8th Experimental Archaeology Conference poster abstract – Watts

The Prometheus Project: using fire to build a Bronze Age log boat

Ryan Watts

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.

Ellmers, D. (1996). The Beginnings of Boatbuilding in Central Europe. In: Gardiner, R and Christensen, A The Earliest Ships; The Evolution of Boats into Ships. London: Conway Press. p11-23.

McGrail, S. (1996). The Bronze Age in Northwest Europe. In: Gardiner, R and Christensen, A The Earliest Ships; The Evolution of Boats into Ships. London: Conway Press. 24-38.

McGrail, S (2001). Boats of the World; From the Stone Age to Medieval Times. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Strachan, D (2010). The Carpow Logboat: A Bronze Age Vessel Brought to Life. London: PKHT

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: