More bronze age boatbuilding

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Folk who followed my bronze age boatbuilding last year may enjoy this update. We built the boat as the centrepiece of a traveling Bronze Age exhibition. The boat has now spent 6 months in France, 6 months in Belgium and come home. Now it was time to take it apart, put it back together whilst undertaking genuine experimental archaeology to see if we could seal the joints as they were done in the original with twisted wooden stitches and moss.

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The first stage was to take the boat apart and clean all the joints. There had been considerable shrinkage  with the central seem showing over an inch gap. Now we could see the boat for the first time exactly as the original appears in the museum with the end pieces removed.

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The Time Team crew were back filming. We were doing some genuine experimental archaeology trying to seal the seams using a mix of moss and tallow, affectionately known on site as lardy moss.

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Here we are putting in the twister willow stitches that hold the boat together. The withies pull amazingly tight holding the lathe and moss packed down over the joint. The only issue is that to make the stitches we had to make 320 holes in the boat and each one needed sealing.

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My daughter Jojo came down to help out and had to get used to working in front of the cameras.

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Here’s Rachel and Jojo stitching.

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A rare and special treat was we got to see and handle some of the gold artefacts from the exhibition. It is difficult to describe the feeling of holding in your hand a gold bracelet that was made by a craftsperson 3500 years ago.

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when the boat was back together we had to load it onto a trailer.

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Then I towed it up to Faversham where we were to put it in the water and do some testing. Would it float this time?

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