8th Experimental Archaeology Conference poster abstract – Watts
The Prometheus Project: using fire to build a Bronze Age log boat
Butser Ancient Farm, Chalton Lane, Chalton, Waterlooville, Hampshire, PO8 0BG, UK
‘The Prometheus Project’ was an experiment undertaken at Butser Ancient Farm, Hampshire, to investigate the potential use of fire in the construction of Bronze Age log boats. The use of fire in the construction of prehistoric log boats has been discounted by archaeologists due to the lack of evidence of fire in the examples found in the archaeological record. This is in contrast to many historical and contemporary cultures that use fire when building almost identical types of craft. ‘The Prometheus Project’ aimed to show that it was possible to use fire to build a log boat without leaving any evidence of that fire. ‘The Prometheus’ was built using a 2.5m half split oak trunk and was hollowed out using fire and reproduction Bronze Age tools. The experiment showed that by using accurate replica Bronze tools it was possible to successfully remove any evidence of fire being used in the boat’s construction. The potential use of fire in the construction of prehistoric log boats does not only bring into question what we know about construction techniques but
also the materials that could be used to make them.
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