A PROJECT to bring an important underwater find within reach of residents has been launched at Poole Museum .

Maritime archaeologists at Bournemouth University are collaborating with Borough of Poole’s Museum Service to open up the wonders of the Swash Channel Wreck.

Made possible by a grant of £140,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, it aims to show how archaeologists discover, investigate and protect the underwater past.

The discovery and investigation of the Swash Channel Wreck, just outside Poole Harbour , is the inspiration behind the project.

Believed to be a high status ship dating from around 1620, it has been gradually revealing its treasures to divers from the university during a series of explorations. It lies in seven metres of water and was designated a Historic Wreck in December 2004.

Finds include at least six iron can non, wooden barrels, rigging, copper, pewter, bones and apothecary jars, a rare wooden carving of a merman and planks from the ship have been raised.

The idea for the project came from the university’s maritime archaeology programme leader and project leader Paola Palma.

“I was working with my students on this fascinating underwater site when I realised that only a small group of us – myself and my colleague Dave Parham, the students and a few others – would be able to enjoy this incredible maritime heritage,” she said.

“This made me realise how important it is that we involve the wider community.”

The project includes a series of events, workshops, talks and online resources allowing people to take explore their underwater cultural heritage.

Poole mayor, Cllr Carol Evans said: “Poole has a fantastic maritime history and I would encourage people to get involved in what is a great opportunity.

To get involved with the project and contact a member of the team email madaboutthewreck@bournemouth.ac.uk.