Replica Bronze Age Boats

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[A note on tools- Werner's Hjortspring boat was built mainly using 10centimetre chisels, Tim Severin's Sinbad boat had the Indian workers preferring to use their soft iron chisels and in my "authentic" version of the Roos Carr I think I will mainly use bronze chisels. The adze and the axe have their place but the chisel is the more intimate tool.]

Roos Carr boat, from the Late Bronze Age or the Early Iron Age

NEW THOUGHTS 10TH AUGUST 2010: Having to clarify my ideas as the project develops I looked at the Roos Carr model again and wondered if the four crew shown were actually the number on the original. I had been working on the supposition that the original was of the size of the Hjortspring Boat and would have twenty plus crew which are the sort of numbers posited for the Ferrby and Dover Bronze Age Boats. However if four was the size of the original crew then the boat was in the 20 foot range which becomes achievable.  In fact the current "third-scale" project can be easily rejigged and justified by the evidence to be for a "full-size" version. A four person boat is handy on small waterways such as we have in Britain but can also be very seaworthy as are the native American canoes mentioned above..

I am carving the figurehead and tail of a reconstruction of a useable Bronze Age Boat. The only example of this type is a model or toy found near Hull in England, The Roos Carr boat.

Thanks to Hull Museums and Art Gallery, Kingston upon Hull, for invaluable information.

I am using green English Oak and I hope these pictures give the idea as to how far I have got. The boat will, I hope, be about 5 metres long made from oak planks sewn together with, possibly a hollowed out log for the bottom of the hull. Of course circumstances may force me to use plywood at first in order to get a boat on the water. The hull is inspired by the work of the Applegate boatworks efforts at replicating North-West Indian canoes.

and the logboats of the UK such as the Scottish Loch Arthur logboat
Work proceeds slowly (02/12/2009) as there is now the decision as to whether to follow the pattern of the figurehead on the model or to develop it a bit by maintaining a stag or dog-like head with the dramatic appearance of eyes and eyebrows of the model crew members.
Head and Tail, initial cut out
Figurehead under way using bronze tools
The tail and head have been cut from a baulk of timber which I am going to use as the stem and stern of the boat. The next step was to split the remaining baulk in two lengthwise. I thought of sawing but splitting is more athentic especially using oak wedges that had been cut from the head and tail pieces. Admittedly I did start the split with an axehead but the rest was finished off with the wedges and will be dressed to shape with the bronze tools. February 2011- I am now considering remodelling the head to better represent the aeshetic of the period rather than my own. This will involve shortening the muzzle and other changes in line with some more illustrations of the original I have seen recently. Interestingly, a crack across the head in the original has now duplicated itself in my version, not spooky but a property of green oak as it dries.