Eight Bronze Age boats discovered in a deep Cambridgeshire quarry are much older than it was first thought, carbon-dating research has revealed.
The vessels, found by archaeologists at Must Farm near Peterborough in 2011, have now been dated to about 1500 BC, 200 years older than was first thought.
Samples taken during the conservation process have revealed the boats to be made from oak, lime and field maple.
The vessels are undergoing a two-year preservation programme at Flag Fen.
The wooden craft are being sprayed with a special wax to stop the timbers from degrading, the same technique that was applied to the 16th Century Mary Rose warship. Read more.
Six boats hollowed out of oak tree trunks are among hundreds of intact artefacts from 3,000 years ago that have been discovered in the Cambridgeshire fens, the Observer can reveal.
The scale, quality and condition of the objects, the largest bronze age collection ever found in one place in Britain, have astonished archaeologists – and barely a fraction of the site has been excavated.
Unique textile fragments, wicker baskets and wooden sword handles have survived. There are even containers of food, including a bowl with a wooden spoon still wedged into the contents, now analysed as nettle stew, which may have been a favourite dish in 1000BC. The boats – two of which bear unusual decoration – are in such good condition that the wood grain and colour can be seen clearly, as can signs of repairs by their owners.
David Gibson, head of Cambridge University’s archaeological unit, said the discoveries were internationally important. “One canoe would be great. Two, exceptional. Six almost feels greedy,” he said. Read more.