Ancient log boat found in England
An oak log boat, or ‘dug-out’, six metres long, has been found in a silted-up channel of the Witham, near Washingborough, Lincolnshire, England.
The valley has produced more log boats than anywhere else in the country, but nationally they are still rare, so the site team was thrilled to make this new discovery.
Experts suspect the boat may be Bronze Age (c.2,0001,000 BC), and have sent a tiny sample of the timber to Florida for radiocarbon dating. The log boat would have been made by splitting an entire tree-trunk with wedges, then using flint or metal tools to hollow-out one half, helped perhaps by controlled burning.
The boat was discovered with the prow slightly higher than the stern, as if it had been hauled out onto a riverbank and the archaeologists believe this indicates the boat was moored here after its final journey. Its tilted position also means the front of the boat was more exposed to the air, causing more of the wood to rot away. The back of the boat (nearest the camera) is much better preserved.
The landscape of the Witham valley would have been very different when the boat was in use. The ancient river would have snaked across a wide, flat fenland, bounded by woodland on the higher ground. The river would have been the easiest means of transporting people and supplies, even as far as the coast.
Remains of the ancient log boat