Whittlesey (G-B) : six logboats some 3,000 years old Part.2

 PART. 2

• The six logboats discovered are of varying lengths - the longest is 8.3 metres. They are made from a single piece of oak and closed off at one end with a wooden board held in place by a groove.

But one of logboats could be the oldest ever discovered in this country.

Mr Knight said: “One found in Scotland dates from 920-1150BC but we have good evidence that the boat found in our dig is from 1300BC.”

Ms Murrell said: “There’s a chance some of these may crack when we try to lift them out of the ground so we are doing as much as we can while they’re still in the ground to understand how people lived in the Bronze Age.”


Major archaeology find at Must Farm, Hanson brickyard, Whittlesey. Oak boat dated around 2000BC

Once removed, the logboats will be taken to York Archaeological Trust for conservation and further examination. This will include firing a nail through it - testing its strength.

Mr Knight said: “We can also use dendroarchaeology (study of vegetation remains) so we will know when the tree used to build the boat was felled.”

• Twelve eel traps have been discovered so far, each of differing shapes and sizes. But only one of the traps still has a top half remaining.


Major archaeology find at Must Farm, Hanson brickyard, Whittlesey.

Ms Murrell said: “We are fortunate enough to have found one which has part of the top surviving. We have also found one with what looks like bait inside it.

“Some of them even had handles woven into them - enabling us to imagine people picking them out of the water.”

• Numerous swords, daggers and spears have been recovered from the channel - all carrying evidence along the blades that they were used regularly.

Mr Knight said: “In 1100BC I think you might have wanted to carry a sword with you - and might have used it.

“In the beginning of the Bronze Age people were very mobile. Their community was the Nene. But by the end of the Bronze Age the buildings people were living in were becoming more permanent, they were becoming settled in their landscape. This was their home.”

Mr Knight also said it was possible that some of the boats may have been deliberately sunk. Another possibility was due to a fierce fire, which caused the artefacts to sink rapidly into the peaty Fen waters.

• The discoveries are the latest in a long line at Must Farm. Last year, a pot filled with food and elaborate textiles were found.

Rare pottery, wooden walkways and bronze tools have been also been revealed previously, as have glass beads which could have been European imports because they were previously unknown to this late Bronze Age.

Hanson has arranged for archaeologists to excavate sites ahead of clay extractions for about 15 years.