Paddling through Prehistory Pt. 1…

Wednesday the 5th marked the second Hands on Heritage Day! With our crack team of volunteers we began making prehistoric paddles in preparation for our dugout canoe (the log for which, is currently being shifted around the woodlands to a more convenient site).

The designs were based on British examples found at the famous Mesolithic site of Star Carr in Yorkshire and the Bronze Age site of Canewdon in Essex. We also took some inspiration from continental paddles from the Danish Mesolithic Tybrind Vig site and later Iron Age examples from various North European contexts.

We started the day by splitting the wood we had available for our paddles using wedges and axes, most of which was straight, freshly felled ash. Although, one of our team, Bob went about (bravely!) hewing one out of an older, much more knottier bit of birch- attempting to recreate the Star Carr artefact.

After an arm-aching few hours, we ended the day with the heavier roughing-out work all finished. Another half day with the drawknife will hopefully get them all looking ready to get wet. Then all we need is a canoe…

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