River Boyne boat dated to the Neolithic period

The 5,000-year-old logboat was found by fishermen on the River Boyne
The 5,000-year-old logboat was found by fishermen on the River Boyne

Scientific dating has confirmed that the remains of a logboat found in the River Boyne close to the Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site dates to the Neolithic period, over 5,000 years ago.

The prehistoric logboat was found in June 2016 by four local anglers while fishing on the river at Oldbridge, County Meath.

Stephen Murphy, Kieran Mahar, William Gregory and David Johnston immediately reported it to the heritage authorities.

The remains of the vessel consist of a 3m length of wood which would have formed the base of the boat. It is estimated that the logboat was originally more than 4m long, shaped out of the trunk of an oak tree using stone axes.

The discovery is one of 11 logboats found in the River Boyne, though this is the first boat found to date to the Neolithic period.

A sample of the wood has recently been radiocarbon dated to between 3,300-2,900BC – the period of the construction of the great passage tomb complexes of Knowth, Dowth and Newgrange.

The logboat is currently undergoing conservation work by the National Monuments Service Underwater Archaeology Unit and the National Museum of Ireland.