Researchers from the Maritime Archaeological Trust have found an 8,000 year old structure that is next to what is believed to be the oldest boat building site in the world and thought to be the “most cohesive, wooden Stone Age structure ever found in the UK”. The new discovery was found 11 metres below sea level off the coast of Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, at a time when the island was still connected to mainland Britain. Although the site was originally discovered back in 2005, marine archaeologists have only just been able to develop the techniques which allows them to create a 3D model of the landscape to properly excavate the site.
The images revealed a platform of split timbers resting on wood foundations.
This sort of building technique was not thought to have come into existence for two thousand more years or so.
According to the Maritime Archaeological Trust: “The site was first discovered in 2005 and contains an arrangement of trimmed timbers that could be platforms, walkways or collapsed structures.
“However, these were difficult to interpret until the Maritime Archaeological Trust used state of the art photogrammetry techniques to record the remains.
“During the late spring the new structure was spotted eroding from within the drowned forest.
“The first task was to create a 3D digital model of the landscape so it could be experienced by non-divers.”
Director of the Maritime Archaeological Trust, Garry Momber, said: “This new discovery is particularly important as the wooden platform is part of a site that doubles the amount of worked wood found in the UK from a period that lasted 5,500 years.
“The site contains a wealth of evidence for technological skills that were not thought to have been developed for a further couple of thousand years, such as advanced wood working.
“This site shows the value of marine archaeology for understanding the development of civilisation.
“Yet, being underwater, there are no regulations that can protect it. Therefore, it is down to our charity, with the help of our donors, to save it before it is lost forever.”
The Maritime Archaeological Trust is now working alongside the British Ocean Sediment Core Research facility (BOSCORF) to preserve the structure.
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This will involve delicately removing the sea salt from the submerged site as to slow down the decay process.
Dr Suzanne Maclachlan, the curator at BOSCORF, said :“It has been really exciting for us to assist the Trust’s work with such unique and historically important artefacts.
“This is a great example of how the BOSCORF repository is able to support the delivery of a wide range of marine science.”
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