tunnel now links Britain to the mainland of Europe, as it was six
thousand years ago, until the North Sea divided the landmasses and
broke through the Ice fields to make Britain an island. As result
of which those ancient mariners used rafts and primitive dugout boats
to cross the enormous ditch to reach our Island. Such was the beginnings
of Britain's long and famous maritime past, we now can travel by train
under the channel, while overhead 500 ships every day use the Channel
as they travel to and from all corners of the world, which they had
done for centuries. Off the coasts of Folkestone and Dover have been
numerous ships losses that have occurred throughout history. An extensive
maritime trading with the continent has been established for thousands
of years, these trade routes were already well-established before
the Romans invaded Britain.
of a coastal trading vessel is the Bronze Age boat found on 28th September
1992 during some roadworks at Dover as a planning requirement there
had to be a watching brief when digging an underpass. During the work
the digger driver hit some strange wooden remains, and brought these
to the attention of the Archaeologist on site, doing the watching-brief,
Keith Parfitt from the Canterbury Archaeological Trust, the first
thought was that it was something to do with part of the Roman harbour
wall, from wooden door handle looking item perhaps the remains of
an ancient door. This "door" turned out to be part of a
boat, some days later, Nautical archaeologists were officially advised
of the anomaly, and knew the significance of the find. As there has
been other Bronze Age boats finds, and the nautical archaeologist
knows how the find should be handled, recorded, preserved and conserved.
of the Bronze Age find were taken for analysis, and the vessel underwent
investigations by Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS). The date of
the craft was found to be probably dating to around 1575-1520BC. The
earliest form of a sewn plank boat found so far is the “Cheops
boat” of Kuufu (King Cheops) a full intact vessel of a "solar
barge" from Ancient Egypt that was sealed in the Giza pyramid
complex at the foot of the Geat Pyramid if Giza, dated to around 2,600BC.
Of the nine sewn-plank boats found in Britain, only five might be
older than the Dover boat,
there was no cargo found, there was a large amount of ‘quartz
sand’ as well as glauconite grains from the Lower Cretaceous
Greensands which are found in the Folkestone area, possibly suggesting
the boat had been used in the transportation of quern-stones.
members of the Dover sub-aqua club began to find bronze objects just
outside Dover harbour. These were identified as a range of tools,
weapons and ornaments made in France during the Middle Bronze Age,
including some types rarely found in Britain. More than 350 objects
have been recorded and raised from the site and these were acquired
by the British Museum but some are currently on display at Dover Museum.
This collection of bronze is thought to be part of a cargo of scrap
being transported from mainland Europe to Britain in about 1100BC.
finds suggest that during the Bronze Age maritime trading across,
and along the Channel was widespread amongst the coastal community,
and vessels of all shapes and sizes would have been involved. Due
to the shallow waters small craft that could be easy manoeuvred and
beached or used in the river estuaries, would have been used to ferry
goods to and from larger vessels at anchor in deeper water. Perhaps
during one day in the Bronze Age during the transfer of delivering
a cargo of scrap Bronze tools between such vessels some of the cargo
was lost. Perhaps there was a cargo of quern stones which was being
ferried out to the cargo ships was lost in the same manner. There
were a number of quern production foreshore sites in the Folkestone
area so there was an indication that possibly the Dover boat had at
sometime been engaged in such transportation trade.
a few years’ time, a report may be published by the Canterbury
Archaeological Trust of a shore settlement of 4,000 years ago, (late
Neolithic and Early Bronze Age). in the "Beaker tradition”
found at Holywell Coombe, Folketsone, during the construction of
the Channel tunnel. The Trust have still to list and identify and
declare their finds from the excavations in 1985, which still awaits
publication, so untill then we are not able to find out about those
Ancient times at Holywell.
the Dover Bronze Age boat, another Bronze Age boat was found in the
Channel in May 2009, the craft was estimated at being around 40ft
long and 6ft wide, and dated to around 900 BC. It would appear that
the craft had been trading with the continent and had sunk only 300
yard off Salcombe, south Devon, with her cargo of 86 kilograms comprising
of 27 tin ingots and 259 copper ingots. Other items found included
a bronze leaf sword 950-850Bc and three gold wrist torcs or bracelets.
here for more details.
Archaeology Park, is located in the heart of the natural area of Villeneuve
d'Ascq, near Lille, the archaeological park Asnapio allows you to
go rediscover the past and to understand it.
Houses from the Palaeolithic era to Carolingian times were built thanks
to archaeological resources using ancient techniques in order to give
a more concrete picture of the places our ancestors lived in. All
the year long, special events give you an alternative vision of archaeology.
The archaeology park covers 6 hectares in the countryside setting
of the Parc du Héron and traces changes in living accommodation
in northern France from Neolithic times to the late Middle Ages.
here for details
are reconstructions of two Bronze Age roundhouses and one from the
Iron Age at Flag Fen near Peterborough, England is a Bronze Age site,
probably religious. It comprises over 60,000 timbers arranged in five
very long rows (around 1 km) connecting Whittlesey Island with Peterborough
across the wet fenland. Part way across the structure, a small island
was formed which is where it is presumed that the religious ceremonies
picture shows the reconstruction of a Bronze Age round house.
Can a full size
version of the Dover Bronze Age boat be built, in the 'old ways' and
a crew found to paddle it cross the Channel?
In February 2008
it was announced that a replica of the Dover Bronze Age boat, 10
metres long and two and a half metres wide, made by lashing oak
timbers held together with cords of yew wood. Moss and beeswax would
then stuffed between the joints to make them watertight would be
built and would sail from Folkestone to Wissant in France in 2010,
crewed by volunteers from the British Dragon Boat Association. (Click
here for details). After arriving in France, it was to become
part of a travelling exhibition about the Golden Age of Europe 3,500
years ago. The venture, was to be overseen by the Dover Bronze Age
Boat Trust, costing about £900,000, including the exhibition.
A half-size reconstruction
was attempted costing around £1.7 million of European project
funding. In February 2012 work started on building a half-scale
model of a ‘sewn-plank boat’ at Dover which finished
on 11th May 2012, only to find on the launch day that boat would
sink when it was put in to the water!
At the other
end of the Channel, there is another Bronze Age boat build which
started in April 2012 to recreate another sewn-plank boat dating
to around 1500 BC., using ancient tools including bronze axes at
the in Falmouth, as part of a project devised by the University
of Exeter. Click
here for more details.
and when both these full size Bronze Age Sewn-Boat reconstructions are
complete, could we see a new type of university boat race not down the
Thames but across the Channel? - In Bronze Age style!