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Dugout Boat Successfully Carbon Dated

27 Nov 2015
Crude boat

Over the last six months we have been working hard to solve the mystery behind one of our most ambigous artifacts: a dugout boat from Kentmere Tarn.

In 1955 a substantial dugout boat was discovered in the sediments beneath Kentmere Tarn in Cumbria; this was taken to the National Maritime Museum and carbon dated to the 14th century. In 1959 our dugout was discovered much deeper in the sediments and that, together with its more primitive design, lead us to believe it was substantially older than the first boat. We always called it the ‘Viking’ boat under assumption, but it had never been scientifically dated to prove our hypothesis. 

With help from Wanda Lewcun (past Kendal Museum Diploma in Cultural Heritage Student) and Allan Steward, as well as a crowdunding campaign arranged by Beth and Steve Pipe rasing £350, we were able to team up with experts at Oxford Archaeology North to uncover the truth of its past. The dream of knowing what it is that resides in our main gallery became a reality.

A sample of the boat was taken away to be radicarbon dated, and the results proved us right! It turns out that the boat dates back to the late-10th to mid-12th century, and is most likely to be pre-Norman conquest, meaning it is at least 865 years old. 

We'd like to thank everyone that donated to this project and helped us confirm the boat is most likely from the Late Viking period. We'd also like the thank Beth and Steve Pipe for all your efforts with the crowdfunding, Allan Steward for supporting us throughout this process, Oxford Archaeology North, and Wanda Lewcun for being the spark behind this project.