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Find Spot record MDR8185 - Middle Bronze Age logboat and possible causeway, Aston upon Trent

Type and Period (1)

  • ? (Middle Bronze Age - 1600 BC to 1001 BC)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

Regular monitoring of ARC's quarry between Aston and Shardlow resulted in the reporting of a linear structure of wood and sandstone blocks, some 12m wide by >50m long, initially interpreted as a possible training weir analogous to medieval and post-medieval examples. Subsequent radiocarbon dating of a piece of brushwood and a post from this structure produced dates of 3060 (+/-50) BP and 1430 (+/- 60) BP which, when combined, give a Middle Bronze Age date. In 1998, a logboat was recognized. It lay at the edge of an area of unquarried deposits incorporating numerous timbers and silt. The boat was excavated in 1998-1999. Both ends had been broken during quarrying, when all of the stern was lost, and fragments of the bow were dumped on top of the main body of the boat, which remained in situ. At least three of these can be fitted together, forming c. 3.3m length and retaining an integral cleat between the floor and the angle of the bow. The cleat has become chamfered, probably through wear by rope. The longest section of the boat (c. 7.2m) lay on its left side and contained five large blocks of Bromsgrove Sandstone as well as several smaller blocks. Another large block of sandstone lay where it had fallen, having broken away part of the top edge of the boat when the gravels supporting it were undercut. The hull is U-shaped in cross section. All of its surfaces are pitted, presumably caused by pebbles in the surrounding gravels. In 1999, all parts of the boat were taken to York Archaeological Trust for conservation, after which it will be taken to Derby Museum for display. In addition, several oak logs were found. At least six of these had a transverse cut at one or both ends, with evidence for tool-marks. At least two had a tapering perforation cut by axe or adze. Such a hole could have been used when hauling the log. The logs overlay a 'mattress' of brushwood, which occupied a silt-filled basin. Around the edges of the basin, a number of ash stakes were found lying on the gravel surface. They had probably stood vertically. If so, the surrounding sediment must have been scoured subsequently, causing the structure to collapse. Radiocarbon dates suggest a Middle Bronze Age date for the structure, which may have formed part of a causeway crossing the wet and boggy ground of the Trent floodplain. (1) Archaeological samples were taken from the log-boat and from associated contexts. Five usable samples from the boat were found to form a single sequence 152 years long, and it was suggested that a tree of around 200 years growth had been used for the construction of the vessel. Unfortunately the absolute date of the series could not be identified, since there was no cross-dating with any of the available prehistoric reference chronologies. (2)

Sources/Archives (2)

  • <1> Article in serial: Garton, D, Elliott, L and Salisbury, C R. 2001. 'Aston-upon-Trent, Argosy Washolme (SK 431291)', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 121, pp 196-200.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Tyers, I (English Heritage). 2000. Tree-ring Analysis of Prehistoric Archaeoogical Timbers from Shardlow Gravel Pit, Derbysire. AM Lab. Report 32/2000.



Grid reference SK 43079 29205 (point) (Approximate)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

  • EDR1819
  • EDR1820

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External Links (0)

Record last edited

Nov 7 2016 4:23PM

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