The 28-foot-long, 3 1/2-ton rudder, bearing the carving of a man's face, is part of the so-called Swash Channel Wreck, believed to have been a Dutch trading ship that sank in the early 17th century, The Guardian reported.
Archaeologists from Bournemouth University have been working to excavate and piece together the history of the wreck, about which little is known.
"This is the first time this rudder has been seen above the surface in more than 400 years," marine archaeologist Dave Parham said.
Other artifacts raised from the wreck near Poole harbor in Dorset include cannons, leather shoes and wooden barrels.
"We've only recovered around 4 percent of the wreck and the rudder is the single largest object that we've raised," Parham said.
The rudder will undergo two years of conservation work before going on display in Poole Museum.