An early Iron Age boat

Teaching ideas

For the activity and two enquiries below, you can make use of the excellent zoomable images on the Discoveries section of the Must Farm website.

Using the photos of the boats on the Must Farm website, ask students to think about how they were made. Which is the longest boat? Which is the earliest? Which is the latest? Did they change over time?

A changing landscape: show students how to look at the selection of discoveries using the two drop-down menus for period and environment. The earliest environment is dry and gets increasingly wet over time. How do the types of discovery change over time? Contrast the materials found in the different periods. What survives in the wet that didn’t in the dry? What kind of activity was happening in the dry environment that isn’t present in the wet?

What else did people do at Must Farm? Apart from making and using logboats, what else did people do in the Bronze and Iron Ages at Must Farm? What objects are preserved that tell us about people’s lives? This site is very well-preserved. What do we know about this site that we don’t know about other Bronze Age sites?

Watch the video with the director of the excavation at Must Farm, Kerry Murrell, and ask students to make a list of the other exciting discoveries made here as well as the boats. What were used for fishing? What was the spear still attached to? What was found underneath one Iron age sword?

Ask students to think about different forms of transport available in the Bronze and Iron Ages. As well as boats, people had domesticated horses and wheeled vehicles. The earliest wheel in Britain dates to 1300 BC and was found at Flag Fen. They could also walk. What were the advantages and disadvantages of each form of transport? What special equipment would be needed for each? Contrast the effort of making a boat to go on a natural waterway with that of making a cart and then having to build a track for the cart to travel on.

Why do we need transport? Think about different forms of transport around today. What do we use each form of transport for? What reason might people have had for travelling? Would they need to commute? Would they have had holidays? What would they have been doing on boats?

Use the images and models of boats in A bigger picture to explore the different kinds of boats in use in different periods. Are there any clues to how they were built? How was each of the boats propelled? How are they different from the logboats found at Must Farm? Where are the boats from? Can students tell which would have been river boats and which would have been seaworthy boats? Why were images and models of boats made?

The Must Farm boat offers an opportunity to do a range of activities related to floating and sinking. Students could experiment with different materials considering which of these materials would have been available in the Bronze Age. Challenge the students to build vessels that float out of materials that sink.

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An early Iron Age boat