A bit of TLC for merman surfacing after 400 years

York Archaeological Trusts principal conservator Ian Panter with the 17th century carving of a merman displayed in a large aquarium at the Shipwrecks exhibition.   Pictures: Gerard Binks.

York Archaeological Trusts principal conservator Ian Panter with the 17th century carving of a merman displayed in a large aquarium at the Shipwrecks exhibition. Pictures: Gerard Binks.

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A WOODEN carving of a merman which was found with the remains of a 17th century merchant ship has gone on display for the first time in Yorkshire.

The 5ft-long baroque-style carving was found among the remains of the Swash Channel wreck, which was originally discovered off the Dorset coast in 1990.

It has gone on show as part of the York Archaeological Trust’s Shipwrecks exhibition, which opened this week.

The carved wooden merman will sit in tapwater in a display case which will form the first stage of a conservation programme.

The water will help to flush out harmful salts that have leached into the wood following 400 years immersion in the sea.

The archaeological trust’s DIG attraction in York will be home to the collection of shipwreck artefacts until September this year.

The exhibition will also include other finds from the Swash Channel wreckage, such as a swivel gun and an apothecary jar.

Gunpowder containers from an Elizabethan wreck from Alderney and a mysterious rescued object which can only be seen through X-rays will also form part of the exhibition.

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