The Bronze Age Canoe

Daily Mail (London), December 10, 2011 | Go to article overview
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The Bronze Age Canoe

Byline: Daily Mail Reporter

Remarkable find from 3,000 years ago in Fens FOR archaeologists of the Bronze Age, a successful dig usually amounts to unearthing a few scraps of metal and maybe a few post holes.

So it's no wonder that a team on the East Anglian Fens are saying they have made one of the most significant Bronze Age finds in Britain.

They have discovered wooden boats, swords and hundreds of more everyday items from 3,000 years ago. What's more, most are in excellent condition because they have been preserved in the silt and peat along the former course of the River Nene.

David Gibson, from Cambridge University's archaeological unit, which is carrying out the dig at Whittlesey, near Peterborough, said: 'It is giving us a 3D vision of this community that we only see very rarely anywhere in the world, let alone in this country.

'Usually at a Later Bronze Age period site you get pits, post-holes and maybe one or two exciting metal finds. Convincing people that such places were once thriving settlements takes some imagination. 'But this time so much more has been preserved - we can actually see everyday life during the Bronze Age in the round.' The site is being excavated before a brick quarry is extended. Hundreds of objects have been found - including six boats. These range from just over 6ft long to a little more than 25ft. Each was hollowed out of an oak tree and, in some cases, decorated with carvings.

The site has yielded weaponry such as swords and spears with handles intact, and everyday items such as wooden spoons, part of a cape, green and blue beads, ropes, buckets and wicker baskets.

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