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7 August 2005
Iron Age log boat begins year's drying out

An Iron Age log boat has begun a year of drying out after spending a decade buried in sugar. Archaeologists at the Poole, Dorset (England), Waterfront Museum say it is the first time that sucrose treatment has been used in the UK. The boat is now in a specially-built drying chamber at the museum where it will stay for 12 months until it can be displayed to the public.
     The boat, made in 300 BCE, was discovered in Poole Harbour in 1964. It was made from one giant log, estimated to have weighed 14 tonnes and could have carried up to 18 people. After it was found it was kept submerged in water for 30 years while archaeologists decided what to do with it. A decade ago it was submerged in the sucrose solution, which gradually replaces the soft tissue of the wood but keeps the boat's shape.
     It is one of the largest surviving log boats of the prehistoric period in the UK, and is believed to be related to two nationally important Iron Age jetties and continental trade taking place on Green Island in Poole Harbour.
     Keith Jarvis, archive collections officer, said: "After several years submersion in a sucrose solution, the log boat is now installed in a specially constructed and heavily insulated chamber with a bank of seven drying fans, along with humidity monitoring equipment."

Source: BBC News (31 July 2005)

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