The Dover Bronze Age Boat
    The Dover Bronze Age Boat large image 1
        Paperback / softback

        Publication Date

        30 Apr 2004


        Tells the dramatic story of the discovery in 1992 of the perfectly preserved remains of a large prehistoric, sewn plank boat in Dover, a unique find of a boat capable of cross-channel sailing.It includes carefully researched reconstruction drawings.

        Main Summary

          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.

          Additional Information


          Peter Clark

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            List of Illustrations

            List of Tables






            1. Introduction

            2. Glossary

            3. Discovery and excavation

            4. Recording

            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

            13. Dating

            14. Affinities and differences

            15. The boat in its cultural setting

            16. The deposition of the boat

            17. Conservation

            18. Reassembly and display

            19. Discussion