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Experimental Archaeology Projects at Kierikki, Finland

Thursday, 5 June, 2014 to Tuesday, 10 June, 2014
Dr Linda Hurcombe
Number of Participants / Visitors / Audience: 

Prior to the start of the Dialogue with Science conference at Kierikki, a research team consisting of Dr. Linda Hurcombe, Dr. Penny Cunningham, PhD researcher Theresa Kamper, Shipwright Brian Cumby and Shipwrights Assistant Tom Monrad-Hansen from the University of Exeter arrived in Kierikki to undertake experimental projects and revisit some begun the previous summer.

Brian and Tom focused on the finishing the exterior and interior shaping of the log boat which was roughed out during Exeter’s July 2013 visit. They reduced the amount of wood in the stern which in turn reduced the weight making the boat sit level in the water. Both the stern and bow were shaped to improve the way the boat handled and to be more aesthetically pleasing. The interior was widened and a smoother finish was achieved by burning the interior briefly with rolls of birch bark.

While the work on the boat was underway Linda, Penny and Theresa continued on with experiments using fire to shape wood items. Tools of bone, antler, stone and shell were all used in the shaping process with the intent of adding these tools to the Universities departmental use wear reference collection. The wood items being worked included a well aged log which was cut to become a log boat many years ago, as well as fresher dried birch wood which was used to make burn bowls. Smaller additional experiments were conducted while waiting for the wood to char sufficiently between bouts of tool use and included, willow bark processing, above ground storage concepts, and local raw material preparation.

Both the boat and the small section of fish weir which were constructed in July 2013 were photographed and documented before any further work was undertaken in an effort to record an object biography for items which are likely to be in use for many years. This initial recording is the foundation for looking at changes to these items such as deterioration, modification and repairs which they will undergo through their life span. After this year’s efforts Brian and the rest of the team were excited to test out the finished boat and were pleased to see it now sits level in the water and manoeuvres very well!


Tom and Brian working on the logboat
Tom working on the logboat
Theresa testing the logboat