The boat site

The boat site
Excavation of 19th-century boat

One of the most spectacular finds from the Olympic Park excavations was a 19th century clinker-built boat, preserved to a length of over 4.5 metres in the silts near the former head of Pudding Mill River.

Its original light and slender construction showed the archaeologists that it had been designed for speed rather than strength, enabling it to perform as a fast rowing boat ideal as a water taxi, or ship’s tender for ferrying crew and goods.

The boat was later converted to be a sailing pleasure craft by the addition of a false keel to increase its stability.

In its final years of use, when it had undergone numerous repairs, with layers of tar inside and out to fix its leaking hull, it had various fittings added in the bow, possibly to accommodate the use of a punt gun, for wildfowling on the sheltered waters of the lower River Lea and the Thames Estuary. Lead bird shot was found stowed in a forward locker.

The boat was finally abandoned in the mid–late 19th century.