Gormanston wooden boat may be up to 4,000 years old
A WOODEN boat which may be up to 4,000 years old, has been discovered at Gormanston beach.The seven metre wooden logboat was uncovered by workers laying the gas pipeline at Gormanston. Archaeologists monitoring the dredging for Dúchas, the Heritage Service, immediately halted the work and called in the services of an archaeological diving company to investigat
‘Timbers came up to the surface and we immediately tied on the area, calling in the expertise of a private archaeological company,’ said a member of the state underwater unit.
‘This is a unique find,’ said Dr Niall Brady, director of ADCO (Archaeological Diving Company) Castlecomer, who oversaw the four/five person diving team. ‘It’s a very exciting find because whilst logboats are common enough on rivers, they are much rarer in a maritime context. This is the first successful raising of a seagoing vessel that emerged as part of an infrastructural programme in Ireland. Congratulations should be extended to Bord Gáis Eireann, the Irish dredging company, the underwater unit at Dúchas -and the Arch Diving Company. The site was resolved in full and proper manner ahead of schedule to the satisfaction of al parties involved.’
The boat is a substantial seagoing vessel built out of a single tree trunk, probably oak. It was buried under two metres of sand. Preliminary results suggest that it is very early, although as yet, archaeologists will not commit themselves to dating it until further testing has been carried out.
‘It could be prehistoric or it could be from the Bronze Age which was around 2000 BC. It could even be medieval, but we have no proof yet,’ said one archaeologist.
‘Logboats can range over thousands of years, but are usually prehistoric,’ said Dr Brady. ‘The date will emerge once analysis is completed.’
The boat is like a long substantial canoe and resembles the one discovered along the Marsh Road in Drogheda some years ago. It has a number of interesting features along both sides which relate to seagoing usage. Nooks in the side suggest outriders making it a coastal craft and it is one of the only off-shore marine vessels so far discovered in Ireland.
The state underwater unit has been accompanying An Bord Gáis pipe laying equipment along the Eastern coastline as an amount of items of archaeological importance have surfaced along this coastline.
‘We have hundreds of records from this coastline ,’ said a member of the state underwater unit. If items are found, the developer then takes on a commercial archaeologist and Dúchas archaeologists inspect the dive.
The boat is now in a water filtration tank for short-term conservation awaiting long-term restoration which will be overseen by the national museum.
Pictures and further information on the find will soon be available on ADCO’s website on www.adco-ie.com