In 1992 the perfectly preserved remains of a large prehistoric, sewn plank boat were discovered buried six metres below the streets of Dover in SE England. The boat has been dated to c 150 BC and is one of the most important and spectacular prehistoric wooden objects ever found in Europe. This richly illustrated book, including carefully researched reconstruction drawings, tells the dramatic story of its discovery and excavation, and the pioneering work done on its conservation, re-assembly and display in the multi-award winning Bronze Age gallery at Dover Museum.
The boat was made from huge oak planks hewn into elaborate shapes that fitted together with exacting tolerances. These were made fast with an intricate system waterproofed with pads of moss held in place by thin strips of oak and a stopping made of beeswax and animal fat. Together these elements formed a broad-beamed, flat-bottomed boat of unique design, employing a woodworking tradition now long forgotten.
In addition to a detailed description of the boat itself, the book explores the method of its consruction, its original form, capabilities and performance, and its function and place in Bronze Age society. It presents new and innovative techniques for the study of ancient timbers and describes an experiment in building a copy of the boat using replicas of Bronze Age tools.
Far more than a straightforward technical report on an ancient vessel, this book examines in depth the implications of such a unique find for our understanding of prehistoric communities 3,500 years ago.
List of Illustrations
List of Tables
3. Discovery and excavation
5. Description of the boat
6. Illuminating the original shape of the Dover boat timbers
7. Woodland management and timber conversion
8. Assembly and construction techniques
9. The reconstruction experiment
10. Reconstruction and performance
11. Other artefacts from the site
12. The environmental evidence
14. Affinities and differences
15. The boat in its cultural setting
16. The deposition of the boat
18. Reassembly and display