In 2013 the remains of a boat were discovered by workers digging in a flood bank near Loddon. The “Chet boat” as it is known is the only one of its kind and its discovery has raised a number of questions about is construction and use. It is hoped that the reconstruction of the Chet Boat will help us understand more about boat construction and trade around the Broads almost 900 years ago.
The boat was found on the south side of the river Chet half a mile east of Loddon in a palaeochannel that is not recorded on any of the existing maps that record the area from the 18th century onwards. The boat was lying almost upright and was equal ended with no evidence on the structure for either a steering oar or a rudder.
Archaeologists found in situ one stem and one stern post 3.68 m apart (making a boat of about 6m in length), a keel plank made of two pieces scarfed together, with garboard strakes in place on either side of the keel plank. All of this timber was oak. Two frames survived made up of several pieces of oak branch wood scarfed together and pegged to the boat planks.
A mast step had been nailed to the keel plank alongside the frame, giving clear evidence for the presence of a sail (at least at some point in its history)
Working with the International Boat Building Training College (IBTC) in Lowestoft, Water, Mills and Marshes will bring history alive by building a replica of this incredible find, using traditional methods to accurately recreate the Chet boat.
This means forging the axes needed to hew oak logs into planks and shape stem, stern and frames for construction. Hand forging all the nails to hold the boat together and working out steering gear and a sail plan.
The team from IBTC will be capturing the entire build in photos and film. Check back soon for further updates.