Historic boat crafted by volunteers at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall floats
The question on every ones lips this morning over the launch of a replica 4,0000 year old boat at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall was will it float?
Luckily for everyone the answer was a definitive yes, as the project to recreate the boat reached its dramatic conclusion today.
It was launched into Falmouth Bay, watched by a large crowd of people who were anxious to see the results of months of work to sculpt the 50ft long, 5 tonne vessel out of two oak logs.
It was a first for experimental archaeology and a first for the Museum as part of a collaborative project with the University of Exeter.
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A team of volunteers, led by shipwright Brian ***by, have spent the last year building this one of a kind craft using replica methods and tools, such as bronze headed axes.
Andy Wyke, boat collection manager at the Maritime Museum, says: "It has been incredible to see this whole project take shape in the Museum building over the past 11 months.
"Volunteers have poured everything into transforming three oak trees to what we have seen and achieved today.
"It's been an incredible journey and one that will be remembered not only in our and Falmouth's history. All the discoveries made have proven maritime history. Academic theory has come to life. We're all so proud."
Professor Robert Van de Noort from the University of Exeter led the Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project and hasn't been shy in getting hands-on with the build and today paddled the boat with supporting volunteers.
He said: "I'm so happy with the responsiveness of the boat. We always said you had to build the whole boat to understand what Bronze Age people experienced. "When I was steering the boat and it got up to speed, I could turn her easily and it was more seaworthy than I expected. We have learnt so much through the whole process and today's launch has revolutionised everything we knew.
"There have been doubters, professionally, who questioned the feasibility of this vessel crossing the seas. This project has proven that it was possible."
Dr Linda Hurcombe, archaeologist at University of Exeter added: "You think a lot as an academic, you prepare, you do the writing you make a grant application and then you actually achieve a research project and this was the culmination of a very large scale project that has worked out brilliantly.
"To sit inside something that has not been seen in British waters for 4000 years and paddle it, and to see the carving of the wood, the tallow and the yew stitching all working together is a sight to behold."