Excavating a 8000 year old boatyard?
Bouldnor Cliff is a 8000 year old site of human occupation that is now submerged 11 metres under the Solent on the Isle Of Wight. It is thought this site was on a lakeside originally – before the last Ice Age ended and sea levels rose. Bouldnor is teaching us a lot about wood working, for example how they built various huts, tools and canoes. String, wood, bone, foodstuff, ancient DNA of dog, auroch and wheat, the oldest boat building site in the world, as well as flint tools have all survived.
Members of the diving team from the Maritime Archaeological Trust are excavating and recording an area already identified as having prehistoric timbers and flint tools.
Of particular importance is the emergence of a large 1 metre piece of timber that is felt must be part of a boat building activity, possibly used to support the vessel as it was being constructed. Other similar pieces of timber were found that could also have been part of the same support system.
This is a truly exciting discovery as nothing like it, of this age, has ever been found before. This is why the archaeological team are anxious to carry out further excavations this summer before the powerful Solent currents are able to wash away more of this site.
The team are also taking part small samples of sediment, and bagging them for later analysis in the laboratory. Of interest here was the fact that remnants of prehistoric string was actually discovered within these sediment samples – the oldest string ever discovered in the UK!