An 8,000-year-old ‘platform-like’ structure – situated next to what is thought to be one of the world’s oldest boat building sites ever discovered – has been found underwater off the Isle of Wight.
The find, made by Southampton-based The Maritime Archaeological Trust, has been described as of “significant international importance.”
A forest of timber boards was first discovered in the Solent off Bouldner Cliff in Yarmouth back in 2005.
Since then, experts have been working to excavate the site, which is 11m below sea level.
They have now uncovered a platform consisting of split timbers, several layers thick, resting on horizontally laid round-wood foundations.
Director of the Maritime Archaeological Trust, Garry Momber, told Isle of Wight Radio:
“This new discovery is particularly important as the wooden platform is part of a site that doubles the amount of worked wood found in the UK from a period that lasted 5,500 years.”
It is believed the new find is the most intact, wooden Middle Stone Age structure ever found in the UK.
“There is nothing else like it from this period. This is an important site for us to be able to understand the people that came to this country just before we were separated from Europe.
“This site looks like it is 2,000 years in advance of any other site we’ve found in the UK – it’s very sophisticated.”
Gary says that due to the site being underwater, there are no regulations to protect it. It means that the charity has to do so itself.
The timber from the site is being stored and prepared for display in the National Oceanography Centre’s in Southampton.