New Guy's House boat

This Roman boat was discovered by Peter Marsden in 1958 at New Guy's House, the surgical wing of Guy's Hospital, Southwark in south London, England. The boat had been abandoned during the Roman period in a stream or creek close to the River Thames.

The abandonment of the boat is dated by associated pottery to the end of the second century AD.

Only the extreme north end of this boat has been excavated, and it comprised a stem or sternpost with carvel-laid strakes. All the timbers were of oak (Quercus), but there was some caulking between the planks of hazel (Corylus avellana) shavings in pine resin. The planks were attached to the oak frames by iron nails with flat heads and square shanks, whose points had been bent over their inboard faces. Near the centre of the vessel was a ceiling of oak planks.

The total length of the vessel was probably at least 16m, and it had a beam of about 4.25m and a height amidships of only about 1m. It was a river barge whose means of propulsion and steering is not known. A very approximate hydrostatic study shows that the vessel was a river craft that could carry a cargo of about 7 tonnes.

This vessel is still in situ, but fragments are preserved at the Shipwreck Heritage Centre, Hastings.

Main Publication:

Peter Marsden, Ships of the Port of London: first to eleventh centuries AD. 1994, English Heritage Archaeological Report 3.

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