Excavations are underway to recover a 3,000-year-old log boat from the Tay Estuary.
Excavations are underway to recover a 3,000-year-old log boat from the Tay Estuary. The Carpow log boat was discovered six years ago near Abernethy, Perthshire, but it has taken until now to gather the funding, expertise and right tidal conditions to lift the Bronze Age relic.
The 30ft boat is the second oldest in Scotland, and one of the best preserved. The transom boards, which are buried in mud, are still intact, but the exposed part of the boat is deteriorating.
‘People often like to leave these things where they are,’ said Andrew Driver of the Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust. ‘However, the boat is being damaged by abrasion from gravel and peat so we had to sandbag it ready for excavation.’
The team are working against the clock to raise the boat, having only a four-hour inter-tidal window each day. It will have to be cut into three sections and will be lifted in two stages, with completion expected to be around mid-August. The boat will then be transported to the National Museum of Scotland to undergo drip-drying and further analysis.
‘Most of these log boats were raised in the 19th century and dried out, so we haven’t learned a great deal about them,’ said Mr Driver. ‘However, preservation techniques for water-logged timber have been around for a while now. This will go under the microscope and we should be able to learn about the tools used, how many people it took to build it, and what was growing around that time.’
Preservation and analysis may take up to three years, but it is hoped the boat will then be stable enough to go on show in Edinburgh and Perth.
Photo courtesy of Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust