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Archaeologists have found the rudder of the legendary 1758 ship HMS Invincible - video

British archaeologists have found a rudder at the site where the wreck of the legendary 1758 ship HMS Invincible rests. Researchers from Bournemouth University, who are excavating in the Solent Strait, have found the rudder fin of the ship HMS Invincible. Marine archaeologists located the artefact 60m from the wreck. The legendary vessel, which the
Published: June 3, 2022 - 09:00
Updated: July 23, 2023 - 00:49
Archaeologists have found the rudder of the legendary 1758 ship HMS Invincible – video

British archaeologists have found a rudder at the site where the wreck of the legendary 1758 ship HMS Invincible rests.

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Researchers from Bournemouth University, who are excavating in the Solent Strait, have found the rudder fin of the ship HMS Invincible. Marine archaeologists located the artefact 60m from the wreck. The legendary vessel, which the British acquired from the French, sank after running aground in 1758.

Geophysical surveys of the wreck of HMS Invincible
Archaeologist on the wreck of HMS Invincible Photo Bournemouth University Maritime Archaeology

A team of archaeologists from Bournemouth University located the 11m long rudder fin during a routine inspection of the site.

We did not look for it specifically. The object appeared during the geophysical survey and is located about 60 m from the stern. It appears to be in pretty good condition and is complete along its entire length. This is a unique and significant find said marine archaeologist Dan Pascoe.

Thewarship HMS Invincible was built in 1744 by the French and then lost it to the British in 1747. The 74-gun vessel soon became one of the most important warships of its time.

The end of her service came in 1758 when the ship ran aground between Langstone Harbour and the Isle of Wight and after three days capsized. Fortunately, none of the crew were killed. Interestingly and relevant to this latest find, the cause of the stranding was… a rudder malfunction.

archival engraving of a British ship
Historic engraving of the ship HMS Invincible

The ship was highly manoeuvrable and the rudder was crucial to its design. This is the final piece of the puzzle that tells the story of Invincible. It is a fantastic, wonderful find and extremely rare It only survived because it was buried under a layer of sediment explained Pascoe.

What next for the HMS Invincible rudder?

For the moment, the British have decided to secure the find underwater. Although, according to information provided by archaeologists, the excavation and conservation process of the rudder will be very expensive. According to their estimates, it may reach the amount of about 80 thousand pounds.

It is a unique find as there are no other examples of warships from this era. Its future depends on whether it can be lifted and a place found where it can be displayed Dan Pascoe concluded.

Archaeologists began excavating the wreck of HMS Invincible in 2017. During that time they found a number of artefacts associated with the ship. If the vessel’s rudder fin could be salvaged, together with other artefacts, it could form part of a stunning display in one of Britain’s museums.


Without a doubt, Sweden is famous for its magnificent wrecks that rest at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. One of them is the magnificent Bodekull warship wreck from the 17th century, which we visited in 2021. You will read more about it in issue 19 the DIVERS24 quarterly magazine! The digital version of the magazine is available free of charge, while you can purchase the printed version in our online shop.

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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