Illuminating the past – Enhancing the present – Inspiring the future

Boat 1550 BC

May 17th, 2012

As many of you may have heard, we placed the replica boat in the water for the second time yesterday.  Although initially the vessel floated well, standing high in the water with significant freeboard, it started to take on water through the stitched seams.  Two team members boarded the boat (which was remarkably stable) and attempted to bale the water out, but the leaks got worse and we had to abandon the attempt.
In the water
Time has now run out for the boat building team, as the boat must travel to Boulogne next week to take its place in the exhibition.  The boat building team must wait until next year when the boat returns to England before finding a solution and conducting sea trials.  Though a little disappointing and frustrating, this last problem does not detract from the immense achievement of building the boat.  In the true spirit of experimental archaeology, the boat builders have faced many challenges over the last three months and solved many problems, resulting in a hugely significant increase in knowledge and appreciation of the technological abilities of our Bronze Age ancestors.  There is no doubt that this final issue of waterproofing the seams will be resolved, though the project timetable does not permit this at the moment.

I salute the boat builders (Richard Darrah, Robin Wood, Trevor Marsden, Rachel Head, Sam Curtis and Damian Sanders), whose hard work, professional expertise, enthusiasm and good humour have made the reconstruction such a success. They have created a boat of great beauty that will form the jewel in the crown of our wonderful exhibition.

Peter Clark



Boat 1550 BC: the launch

May 15th, 2012

After a busy week in the ‘boat shed’, tomorrow will see the second testing for seaworthiness of the half-size replica of Dover’s Bronze Age boat. Last week the boat was at the centre of hectic activity as the boat builders toiled under the the expectant eyes of press and media gathered for its launch. Amongst the visitors was the Time Team and, characteristically, Phil Harding was eager to get ‘hands on’.
Boat 1550BCBoat 1550BCBoat 1550BC
Initial plans to float the vessel with a small crew were abandoned when the boat shipped more water than had been anticipated – the crew was to have included a designated ‘baler’.
Manouvering through Market SquareArrives at marinaPoised for immersion
Touches the waterThe leaks are identifiedLifted
Consequently the boat’s naming ceremony took place on the esplanade. Heralded by music from Canterbury Christ Church University and christened with champagne, ‘Ole Crumlin Pedersen’ was then displayed to the crowds before retiring to dry dock to be prepared for sea.
Musicians from CCCU Seafront



Media Release

May 11th, 2012

Death of the Pharaoh

Murder Mystery fun for families

The great Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Cheops lies dead following a gruesome murder. Investigate the crime scene and explore the spooky galleries of Canterbury Heritage Museum after closing time in a search for clues to discover whodunnit!

Your mission: to complete challenges, gather clues, solve the crime and escape the building… or be encased forever by the Dark Lord!

Activities include an Ancient Egyptian artifacts identification game, Pyramid building, deciphering hieroglyphics, and a Rattle down the mummies skittle challenge.

Death of a Pharaoh takes place at Canterbury Heritage Museum, Stour Street on Saturday 12 May. The event is for children age 7 plus and their families.

Please book in advance on 01227 475 202. Admission is £5 per child. Accompanying adults free. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Sessions last one hour with start times between 6pm and 8pm.

Media contact: Martin Crowther, tel 01227 475 204.

E-mail martin.crowther@canterbury.gov.uk



A Town Unearthed

May 3rd, 2012

Folkestone before 1500 presents ‘Earth and Vision’
Images of the Archaeology and Landscape of Folkestone 1538–2012

Curated by Bryan Hawkins, Senior Lecturer, Media, Art and Design, Canterbury Christ Church University, this is the first in a series of exhibitions for ‘A Town Unearthed: Folkestone Before 1500’.

The exhibition brings together images and artefacts from the archaeological and historical record of Folkestone including the archaeological excavations in 2010 and 2011 as well as material from S.E. Winbolt’s 1924 villa excavation. It also features archive material from the Folkestone Library collection, Canterbury Archaeological Trust and the work of local artists and volunteers.

PLEASE CHECK WITH KENT ARTS AND LIBRARIES FOR THE OPENING TIMES OF THE SASSOON GALLERY: 08458 247200
Stukeley print: 'View of Folkfton'Modern Interpretation of the Hare Brooch by Emma Richardson



Boat 1550 BC Project: The Launch

April 30th, 2012

Saturday 12th May at Dover Sea Sports Centre

Starts at 1 pm – Weather Permitting
Work on the replica boat has been progressing steadily these last few weeks and we are now looking forward to the launch before it begins its journey to the exhibition in Lille. The event starts at 1pm and there will be a chance to talk to the boat builders and the excavators of the original boat before the launch at 2pm off the Sea Centre Slipway. The original Dover Boat celebrates the 20th anniversary of its discovery this September, so watch this space for more events coming up throughout the year.

