Hanson Log Boat – Derby, England - Atlas Obscura

Hanson Log Boat

Derby Museum and Art Gallery

This Bronze Age boat was found buried remarkably intact in an English gravel pit. 


This Bronze Age boat was carved from a single hollowed out oak tree about 3,400 years ago. In 1998, it was discovered buried within a gravel pit directly adjacent to the River Trent in Shardlow, Derbyshire.

Because the boat spent thousands of years lost within the ground, it withstood the test of time rather well. But unfortunately, the prehistoric artifact was a bit damaged by a machine during the excavation process before the workers realized its significant age and historical value. It was then cut into several pieces so it could be hauled away for conservation.

The conservation process was time consuming and expensive. The boat had become waterlogged during its time sunken beneath the gravel, so its restorers had to immerse it in polyethylene glycol for over a year to strengthen the wood before it could be dried.

Today the vessel is reassembled and on display in the Derby Museum and Art Gallery along with its cargo of sandstone blocks which came from a nearby quarry. Other Bronze Age artifacts found within the gravel pit are also available to view.

A second log boat was discovered at the same pit five years later, but that one was reburied to allow it to be preserved naturally in its waterlogged state.

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April 26, 2018

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