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9 October 2007
Boats to be built Bronze Age style

Underwater archaeologists in Perthshire (Scotland) are set to embark on a massively ambitious project to build a pair of huge logboats, similar to those created locally during the Bronze Age.
The region’s Big Tree Country monicker is well-earned and several majestic specimens from Dunkeld are to be used by staff from the Scottish Crannog Centre near Kenmore.
     Barrie Andrian and Nicholas Dixon — both underwater archaeologists — are directors at the centre. They are extremely enthusiastic about the project but — with plans to use authentic Bronze Age hand tools — are aware it is a massive undertaking. "We have now taken delivery of four huge trees to build the logboats," said Ms Andrian. "They will be based on the remains of two Bronze Age examples in Tayside that would have been more than 10 metres in length."
     The ambitious project may never have got off the ground as finding trees large enough proved to be an early stumbling block. "While there are still some fine oaks growing in Scotland, finding those of suitable straightness and girth was proving extremely difficult,” Ms Andrian continued. Potential trees were then identified in the grounds of Dunkeld Hilton House Hotel where major landscaping improvements are in progress. Following storms which uprooted several trees a programme of ultrasonic testing was carried out to determine the structural integrity of a number of the largest trees in the estate, particularly Sitka spruce and Douglas Fir.
     The two boats providing templates for the new project are the 11 metre long split remains of a logboat found near the Scottish Crannog Centre in Loch Tay, dated at around 1500 BCE, and the Carpow logboat, dated to about 1000 BCE and raised from the estuary near Newburgh. Ms Andrian is hoping the construction techniques employed during the project will be as faithful as possible.

Source: The Courier (5 October 2007)

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