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Perth and Kinross


Carpow logboat comes home to Perthshire

3,000-year-old Carpow logboat comes home to Perthshire

One of the finest archaeological finds ever made in Perthshire has taken up residence at Perth Museum and Art Gallery

The Bronze Age Carpow logboat has been transported to the town and painstakingly lifted into its new home by conservation specialists.

One of the oldest and best preserved in Scotland, the 3,000-year-old logboat will be at the heart of the museum's new exhibitions, offering an insight into local life in the distant past.

Since its excavation from the River Tay, near Carpow, in 2006, staff at the National Museums Scotland's conservation and analytical research department have been restoring and preserving the boat.

On its return to Perthshire, the logboat was manoeuvred into Perth Museum in sections by conservators from National Museums Scotland and a team from TG McDonald Engineering.

Over the next few weeks, the logboat will be made whole again and take centre stage in an exhibition on its Bronze Age origins, opening on March 19.

The logboat was recovered from the Tay Estuary by the Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust after being discovered in 2001, buried in the intertidal sands and gravels of Carpow Bank, at the head of the Tay Estuary.

Carved from a single tree, the simple craft are the first known boats in existence.

A radiocarbon date verified that the Carpow boat was 3,000 years old, dating to 1130-970BC and excavations in 2002 and 2003 established the full length of the boat at around 9m.

While the bow of the boat had been eroded by tidal action, the buried hull and stern remained in excellent condition.

The site could only be accessed over the summer for around three to four hours each day, and was reburied in tidal mud and sand at each high tide.

The exploratory excavations did, however, identify Carpow as one of the best-preserved prehistoric logboats ever found in Britain.

It was eventually decided to recover the vessel for study and conservation after its exposed bow was found to be eroding.

Excavation was just the beginning of work to preserve the vessel as the team revealed that the oak boat had only survived because it had remained waterlogged.

Once out of the water, the vessel was at risk of disintegration and had to be cleaned, preserved and freeze-dried before it was safe to display in a museum.

Perth Museum and Art Gallery has been closed since January to prepare the galleries for the logboat and to allow for the first stage of improvement works in the entrance hall to be completed safely.

It will reopen on March 5 with the Dinosaurs Unleashed exhibition, featuring life-size dinosaurs, holographic video presentations by wildlife expert Chris Packham, real and replica fossils and interactive exhibits.

Entry is free and the exhibition runs until May 5.

Lifelong learning convener Councillor Liz Grant said: ''Painstaking work has enabled the Carpow logboat to be made ready for display so that we can all discover more about life locally thousands of years ago.

''It's great that we have the chance to highlight the ancient history of the Perth and Kinross area as the Museum reopens after important improvements.''

? Editor's link: The Carpow Logboat, on the Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust website
moss Posted by moss
1st March 2012ce

Comments (1)

I remember when this log boat was eventually released from the mud it had been embedded in for three thousand years. Excavations only took place at high tides during summer months. When the hull was finally freed... the boat actually floated! Just like it was meant to. Bobbing there on the Tay! Magic! The BBC actually caught the moment! Howburn Digger Posted by Howburn Digger
2nd March 2012ce
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