ludham archive

   The Log Boat found at Ludham Bridge

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In the summer of 2010 while work was being carried out on the bank of the River Ant, a mechanical digger unearthed a dugout boat. The boat was carved from a single oak tree and was about 3m long. It lay, along with some animal skulls 2.2m down in the mud. The boat was damaged by the digger and work was stopped so that a proper archaeological investigation could take place.
The undisturbed part of the boat was carefully excavated by a team of archaeologists. The skulls of a horse and a sheep were found next to it and other skulls were found in the spoil heap. No pottery or other dating indicators were found with the boat and as this type of boat was in use from the iron age right up to Saxon times, its age is not known.
The boat has been removed from the site and has been taken to York for preservation work. If this was not done, the hull would quickly rot when exposed to the air. The opportunity will be taken to carry out dendrochronological and radio carbon dating to establish how long the boat has been lying in the mud.

The Ludham Archive Group were invited to view the boat and on a very wet day in August 2010 we visited the site. The archaeologist Heather Wallis gave a very interesting talk which we captured on video and she kindly answered all our questions. We also took a lot of photographs and a few can be found below.

There are some additional photographs at
Heather Wallis explaining about adze marks on a bit of the boat which was broken off by the digger.

Latest News (November 2010)

Radiocarbon dates are now in for plant remains found in the sedements above and below the boat. They are as follows:

Below the boat AD650 to AD 780 (95% probability)
Above the boat AD890 to AD 1020 (95% probability)
So it looks like the boat is 7th or 8th century. Hopefully the dendrochronology will give an accurate date.

Further update April 2012 - We are still waiting for the dendro date. We will post it when it becomes available.

Boat and skulls
The boat in situ with a horse skull
side view

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