29th September 2014:

Since March, a team from OA North has been involved in a project to excavate an 18th-century quay in Castletown on the Isle of Man and uncover a yacht that has remained trapped there since the early 19th century.

The yacht, known as the 'Peggy', is an 18th century armoured vessel. In the late 19th century, the private quay fell into disuse and was infilled, creating a raised terrace and serving to trap the 'Peggy' inside its boathouse. The challenge for the archaeologists was to remove the boat from the building without dismantling either the boat or the building.

This was achieved by removing the 1890s terrace and digging down to expose the former slip-way. The matter was not entirely straightforward, however. The only access to the closed quay was via a listed 1780s' building and a conventional pedestrian door, and it was through this convoluted route that we had to take a mechanical excavator, a tracked dumper and all the spoil.

To add to the complexity, the site was tidal and so flooded twice a day. As the depth of the excavations increased, so too did the effects of the tide. There was more excitement when the team discovered that the site offered remarkable organic preservation. Objects as diverse as ships timbers and a finely worked 18th-century leather pistol holster were uncovered.

The excavation has, as expected, generated media interest. Click here to read an article about the project on the BBC website.