Fishing and Shipping (6000 - 1200 BCE)

Mesolithic Wooden Dock (6000 BCE)

(Jan 10, 2023) Excavated in the Solent waterway between the Isle of Wight and the southern coast of Britain. This suburb report on this underwater archaeological find at Bouldnor cliff begins at 25:47. 

The dock is composed of logs made flat on one side and place on pole in a marsh. It is 2 by 1 meters and double layered. The best explanation which would cause the local people to invest this amount of time would be to dock large dug out canoes loaded with fish and perhaps occasional trade goods. This is much easier than slogging a basket of fish over a 1oo meters of marsh. The dock would then be connected to solid land with sloping piles of  dirt which are now eroded away.

They even did some experimental archaeology to determine how these could be made with the Mesolithic tool set. They seem to have split these pieces from a large oak tree which had been felled by storm coastal erosion. After that they to burn and carbonize future flat surface so they could easily chop out the carbonized bits with their stone tools. Carbonization is a standard procedure used by stone age tribes worldwide to make dugout canoes, even into recent times.

Significantly, archaeologist found Einkorn wheat at this site indicating the coastal people were already at the proto-agricultural state of development in which they had a series of settlements to which they travel according to the time of year.

Making a 17th Century Powhatan Canoe

Powhatan is the name of the native American tribe in Virginia at the time of the Jamestown settlement in 1620.  They had a stone age tool kit prior to trading with the British yet they could make canoes holding up to 60 people. This video along with many other excellent ones are put out by the Jamestown Settlement & American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.

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Dr. Laura Harrison is Director of Access 3D Lab Research and Assistant Professor University of South Florida . Her research focuses on digital heritage in archaeology and museums, public archaeology, and the Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean.

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