Dover Bronze Age Boat in Ostend

This year visitors to the Ostend maritime festival, Ostend at Anchor, can admire a half scale replica of the Dover Bronze Age Boat for the first time. The presence of the replica boat at Ostend is the result of a unique project in which scientists from Ghent University in Flanders, Lille III in France and the University of Kent and Canterbury Christchurch University have all joined forces.

Paul Bennett is the director of the Canterbury Archaeological Trust and chairman of the Dover Bronze Age Boat Trust: “The Dover Bronze Age Boat was discovered 24 years ago during road works in the centre of the English port city. It's 3,500 years old and was practically intact. The boat measures 20 metres by 2.2 metres and weighs 8 tons. It's now on show at Dover Museum.”

“The Dover Bronze Age Boat is one of the world's oldest sea-faring vessels. It was perfectly preserved. We believe it was used for coastal trading as it was too big for river travel. With kind weather and kind seas it could certainly have journeyed to the continent.”

“Bronze Age people in the English county of Kent had far more in common with people in northern France and what is today Belgium than they did with people living elsewhere in England, in Sussex, Surrey or East Anglia. The Channel did not divide, rather it united and it was thanks to boats like these that Bronze Age man was able to travel to the lands on both sides of the Channel. The peoples on both sides of the Channel had a shared culture. There are similar archaeological finds, similar funeral practices, etc.”

“English, French and Flemish universities joined forces to organise a travelling exhibition to explain this and build the scale model of the Dover Bronze Age Boat to help tell the story of a shared past. Bronze Age tools were used as well as massive oak trees. We also do a lot of work in partner schools.”

The Dover Bronze Age Boat replica is on show at the maritime festival, Ostend at Anchor, until Sunday.