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Bronze Age Boat

This wooden, prehistoric boat, discovered in September 1992, is thought to be some 3,000 years old.


The boat’s excavation was an internationally important archaeological discovery. After seven years of research and conservation, the Dover Boat came back to Dover and is now proudly on display at the Dover Museum and Bronze Age Boat Gallery.

Dover Museum and Bronze Age Boat Gallery

Dover Museum,
Market Square,
CT16 1PH


On 28 September 1992, Kent construction workers in the midst of building the A20 road link between Folkestone and Dover made an intriguing discovery.

The workers, who were working alongside archaeologists from the Canterbury Archaeological Trust, uncovered the remains of a large and well-preserved prehistoric boat. This was a transformative discovery: the boat is roughly 3,500 years old and archaeologists estimate it would have been in use around 1,500 BC, during the Bronze Age.

The archaeologists were aware that past attempts at excavating similar boats in one piece had been unsuccessful. Consequently, a decision was taken to cut the boat into sections and reassemble it afterwards. It was also necessary to leave an unknown part of the boat underground as its burial site stretched out towards buildings and excavating close to these buildings would have been too dangerous. After nearly a month of excavation 9.5 metres of the boat was successfully recovered and has since been marvellously preserved.

Archaeologists remain unsure of how large the boat originally was. It is possible the boat was originally many metres longer than what is displayed in the Gallery, or it could be almost complete. Either way, the boat holds a unique position as the world’s oldest known sea-faring boat.

Curriculum Links

  • KS1: Local History, Human and Physical Geography
  • KS2: Local History, Britain from Stone Age to Iron Age, Forces
  • KS3: Local History, Britain 1901- Present Day, Forces, Uses of Everyday Materials, Developments in Design and Technology, Materials and Components



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