Hanson Log Boat

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Hanson Log Boat
Museum display of an old log boat
The Hanson Log Boat displayed in Derby Museum and Art Gallery
Material Wood
Size Length: 3 m (120 in)
Period/culture Bronze Age (3500 bp)
Present location Derby Museum, Derby

The Hanson Log Boat was a bronze age boat found in a gravel pit in Shardlow in Derbyshire. This log boat is now in Derby Museum and Art Gallery.


The log boat was discovered at the Hanson gravel pit in Shardlow, a village south of Derby in 1998. The boat was almost complete but was damaged slightly by the quarry machinery before its importance was identified. The boat was dated to 3500 bp. Sadly the boat had to be sawn into small sections so that it could be transported and conserved because it was so heavy. Much of the weight was due to damp which had preserved the wood and kept it from rotting. The wood was slowly dried at the York Archaeological Trust after it had been immersed for 18 months in poly-ethylene glycol, This chemical penetrated the wood and provided strength.[1]

Decorative spearhead of Irish design

Unusually the boat still had a cargo of Bromsgrove sandstone which had been quarried at Kings Mills nearby. The stone is presumed to have been destined for strengthening a causeway across the River Trent.[1]

The boat completed its conservation at a cost of £119,000 and is now in Derby Museum. A second log boat was also discovered at the quarry five years later but it was reinterred in order that it could be preserved.[2]

The display at Derby Museum also includes metal finds that were also found due to the quarrying at Shardlow. The items mostly date from the Middle Bronze Age and were usually found by metal detectors on the quarries conveyor belts although in one case the artefact was identified by a customer of a bag of sand and it was then possible to trace down the supply chain back to Shardlow quarry. The spear head illustrated is thought to be of design influenced by Irish art and is considered to be a decorative rather than practical spear head. The number of finds of axes and broken rapiers is thought to be due to religious offerings where valuable items were thrown into the water.[3]


  1. ^ a b Hanson Log Boat, Derby.gov.uk, accessed May 2011
  2. ^ Second log boat found near Derby, StonePages.com, citing Derby Evening Telegraph in 24 Nov 2003 accessed May 2011
  3. ^ Labels at Derby Museum, read June 2011