Basic Site Facts
Period: post medieval (second half of the 16th century)
Location: Near Southwold, Suffolk
Depth: about 11m
Reason for Designation: rarity and archaeological significance
Wreck History and Loss
Once suggested to be a casualty of the Battle of Sole Bay 1672, this site is now believed to be the remains of a 16th century armed merchant vessel or possibly a rare example of an early military transport vessel. Although no ship structure or items such as ballast are currently visible it is possible that they may be buried in the sediments around the site. At present objects located on the site consist of iron concretions either fully exposed or partially buried, centred on a small mound, and another discreet group nearby.
Discovery and Investigation
The site was discovered in 1993 when a Southwold fisherman, Stephen King, brought up ship timbers and concreted shot in his trawl. He informed local diver and amateur archaeologist Stuart Bacon, who dived on the site in 1994 and found a bronze gun associated with other wreck material. The gun was subsequently raised and treated at the nearby Sizewell Power station and has provided a great deal of information including the possible date of the vessel.
The site was consequently designated in 1994 and a detailed sketch plan of the remaining objects has been produced by Suffolk Underwater Studies. Various articles on Dunwich Bank have been published in journals.
The recovered cannon is thought to be of a type produced by Remigy de Halut of the Spanish Netherlands between 1536 and 1556. The gun was studied by ordnance expert Rudi Roth and is now on display at the Royal Armouries. The possible longevity of the weapon gives a date for the wreck of within 100 years of 1556. Recently a stone object, possibly a quern stone, has also been recorded on the site.
In recent years magnetometer and swath bathymetry surveys of the site have been undertaken as a basis for monitoring the area. Additionally the wreck is visited on a regular basis.