North Ferriby boat 1

This Bronze Age boat was discovered by E. V. Wright in 1937 in the intertidal zone of the River Humber at North Ferriby, East Yorkshire, England.

The boat is C14 dated to about 1300 BC. (Bronze Age).

The remains comprised an incomplete central 'keel-strake' of two planks scarfed amidships, and two incomplete strakes on one side and one incomplete on the other. All of the planks were of oak (Quercus), and the entire structure was 13.32m long and 1.67m wide. The central 'keel-strake' and the strake on either side formed a bottom flat in transverse profile, whose shape was maintained by pairs of narrow transverse timbers passing through cleats standing on the inboard face of each of the three bottom strakes. The possibly 'worn' stumps of cleats suggest that the bottom had been modified and was originally much more strongly supported by transverse timbers.

The bottom of the boat was curved longitudinally to give the vessel 'rocker', and near one end the outboard face of the 'keel-strake' had a cleat with a hole in the centre, perhaps for a rope tying the end structure together.

All of the planks were attached to each other by stitches of yew (Taxus) withies. The lower part of only one side strake survived, and there is evidence that the sides comprised at least two strakes. But, although sewn together, it is not clear how the sides were supported. Slots in the cleat structures suggest that there may have been curved frames, but no evidence exists to show how they had been attached to the planks.

There is evidence of two splits in planks that were repaired by stitches, and one plank has a piece of board inserted into it and this too was held by stitches.

The seams were all caulked with moss, and capped inboard with flat oak laths held under the stitches.

The remains of the boat have not survived.

Main Publication:

Edward Wright, The Ferriby Boats: Seacraft of the Bronze Age. 1990, Routledge, London.

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