A project that started in April 2012 for recreate a ship using tools from the Bronze Age is about to face its final test: when the ship departs from Falmouth Habour in Cornwall to noon on March 6 it will be verified if it really is able to float. It is almost 50 meters long, weighs around 5 tons and is literally sewn from yew branches. Nails had not been invented in Britain 4,000 years ago, so there is not a single one on the ship.
The construction process has been a journey of discoveries. A team of 30 volunteers met under the supervision of the carpenter Brian cumby to build the prehistoric ship in a workshop open to the public at the Cornwall National Maritime Museum. From the tools that were used to make wooden boats (handcrafted by a skilled Bronze Age carpenter), the objective of this project has been the construction of a ship in the way that it was built by the British Isles in the Bronze Age. The only modern items used were some clamps and an occasional lifting device.
The ship is modeled after the third of three Bronze Age vessels found off North Ferriby (East Yorkshire). It was discovered in 1963 on the bank of the Humber River and was the most complete and oldest of the three. Shaped like a melon slice and nearly 50 feet long, it was constructed of oak planks sewn together with wicker and moss. Ferriby's three ships date between 2030 and 1780 BC, making it one of the first known maritime vessels in Europe..
Boats with stitched planks are unique to the British Isles. They traversed the dangerous rivers and seas found between Great Britain, Ireland, and continental Europe, so due to the danger of travel, they were possibly used for the precious metal trade.
The National Maritime Museum in Cornwall has used two huge green oak logs to create their own version of this ancient craft. They cut it into boards, formed the keel and sewed the whole stitching with the yew sticks while they put moss and tallow to make it more waterproof. Finally, they sealed everything with beeswax. There is no archaeological evidence that tallow and beeswax were used in the manufacture of these ships, but were normally used in Britain in the Bronze Age.
As well as being able to witness the boat launch from the stands at the Falmouth Watersports Center, you will also broadcast via webcam so that all interested can witness if the boat passes the final test. We only hope that the same thing that happened in a previous attempt does not happen, when another replica of a ship from the Bronze Age, sank on its maiden voyage.
Almost graduated in Advertising and Public Relations. I started to like history in 2nd year of high school thanks to a very good teacher who made us see that we have to know our past to know where the future takes us. Since then I have not had the opportunity to investigate more in everything that our history offers us, but now I can take up that concern and share it with you.