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Sites : Erme Estuary

Location - South Devon, UK

Coordinates : 50 18.0000N  003 57.0000W (WGS84)    Depth : 5-10m    

Conditions : Exposed to South-West, visibility 1 - 10m

Type : Unknown Swedish warship / Tin ingots

Designated under the UK Protection of Wrecks Act (1973)

National Monuments Record No.: Estuary 1082131 / Ingot 1082113

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The Erme Estuary from The Beacon (East) showing white water over Mary reef (centre of picture)

As part of an on-going archaeological study into the estuary of the river Erme in Devon, UK, a remote sensing survey was undertaken.  The aim of the survey was to look for the remains of a number of vessels reported to have sunk in or near the estuary, notably HMS Pygmy in 1793.

Previous work had located the wreck of a Swedish warship.  Identification of the wreck was helped by the location and recovery of a large cast iron gun, a Swedish Finbanker dating to 1690-1720.

As well as the Swedish wreck, a scatter of 44 tin ingots thought to date from the Roman period had been found on West Mary rocks and their source was not explained.

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The image below shows magnetometer targets as yellow dots within the estuary of the river Erme.

Bibliography and Links
  • Historic Shipwrecks, Fenwick V. & Gale A., 1998, Tempus Publishing Ltd., ISBN 07524 1416 X, pp30-31, 58-59   [ABE]
  • The Early British Tin Industry, Gerrard S., 2000, Tempus Publishing Ltd., ISBN 0 7524 1452 6   [ABE]
  • The Archaeology of Dartmoor - Perspectives from the 1990s, 1994, Devon Archaeological Society, ISBN 0 9527899 0 6   [ABE]
  • Erme Estuary Management Plan 2003, South Devon AONB Staff Unit

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