35 wrecked zulus found at Findhorn

Findhorn Zulus

Some 35 wrecked 30-50ft zulus have been identified along the Culbin edge of Findhorn Bay and are being investigated as part of an archaelogical project.

The zulus were a short-lived but often mighty type of fishing boat with a near vertical stem and a sharply raked stern that fell out of use when engines came in as their sterns were not easily adapted to being powered.

This is a fascinating piece of news from the Scotland’s Coastal Heritage At Risk Project website is fascinating for anyone who, like me, has wondered where the zulus went when their careers ended, as there are very few still in existence. for earlier Intheboatshed.net posts about zulus, click here.

The SCHARP folks suspect the area was used for mooring the fleet, as they have found a postcard showing a large number of the boats moored and afloat in the area where the wrecks were found.

I gather that there was a similar project at Loch Fleet last year.

PS – My friend Iain Anderson, whose grandfather sailed with the zulu fleet has given me a link to this remarkable and interesting web page about the loss of the zulu Evangeline in 1905. The survival of young Saucy is remarkable, and the irony of the argument about melodeon playing will stay with me.

But then there’s this from a newspaper cutting:

”The sea has some mercy, but the land has none,” said one of the seafaring witnesses.

‘A number of fishing boats from Buckie, Portnockie and Cullen were caught were caught at their nets twenty or thirty miles off Wick by the gale. Adopting the recognised method in such cases these boats rode at their nets, drifting along as a whole towards the Orkney Islands. Had the gale lasted one or two days – the usual period – instead of being prolonged into four days, the consequences must have been greatly mitigated, if, indeed, worth of mention. But the terrible trial in almost every case proved too much for the gear, which gave out, and the boats having parted from their floating anchors, were forced to depend on their sea-going qualities for the safety of those on board. That so many of the zulu boats that encountered the full fury of the blast should have lived through it to tell the tale is a high testimony to the high reputation the zulu style of build has always enjoyed among fishermen as seaworthy craft, backed up as it must have been by the renowned skill and endurance of our fishermen… It may be the case that had she [Evangeline] had sea room her crew would to-day have been in the land of the living… Certain it is that it was through no lack of seamanship or sea-faring knowledge that the boat was lost…’

Nine well preserved Iron Age and Bronze Age log boats turn up in lost Nene tributary

Logboats at Must Farm

Blimey – Cambridge archaeologists have turned up nine (or is it eight?) prehistoric log boats in an archaeological dig at Must Farm near Peterborough. Read all about it here and  here.

Dover Bronze Age stitched-boat boat replica project



Wood-carving weblogger Robin Wood and colleagues led by archaelologist and ancient timber expert Richard Darrah are constructing a half-scale replica of a Bronze Age stitched-plank boat discovered during the building of an underpass at Dover in 1992.

The first three photos above are of the replica in build; the last one is of the original at the museum. Dating back to 1575-1520BC, it’s one the oldest surviving sea-going vessel in the world, which is quite a thought.

Reading Robin’s weblog posts about the project, one aspect I found particularly striking is the sheer weight of the timbers, despite the fact that this is a reduced-size replica. Before carving and shaping, some of them weighed as much as half a ton.

Another interesting point is the evident pleasure  Robin takes from making and using replica bronze-age tools made on site – tools that have proven to be surprisingly effective.

And, finally, I’d just like to point out that while this boat may be ancient, with its lovely carved, steamed and stitched form it’s a highly sophisticated piece of work. Far more elaborate than a dugout, it’s clearly a relatively late object in the history of boat building – and that too is quite a thought.