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Work to recover the timbers of a 15th century merchant vessel from the site of the Newport Theatre & Art Centre's future orchestra pit is nearing completion on the bank of the River Usk. Dated at 50 years older than the Mary Rose, and said to be in much better condition, the lower hull of the 25m long by 8m beam vessel was discovered during excavation of the sheet pile cofferdam around the orchestra pit site. Main contractor Willmott Dixon subsidiary E Turner & Sons has begun sheetpiling a second cofferdam nearby. Inside it a special display area for the recovered and reassembled timbers will be constructed. This, and the cost of conservation, will add an extra £3.5M to the original £11.5M contract and delay completion by five months.

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