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Archaeological Excavations

The discovery

Work was being undertaken in England to build a new road though the centre of Dover,  destined to be a link between the ancient port and the Channel Tunnel, which, when it opened just two years later, was to be the first land link between Britain and the continent for over 10,000 years.

A small team of archaeologists from the Canterbury Archaeological Trust worked alongside the roadbuilders, recording new discoveries as they were revealed by the workmen’s machines. Six metres below the modern street level, elements of a wooden structure were revealed. On cleaning away the waterlogged silt overlying the timbers, its true nature was revealed; a prehistoric boat of complex design, perfectly preserved by the anaerobic sediments it was buried in.

The international importance of the discovery was immediately recognised, but nevertheless the archaeological team had very little time to salvage the vessel form the shaft in which it was found.  Working conditions were difficult; the boat lay below sea level and as a result the shaft was regularly flooded.  This posed significant practical problems for the excavation team, not least of which was how to lift the complex and fragile timbers to the surface. After much debate, it was decided to cut the boat into pieces using a rotary saw and lift the pieces out by crane. The pieces were then moved by lorry to a nearby warehouse, where the timbers were stored in a specially built water-filled tank.

The team concluded that the boat was originally around 18 metres long and 3 metres wide. On board, a crew of 16 people propelled the boat with paddles. All the materials used to make the boat have been identified, along with the tools used in its construction. The system is so complex that only specialised marine carpenters can make such a reconstruction.





Par-delà l'horizon, l'exposition archéologique multisensorielle, grand public et familiale...

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Galerie photographique

L'équipe du projet vous propose de retrouver des photographies du projet dans sa galerie Flickr.

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Qu'est-ce que BOAT 1550 BC ?

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BOAT 1550 BC est le nom du projet de valorisation lié à la découverte, en 1992 dans le port de Douvres, d'un très ancien bateau de l'Âge de bronze...

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