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8 October 2006
Ancient canoe joins Newport ship

A 3,400-year-old hollowed out log which is thought to be a Bronze Age canoe has been moved to a storage unit developed for Newport's medieval ship. The oak relic was unearthed in August by archaeologists working on a major gas pipeline near Milford Haven (Pembrokeshire, Wales). The carefully controlled environment will help preserve it while detailed investigations are undertaken. Only then will it be decided how and where - or even if - it can be put on display for the public.
     It was found at St Botolphs by archaeologists monitoring construction work on the new natural gas pipeline that will link two liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals at Milford with the UK's gas network. The team also found evidence of a small settlement, a small amount of pottery and other items, such as polished stone rings.
     National Grid archaeologist Neil Fairburn said: "Our team have been continuing their excavations around the dug-out. "We've had an amazing amount of interest in this find, be it a canoe or cooking trough or both. Its proximity to the Bronze Age burnt mound which would have been used as an open air cooking place or sauna and bath area has meant we've been able to learn a lot about Bronze Age activities."
     The ancient boat was lifted into a specially-made crate for its journey to Newport. There it has been housed with Newport's medieval ship, which was found buried in the banks of the River Usk as workers dug the foundations of the city's new arts centre four years ago. Mr Fairburn said the storage unit was the best place to house the relic at the moment. "The future of the possible boat is that it will require careful examination, conservation and preservation to establish its nature and use, which will be funded by National Grid," he said. "When we have obtained an understanding of it, then discussions will be held with all interested parties as to how and where or even if it should be displayed and how information about it can be disseminated to the public.

Sources: BBC News (3 October 2006), icWales (4 October 2006)

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