Fishing Baskets Believed To Date Back To The 14th Century Have Been Discovered In Wales

Fishermen walking along the Severn Estuary of Wales have made the surprising discovery of ancient fishing baskets which may date back 600 years.

Upper Wyndcliff, River Wye and Severn Estuary, Wye Valley, Monmouthshire, Wales.
Billy Stock / Shutterstock

Fishermen walking along the Severn Estuary of Wales have made the surprising discovery of ancient fishing baskets which may date back 600 years.

Ancient fishing baskets that were left behind in Wales, to spend centuries buried beneath heaps of clay and silt, have just been rediscovered after two brothers set about on a brisk walk along the Severn Estuary near Portskewett and discovered the artifacts. It is now believed that these fishing baskets would have last been used sometime during the 14th century.

According to the BBC, after stumbling upon the fishing baskets, brothers Martin and Richard Morgan described the absolute precision that would have been used in the construction of the four baskets that were recovered, noting, “It’s amazing to think the last person to see them was possibly in the 14th century.”

Martin explained that as remarkable as the discovery of the 14th century Welsh fishing baskets may be, baskets that were also quite similar were unearthed by others around seven years ago, and after Reading University submitted these ones to radiocarbon dating, they were estimated to date back to between the 12th and 14th centuries.

However, the four that the Morgan brothers discovered may be quite difficult to move, after hundreds of years of sitting in mud and clay, and Martin has stated that it is currently not known why these fishing baskets would have been left behind, but that they are attracting a huge amount of interest from all the over the world after their surprising discovery was announced.

“They must have been discarded or lost, or there could have been some event which covered them up. We are getting a lot of interest, they are not something you will see in a lot of places in the world. People have fished this estuary for forever, it’s great for our fishermen to uncover and record some history.”

As the South Wales Argus reports, it was a recent storm in Wales which finally relinquished the hold that the mud had on these ancient fishing baskets, and Martin Morgan believes that 600 years ago, these baskets would have been both baited and pegged during a time of low tide along the estuary, and that lamprey and green eels would have most likely been the catch of the day.

The baskets were found to be fashioned out of hazel and willow to create an urn shape, with the baskets running around two feet in length. It is crucial that the fishing baskets that were found in the Severn Estuary are studied in detail immediately, as Martin noted that the tide will completely destroy them soon if they are not removed swiftly.

“Once exposed, they are quickly destroyed by the tide so our fishermen record details of them. Time is of the essence.”

With such a rich history as Wales has, there will undoubtedly be more to learn in the future about those who would have once used the 14th century fishing baskets that the Morgan brothers luckily discovered on their walk along the Severn Estuary.