Mesolithic Logboat Construction at Exbury Gardens

On Friday 28 August, a team of archaeologists and volunteers put their woodworking skills to the test at Exbury Gardens and using nothing but flint, wood, bone, and antler tools, they began constructing a logboat with Mesolithic techniques. The logboat is a smaller-scale version of the oak watercraft suspected to have been constructed at the now-submerged site of Bouldnor Cliff some 8,000 years ago. By re-creating this logboat, archaeologists can better understand how our Mesolithic ancestors used their forest resources to adapt to an increasingly marine environment. During this period of rapid climate change, people were becoming more reliant on watercraft for travel - to move over widening rivers and lakes, and across newly formed seas. Visitors who went to Exbury Gardens on the 28 August had a unique chance to learn about these processes and enjoyed seeing the logboat being constructed.

The Maritime Archaeology Trust's Maritime Bus was also in attendance which gave visitors of all ages the opportunity to experience the underwater world of the Solent. From submerged prehistoric landscapes to ships wrecked during World War I, there are volumes of history lying in the waters between Hampshire and Isle of Wight, waiting to be explored.

Such was the success of the logboat construction that further archaeological events are being planned for next year at Exbury.

‘What could be better on a trip down to the New Forest than a walk in a beautiful garden, a ride on a steam train (which my grandson adored!) and a chance to see the Beaulieu river close up? A memorable day out and a gem of a place’

Rob Gregory, Oxford

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