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5 September 2009
Scottish Bronze Age boat proves a handful for volunteers

The Bronze Age lived on at Loch Tay (Perthshire, Scotland), as a replica of a 3000-year-old logboat successfully completed its maiden voyage. A team of more than 30 volunteers worked for three weeks to make the boat, modelled on a prehistoric vessel discovered in the Tay estuary in 2001.
     Six were given the chance to paddle the craft as it made the short trip to the Scottish Crannog Centre, near Aberfeldy, from a nearby picnic site. The volunteers were tasked with creating the nine metre-long boat from a single Douglas Fir, using replicas of Bronze Age tools alongside their modern equivalents. "We used a combination, to test them against each other," said archaeologist David Strachan of the Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust, which organised the project in partnership with the Crannog Centre. "We'd do one patch using modern tools, one patch using ancient tools. Our estimate is that these are about a third as efficient as modern tools."
     The work was overseen by Damian Goodburn of the Museum of London, a veteran of Channel 4's Time Team and one of Britain's leading authorities on ancient woodwork. Further expertise was provided by the Crannog Centre's Barrie Andrian. The so-called Carpow logboat, on which the replica was modelled, was discovered in the Tay estuary by amateur metal detectors in 2001. The boat was recovered from the water in 2006, and is currently undergoing conservation work at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.
     Archaeologists are unclear as to how the Carpow logboat met its demise - but the modern copy crossed the loch in a little over five minutes despite difficult conditions. Trust outreach officer Steven Timoney said the vessel's launch was a success. He said: "It went really well. The boat was paddled from the north of the loch, to the Crannog Centre on the south bank. It took around 20 minutes. The log boat is going to be added to the collection at the Crannog Centre, and visitors will be able to see it."

Sources: The Herald, The Press and Journal (2 September 2009)

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