Cornwall

Maritime Museum in Falmouth to build Bronze Age ship

  • 16 January 2012
  • From the section Cornwall
Sewn plank boat
Planks were sewn together with flexible yew stems

Academics from the University of Exeter, overseen by a professional boat builder, are to reconstruct a Bronze Age ship.

The ship will be built of oak planks stitched together with flexible yew stems at the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth.

The aim is to see how seaworthy the vessels were when they were in use 4,000 years ago.

Building is expected to start in April and last five months.

The scale version of the ship, which could reach 52ft (16m) long, will be built using ancient tools such as bronze axes.

The project has been devised by the University of Exeter and features archaeologists and engineers from the University of Southampton and Oxford Brookes University.

The remains of three Bronze Age ships were discovered at North Ferriby on the Humber foreshore between 1937 and 1963.

Professor Robert Van de Noort, of the University of Exeter, said: "Because none of the boats have ever been found as complete, this project will seek to understand how they were constructed, how to steer such a long boat, measure how fast it can go, understand how the crew used paddles, as sails were not evident, and how watertight it is."

The university said shipwright Brian Cumby would oversee the building project in an open workshop that will allow the public to see the development of the boat, as part of the museum's 2012BC Cornwall and the Sea in the Bronze Age exhibition.

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