Come and see the boat builders in action every Wednesday and Saturday on the lawn behind Dover Library (the entrance is off Cannon Street, look out for the signs).
A selection of replica toolsThe base of the boat comes together



Life in Canterbury at the time of the Viking siege

September 27th, 2011

The last in a series of special events to mark the Viking siege of Canterbury in September 1011

Canterbury Heritage Museum, Stour Street
Thursday 29 September, 7.30 pm
An illustrated talk by Paul Bennett based on archaeological finds from Canterbury. With objects to see and touch.
Admission £6.00, including refreshments.
Advance booking only. Telephone 01227 475202. For adults and children age 12 plus.
Organised by Canterbury Museums and Canterbury Archaeological Trust



CAT Education Service at Folkestone Roman Villa 2011

August 15th, 2011

“A rare and exciting opportunity to see in action how we learn about the past”

In July over 400 local schoolchildren and teachers visited the excavation taking place on the site of the Roman Villa at East Cliff, Folkestone. The excavation forms part of the ‘A Town Unearthed: Folkestone before 1500’ community project. Visits to the site were organised and supervised by CAT Education Officer Marion Green, who was ably assisted by ATU volunteers Yvonne Hutchcraft, Pat Cocks, Roma Mortimer, David Paton, Daniel Harris and Iain Neilson.

Before coming to the site, the children had introductory talks in school which prepared them for their visit.
A Roman coin of ConstantiusRoma Mortimer, project volunteer, with Pent Valley Technical College studentsVisitors portakabin
This year’s visits, which allowed the children to see discoveries made early in the second season of digging, followed the highly successful programme of school visits to the site that took place in September 2010.  They were able to view the remains of the villa, see a display of finds from the site, see some of these being washed, and talk to volunteers and professional archaeologists working on the site.
A Roman key - the key to the villa?Enjoying the villaYvonne Hutchcraft, project volunteer, with young visitors
Teachers said about the visits:

“A rare and exciting opportunity to see in action how we learn about the past”

“Excellent and informative, very friendly and interesting staff”

“Brilliant”

Children said that they had learned:

“That we are walking on history”

“About how people lived”

“Archaeology isn’t just about finding big things”
Bread made by project volunteer Pat Cocks from quern-ground flourLearning fieldwork skills on Work Experience

In addition to the school visits, a number of older school students from various parts of Kent were able to dig on the site and help with finds processing as part of their work experience placements.

Excavation takes place seven days a week and the site will be open daily to visitors until the end of August, between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm. A small display of finds and information boards can be seen in the visitors portakabin.

A Town Unearthed: Folkestone before 1500, is a three-year project of community archaeology organised by Canterbury Christ Church University, the Folkestone People’s History Centre and Canterbury Archaeological Trust. It is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust, Folkestone Town Council, Kent Archaeological Society, Kent County Council, Shepway District Council and the Tory Family Foundation.



Boat 1550 BC project

July 27th, 2011

As part of the Boat 1550 BC  project, handling kits of original archaeological material and replicas will be built in the three participating countries. These will be used by schools and interest groups. Graham Taylor, potter and experimental archaeologist based in Northumberland, has already produced 60 replica Bronze Age ‘beakers’ for the Kent kits.Graham based his beaker on one found at St Margaret’s Bay near Dover. He describes the process of production:

‘As with original Bronze Age beakers, the clay has been carefully selected, mixed with fine grit to create a material that is plastic enough to form into a thin walled pot, but coarse enough to withstand the rigors of the firing.  The pot has been hand formed from a single ball of clay, starting by ‘pinching’ out a shallow thick bowl, then working steadily round and round the pot, drawing up the clay until the required height is reached.  Once this is done the pot is shaped by forming it into the palm of my right hand with the fingers of my left hand inside the vessel.  Once I have achieved a satisfactory shape I set the pot aside to dry overnight.  In the morning the clay has reached a leather hard state and using the wetted palm of my hand I work over the entire outer surface to raise up a ‘slip’ of wet clay which will form a smooth surface over the entire pot.
Replica Bronze Age beakersReplica Bronze Age beakersFiring the pots
Once this has been left to dry for an hour or so, the decoration is applied using a small slate or bone decorating comb.  The pattern is built up by pressing the comb into the surface approximately 560 times for each beaker.  This pattern also requires small circular impressions, about 130 of them, made with a hollow bird bone.  About 700 individual impressions, along with the careful organisation of the pattern, make the decoration far more time-consuming than the making. It’s now time for the pot to dry and this must be thorough to avoid steam blowing the clay apart in the fire, so it rests for about a week to ten days in a warm dry place.  The firing itself is done in an open fire, first the beaker is placed over a few bits of glowing charcoal to ‘preheat’ slowly raising the temperature over a few hours until the pot is at about 400°C.  At this point the fire can be allowed to flame and over the next hour wood is added to the fire to make the pot red hot and bring its temperature up to about 800°C.

Finally, the pot is cleaned and a surface finish of bees wax is applied.’

To see Graham at work: video 1 | video 2



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