Illuminating the past – Enhancing the present – Inspiring the future

Boat 1550 BC

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

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