THE remains of a diving bell barge built in 1852 to excavate the River Clyde have been found in a boat graveyard.

The barge, the oldest of its kind in the world, has been recognised as nationally important after being discovered near Erskine.

Builders' plans studied by researchers confirmed the metal vessel was built by A and J Inglis.

It could now be given the same protected status as ancient monuments by Historic Environment Scotland.

The vessel was used to remove tons of spoil from the bottom of the Clyde.

Coastal archaeologist Tom Dawson, of the University of St Andrews said: "It is an amazing vessel."