In 1937 the author, then aged 19, found the remains of an ancient boat at Ferriby on the Humber shore. This book is his own account of his discoveries, excavations and research over 50 years since the first boat find. The importance of this and the subsequent finds was only fully recognised after World War II, when the new technique of carbon-14 dating revealed that the Ferriby Boats were built before 1000 BC. This makes them the oldest plank-built boats found anywhere in the world apart from Ancient Egypt and the Aegean; they predate any similar craft in Northern Europe by half a millennium and present evidence for a style of boat building previously unknown. The excavation and preservation of the boats presented many problems, not least the constant battle with mud and the tide. Over the years the author pioneered methods of excavating and recording which have since become standard in the field of maritime archaeology. This book also presents a realistic reconstruction of the boats with estimates of its performance. They suggest a capacity for navigation at this time not previously imagined and add a new and fundamental dimension to the history of man's relationship with the sea.
Table of Contents
Preface. Introduction Sean McGrail 1. Site, Surroundings and Discovery 2. Operations after World War II 3. Boat 3 and Later Developments 4. Description of the Boat-finds 5. Reconstruction and Performance 6. Materials and Building 7. Other Artefacts from the Site 8. Environment, Dating and Archaeological Background 9. Conclusion