In 2014, English Heritage commissioned Cotswold Archaeology to carry out underwater excavation on the London in order to find out just how much archaeological material survives. Working alongside the marine archaeologists was experienced Thames Estuary diver Steve Ellis and his diving team (Carol Ellis and Steve Meddle), who had been granted the Government licence to dive the wreck. The excavations were planned to take course over a period of two years; during the summer seasons of 2014 and 2015.
During the 2014 season, divers planned to excavate three trenches in the bow of the wreck, designed to explore archaeological remains in the hold, the orlop deck where the anchor cables were, the main gun deck and the carpenter and botswains store rooms, which would have contained tools and timber stores. Based on test dives of the site, expected finds included personal items such as leather shoes and navigational dividers, buckets, pots and cooking utensils, ship fixtures and fittings such as door latches, an anchor cable and ordnance, including cannon balls.
English Heritage’s marine archaeologist Mark Dunkley said of the first season’s plans:
“We are hoping to recover some rare and well-preserved items which will provide a great insight into the English Navy during an unsettled time when Britain was emerging as a global power. While the hull of the ship will remain on the seabed for the foreseeable future, the recovery and display of vulnerable artefacts will aid our understanding of life on board ship in the late 17th Century and enable us to remove the wreck from our Heritage at Risk Register”.
Finds excavated during this phase:
- Artefact No. 3080 – Cannonball (Primary Material: Iron)
- Artefact No. 3081 – Tingle Lead
- Artefact No. 3082 – Musket Shot (Lead)
- Artefact No. 3083 – Pistol Shot (Lead)
- Artefact No. 3084 – Pistol Shot (Lead)