Ship’s barrel from the Solent

Investigation of ship’s barrel from the wreck of the Fenna, near Lymington

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The Dutch schooner Fenna sank off the south coast in 1881. It was carrying sheets of glass, iron rods and barrels of nails. One of the barrels was retrieved by the Coastal & Marine section of Wessex Archaeology, in conjunction with a local diving group. 
 
The barrel had accumulated a layer of concretion that helped preserve both the barrel and its contents. Once lifted from the sea bed, the barrel was kept wet until it could be investigated. 
 
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With the help of two members of the diving group, the concretions were removed to reveal partially preserved wooden staves and the withy bands that held the staves in place. The contents of the barrel were also exposed as a mass of iron nails that had fused into one large mass as they corroded. 
 
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The surviving section of the barrel was later desalinated, consolidated and control dried over several months to preserve it for the future.