An­cient log boat found in England

Timeless Travels Magazine - - ARCHAEOLOG­ICAL NEWS -

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

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