After three seasons of digging, the Exeter Express & Echo reports, volunteers have fully uncovered the remains of a barge preserved in England's Stover Canal. The boat is believed to be over 200 years old.

Between the 1790s and the 1930s, the Stover Canal, located in the southwest, was primarily used for transporting granite and ball clay for commercial purposes. The canal was officially decommissioned in the 1930s, but by that time the upper section had already been out of use since around the 1880s. This means that the barge could have been sitting where it was recently unearthed for the past 140 years or so. As of now, the barge is unique in that it's the only one that's been excavated from the canal.

The archaeological dig is the work of the Stover Canal Trust and volunteer diggers led by archaeologist Phil Newman. In addition to the remnants of the barge, the team also uncovered a section of tramroad beside the canal this year.

Canals were a vital part of British commerce during the Industrial Revolution. By 1850, more than 4000 miles of canal were spread out across the country. Closer examination of the Stover Canal barge could reveal specific details of how it was made and what it was used to carry in its heyday.

[h/t Exeter Express & Echo]

All images: Stover Canal Trust via Facebook