Down by the River

Digs & Discoveries November/December 2019

(Courtesy Maritime Archaeology Trust)

An 8,000-year-old wooden platform has been discovered on the seabed off the Isle of Wight. The platform, which has been excavated by researchers from the Maritime Archaeology Trust (MAT) and taken to a laboratory for study, lay under more than 30 feet of water. At the time it was built, however, sea levels were much lower, and the area was heavily wooded and abutted a waterway. The newly identified structure, which measures about seven feet by three feet and may have originally been substantially larger, consists of layers of split wood resting on a perpendicular log foundation. It was identified by divers after it eroded out of the seabed. Building the platform would have required woodworking skills that were not thought to have been developed in this region until several thousand years later. “This is the most cohesive, most intact Mesolithic structure to have been excavated in the United Kingdom,” says Garry Momber, MAT’s director. The platform was situated near a boatbuilding site, where the wood scraps used to construct it would have been found.

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    Australopithecus anamensis Cranium

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    (Dale Omori/Cleveland Museum of Natural History)
  • Around the World November/December 2019


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    (Courtesy Dr. Sofia Samper Carro)
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    Proof Positive

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    (Erich Lessing/Art Resource)
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    Searching for the Witches’ Tower

    Archaeologists hunt for evidence of a 17th-century English family accused of witchcraft

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    (Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy Stock Photo)