Calendar of Events

Workshop: Bronze & Iron Age: Dugout Canoe

Kind of Event
Organised by
United Kingdom

Dugout canoes are one of those enigmatic objects from the past that really encapsulates a place and time. For us here in Somerset, traversing the waterways and reed swamp across the Levels during the Iron Age is defined by these craft. 

This completely bespoke project will take you back to the latter part of prehsitory and introduce you to the tools and techniques used in green woodworking and construction with an aim of creating several almost unique artefacts in the 21st century; dugout canoes. The aim of this project will be to build two log boats, with or without outriggers and the paddles needed to use them. We'll be exploring the types of wood used by our ancestors for this type of vessel, how to hollow them out successfully and efficintly plus experimenting with transom boards, outriggers and possibly even simple sails. 

We will take you through how to fell trees with bronze and steel axes, the merits of using different timbers for different jobs, methods of shaping wood with axes, adzes and chisels and how to cut out basic joints with prehistoric tools. We'll also show you the different ways of hafting and how to repair/remake your tools to make sure they stay effective.

This will be an immersive prehistoric experience, giving you a once in a lifetime chance to be part of a later prehistoric carpentry team.

The project will take place in Somerset, supervised by our experienced tutors, with extensive backgrounds in experimental archaeology and ancient woodworking. It will be led by Archaeological Craftsman Marc Cox and Tim Gent; archaeologist and one of the Britain's leading canoe experts. 

All meals, around the fire, will be brought and shared potluck style by those attending. 

The project will run over a series of Saturdays &/or Sundays in May 2024.

Day One: Marking out the logs, introduction to the tools, beginning the hollowing
Day Two: Hollowing the logs and making paddles
Day Three: Finishing the canoes
Day Four: Final touches & Launch

All tools and materials provided. Absolutely no experience necessary.

The price per day works out at £40-£60. For those unable to commit for the full four days, please email us ( and we can work out something to suit your needs.