The Ship That Didn’t Rot
Posted: March 1, 2023
It’s just another workday at a quarry in Kent, England. Workers dig for gravel and sand to make concrete. Thump! Tools smack into a 400-year-old ship hidden underground.
Workers at the CEMEX quarry stumbled upon a ship from way back when Queen Elizabeth I reigned in England. (That was from 1558 to 1603.) Few ships from that time remain. The reason is simple: Wood rots. Air and water wear it away. A massive ship can disappear in as little as a decade!
So . . . why does this ship still exist? And why does it exist here, buried underground instead of at the bottom of the ocean?
Today, the quarry (pit for mining stone) sits 1,000 feet from the sea. But in Queen Elizabeth’s time, this spot likely stood right on the water. The unearthed ship may have shipwrecked on shore. Or perhaps its owners abandoned it on the sand. Over time, the coastline shifted farther out to sea. Sediment piled up. All that muck and dirt kept the ship’s hull in shape all these years. The grand old boat didn’t spend centuries getting splashed by water and blown by wind. It hung out under the dirt, well protected.
Archaeologists can use this discovery to study the history of the land itself. Where exactly did the coastline fall during the Elizabethan era? What shores did ships visit?
They scan every small detail of the ship’s hull with a laser . . . and then they will bury it again.
Someday, archaeologists may have better tools than we have now. When that day comes, they can dig the old boat back up and learn even more. But for now, it will be best preserved beneath the ground, like it has been for centuries.
Why? History is God’s story, and He gives us the tools to discover it.