Who's afraid of the Big Bad Bronze Age?

Primary History article

By Graham Birrell and Marion Green, published 17th November 2015

The first cross-channel ferry

It’s September 1992 and in Dover archaeologists from the Canterbury Archaeological Trust are working alongside construction workers when six metres below ground they find some waterlogged planks. Thankfully, an expert in maritime archaeology is on site and he recognises that this could be a lot more than abandoned timber. Uncovering more, they discover a substantial part of a well-preserved boat. It is removed piece by piece and over seven years is exhaustively conserved and studied. Radio carbon analysis dated it to c.1550 BC, the Middle Bronze Age, making it the oldest sea-going boat in the world.

Archaeologists already knew that communities on either side of the Channel were in contact at this time because they had found evidence for similar objects, homes and burial rites being used in France, southern England and Belgium; however, the discovery of the...

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