8,000-Year-Old Wooden Platform Found Off Isle of Wight

Underwater archaeologists working off the coast of the Isle of Wight have discovered an 8,000-year-old structure next to what is believed to be the world’s oldest known boat building site.

Historian Dan Snow inspecting the 8,000-year-old wooden platform off the coast of the Isle of Wight, UK. Image credit: Maritime Archaeological Trust.

Historian Dan Snow inspecting the 8,000-year-old wooden platform off the coast of the Isle of Wight, UK. Image credit: Maritime Archaeological Trust.

The newly-discovered platform consists of split timbers and sits on horizontally laid round-wood foundations.

It is the most intact, wooden Middle Stone Age structure ever found in the UK.

“This discovery is particularly important as the wooden platform is part of a site that doubles the amount of worked wood found in the UK from a period that lasted 5,500 years,” said Garry Momber, Director of the Maritime Archaeological Trust.

The Stone Age site lies east of Yarmouth, a town in the west of the Isle of Wight, off the south coast of England.

The site is now 36 feet (11 m) below sea level and during the period there was human activity on the site, it was dry land with lush vegetation.

Importantly, it was at a time before the North Sea was fully formed and the Isle of Wight was still connected to mainland Europe.

The 8,000-year-old wooden platform following reconstruction. Image credit: Maritime Archaeological Trust.

The 8,000-year-old wooden platform following reconstruction. Image credit: Maritime Archaeological Trust.

The ancient site was first discovered in 2005 and contains an arrangement of trimmed timbers that could be platforms, walkways or collapsed structures.

However, these were difficult to interpret until a team of underwater archaeologists from the Maritime Archaeological Trust used state of the art photogrammetry techniques to record the remains.

The researchers also created a 3D digital model of the landscape.

“This site contains a wealth of evidence for technological skills that were not thought to have been developed for a further couple of thousand years, such as advanced wood working,” Momber said.

“The site shows the value of marine archaeology for understanding the development of civilization.”

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