CA 392 Letters – October

Dedication for the Dover Boat

This year is the 30th anniversary of the discovery and rescue of the Dover Bronze Age boat (see ‘Context’, CA 391). I am sending a poem I wrote, of which a shorter draft was published by Arrival Press in their anthology Poets Around Britain (edited by Suzy Goodall) in 1995.

I have always had an interest in archaeology. I completed a Certificate in Archaeology with Leicester University after settling in the UK from Australia in 1992, and a BA degree from the Open University in Creative Writing. I am hopeful that the 30th anniversary will be marked, at least within Kent, with some special exhibitions and magazine articles to raise awareness of our rich archaeological heritage.

PHOTO: Edwina Gray

Edwina Gray
Margate, Kent

I Was There

Clutching at the wire
Peering into the time tunnel
In the chasm beneath the Tarmac.
A mummified boat –
Preserved in the black ooze
Of the estuarine mud.

‘Careful there!
Don’t dig too deep:
Don’t let it be destroyed.’

Three thousand years ago
The boat foundered;
Jettisoned its cargo of bronze
And limped into the shelter
Of the harbour –
Settling into oblivion.

‘Careful there!
Lift and lower it gently.
Don’t let it be broken.’

Thick planks hewn by men:
Fitting together, held
By pegs and saddles.
Twine, binding pieces
Through millennia,
Holding past to present.

‘Careful there!
Wash it clean, keep it wet.
Don’t let it crumble.’

Removed from its urban grave,
Freed of its shroud of slime
Pieced together, pumped full
Of new life – kept for all to ponder.
A resurrection!
A Bronze Age Boat.

Edwina M Gray

Priorities in order

My ten-year-old daughter Tamsin is a keen historian and a huge fan of Current Archaeology. She reads each edition over and over (you will note the cover in this photo is worse for wear) even where she shouldn’t, like now when she was sent upstairs for a different job! 

Sarah Maguire


Current Archaeology Live! is back in person! The 2023 conference will be held on 25 February in partnership with the UCL Institute of Archaeology, and this one-day event will take place at the UCL Institute of Education, a stone’s throw from our previous venue, Senate House. We are really looking forward to seeing you all again to hear from the foremost archaeological experts on the latest finds and groundbreaking research – and, of course, to find out the results of our Current Archaeology Awards. Details about tickets, programme, and award nominations to follow.

Edible archaeology

Often a favourite topic for archaeological cakes it seems – my granddaughter Annie made this for her 13th birthday, having visited Stonehenge and walked among the stones earlier this year.
It was very tasty, despite the grey icing.

Barbara Cast
Bleasby, Nottinghamshire

CA Online

Dr Joe Flatman @joeflatman
…finally, there’s this thing of nightmares from CA 51. A Roman well at #WetwangSlack, they dug it out down nearly 100ft, the last 13ft using – one can only assume suicidal – divers. Dear readers, a gentle reminder: NEVER, EVER DO THIS, IT’S INSANELY DANGEROUS

Dan Herbert @DanHerb10
Blimey. That looks like something out of Stranger Things.

Hàìghlèàgh Winslade @hiegleah
Ten years ago in October 2012 I had a letter published in @CurrentArchaeo Issue 271 about the DWP’s view that volunteering in museums is not a valid route to employment.

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