Before describing the proposed reconstruction of a Ferriby boat it may be helpful first to summarize the evolution of ideas for its design over a period of fifty years since my brother and I proffered our first tentative and as it turned out wholly erroneous essay on the strength of incomplete data in 1939 (Figure 1.23)·
After the discovery of cleats in F2 in 1940 (Figure 1.25) and the presence of transverse timbers through them in 1942 (Figure 1.26) I still saw no reason to depart from the idea of a rounded form although I could not fathom how the transverse timbers might be bent to follow a curved path through cleats on all planks. At that time I was unaware of the existence of the Brigg 'Raft' , the published accounts of which would have pointed to the error and provided the solution (Thropp 1887). The dawn came on the day of C. W. Phillips's momentous visit to our excavations of FI in August 1946 when a complete cleat system was displayed, with its straight, transverse timbers spanning the width of only the three bottom-planks (Figure 2.3). I then realized that the bottom-structure was built flat from side to side and with a marked angle between it and the lowest side-strake. With most of the eastern half by then removed or lost, I fell into the fundamental error of believing that the bottom was flat also from end to end between the planes of the hoodends of the outer bottom-planks, the rise in the surviving end being obtained by shaping
plus some modest bending of the extension of the keel-plank beyond these limits . To conform with our observations of the foreand-aft profile of FI In situ as recorded in Figure 1.23, I made the assumption that the remains must have become warped after abandonment. On the strength of this belief, I recorded from the dismembered fragments the profiles of FI and F2 with the upper face of the outer bottom-planks following a straight line until, in the case of F I, the western end of the keel-plank was shown as beginning to curve upwards west of their ends (Wright and Wright I94T PI. XV) and likewise with a slight rise at the extreme eastern end of the keel-plank. A similar slight rise was shown at the southern end of F2 where by analogy it would have extended beyond the outer bottom-planks (Wright and Wright I94T PI. XVI). When F3 came to be recorded in 1963, I followed the same convention (Wright and Churchill 1965: PI. VII). I have gone into this in some detail, first, because much that has been written and derived from these first detailed records was based on fallacy: and, second, because the methods adopted to demonstrate and correct the situation contain a number of useful lessons .