This wooden timber was discovered offshore. When it was discovered in the 1980’s it was around 15 feet in length. The finder, Graham Doswell, contacted an archaeologist who cleaned the find and reduced it to its current length.
Images of the find were shown to Wessex Archaeology’s Coastal and Marine Team who agreed that the find may be part of the gunwale of a vessel with the ‘loop’ shown above providing a line guide for ropes as part of the rigging – this is known as a fairlead. The construction of the piece suggests that the fairlead could be adjusted to move to the left or right of its current position which would allow the ropes to be tensioned or repositioned. The section of wood standing proud in the centre of the item might be a stringer providing structural support for the gunwale and allowing the attachment of further framing. A screw noted on the top right of the image above appears to have an even thread suggesting that it was machine manufactured. This type of machinery didn’t become widespread until the late 18th century and so this find is likely to date to the late 18th or 19th century.