7th Experimental Archaeology Conference Abstract – Hurcombe and van de Noort

Riding the waves:  learning to build a Bronze Age boat

Linda Hurcombe and Robert van de Noort

Exeter University

A team composed of academics, museum curators, volunteers and a professional shipwright have been building a boat modelled on the stitched plank bronze age craft from Ferriby.  The work has taken place in full view of the public at the workshop of the National Maritime Museum, Cornwall, an organisation that relies on entrance charges.  An overview of the project will be presented drawing on a range of perspectives from across the team.  The discussion points include; the theoretical themes of construction as performance, experiments as research and presentation, and skill development;  management and motivation issues;  and, last but not least, the intensely practical insights and compromises arising from the selection of the raw materials, bronze age tools and woodworking technologies, and little-known plant chaînes opèratoires. All this was undertaken to make an impressive full scale seaworthy craft thanks to our shipwright Brian Cumby and a wonderful army of volunteers.












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