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The Iron Age

Logboats & Canoes

Logboat Model, Dumfries Museum

Iron Age

This is a model based on a canoe found on the 5th April 1859 when Castle Loch, Closeburn, was drained. The original canoe is 12' long, 2' wide and 15" deep, made out of a hollowed oak tree but with a loose sternboard, and was found embedded in moss about 3' below the surface, towards the North East end of the loch. It has twisted noticeably (presumably in drying), and the transom and most of the starboard side are missing.  It was donated to the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland in 1860.


The earliest log boats can be dated to the Stone Age period when people lived by hunting and gathering. The boats were used for wildfowling and fishing along river banks and may have been steered and propelled by poles. Most boats were made of oak which splits along its grain easily, the remaining shaping being carried out with polished stone axes and flints. The log boat from Catherinefield is the earliest securely dated log boat in Scotland, it has survived from the early Bronze Age, over 4,000 years ago. The others were probably made over 2,000 years ago when many local people lived in crannogs or lake dwellings.

Place of Discovery:
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
Digital Number:
RCAHMS site record:
Canoe,Closeburn Loch
Adam, J (1868) 'Account of a canoe of oak found in the Castle Loch of Closeburn, Dumfriesshire', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol.6 Page(s): 435, 458 illust

Jardine, W (1867) 'Address of the President', Trans Dumfriesshire Galloway Natur Hist Antiq Soc, 1st, vol.1 Page(s): 7, 34

Mowat, R J C (1996) The logboats of Scotland, with notes on related artefact types, Oxbow Monograph series, no. 68 Oxford Page(s): vii, 19, 20, 110, 119, 133, 135, no. 21 fig. 3, tab. 1 Held at RCAHMS E.5.14.MOW

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