Dorset, the remains of two vessels 200m apart were found by divers from the Weymouth-based Shipwreck Project in 2010. Thought to be wooden merchant vessels, they held 15 cast-iron English cannon, including 24 23-pounders cast between 1650 and 1725, and while sediment has prohibited close examination, the wrecks have been provisionally identified as the Dutch West Indian De Hoop, stranded at Chesil Cove in 1749, and the British cargo vessel Squirral, which was lost on Chesil Beach in 1750.

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