Home Logboat




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Physical Description

This is a Saxon period oak boat, carved from a single trunk. The external form is rounded and both ends gently tapered, but only one end remains intact.

To help us learn more about the original log boat, archaeologists made an exact copy, which is now displayed in the museum. They found that it could carry up to three adults at a time. This suggests that it may have been used as a small ferry on the River Lea.

In Saxon times the river was a mile wide in some places. Farmers used boats like this to carry salt, meat and vegetables from local farms to market. In Saxon times there was a busy market at Queenhithe, on the banks of the Thames. The journey from Hackney could have been made by rowing, or by punting up the River Lea with the tide.

The first real residents of Hackney were Saxons from Germany, who started arriving 1500 years ago. Before that, Hackney did not exist: it was simply part of a massive forest. The Romans passed through this area nearly 2000 years ago. Ermine Street, a major Roman road north, ran through Hackney, but there is no evidence that they actually settled here.

After the Romans left Britain, Saxons invaded the East Coast, looking for land. They cleared spaces in the forest surrounding the old Roman city of Londinium, and established small farms. Hackney was a particularly good site as it had rich, fertile soil, forests for fuel, meadows for pasture and marshes for fishing and hunting. A number of settlements sprang up, which can still be identified in Hackney today. In the late 500s, Roman Londinium was resettled as a Saxon town, called ‘Ludenberg’. It quickly became an important centre of trade for the farmers of Hackney.

Associated Place

Upper Clapton (Place)




depth: 3540mm
height: 400 mm
width: 600mm

Credit line

Images © Museum of London

On display?