You can read all the histories you like and scour the archives for facts and figures about the importance of maritime trade to the Cornish communities of old but for me, nothing speaks louder than the depths of the cart wheel ruts cut into the hard Cornish bedrock on the surface of a path that has itself been hewn through that same rock in order to access one of the most magical coves on the southern Cornish coastline. It was these coves – natural harbours and secluded landing places – that made Cornwall such an ideal place to conduct smuggling enterprises on an enormous scale. I won’t spoil it for those of you who have yet to watch Ep2 of Digging Up Britain’s Past (series 2), but in many ways the fortunes of the Cornish smugglers are bound up in the story of a ship that has lain at the bottom of the Solent for over 250 years. Thanks to the efforts of maritime archaeologists in a LIBOR-funded rescue excavation, at last, its story can be told. And what an amazing story it is. So join me and Raksha Dave on a fascinating journey as we map out the story of a ship that was to have arguably the most profound effect on Britain’s maritime story – ever.