As always seems to happen when starting a new thing, my best intentions have been waylaid somewhat by life getting in the way, with a lot of time consuming activity in support of renovating the house, my car being written off, and being distracted by sociability. I'm writing this on a semi-senile android tablet in a hotel room on holiday, hence the occasional formatting blip, which I'll try to sort once home, and I've done my best to stay ahead of autocorrect. On to the boats...

Having looked around for some prehistoric examples, I carried on poking about and found some not-too-dissimilar medieval examples.

The earlier division into narrow log boats and broader planked lighters is maintained among the limited number of Viking age finds. Unfortunately most of these are not from the British mainland but given earlier and later examples are useful in demonstrating continuity. A larger number of log-boats and flat-bottomed boats is catalogued in the helpfully-available on article Medieval Boat and Ship Finds of Germany, the Low Countries, and Northeast France: Archaeological Evidence for Shipbuilding Traditions, Shipbuilding Resources, Trade and Communication by Aleydis Van de Moortel. This includes some eight log boats from the eighth to eleventh centuries (she mistakenly identifies the Smallburgh boat as being fifteenth to seventeenth century), and eighteen flat bottomed barges over the same period.

It generally seems to be assumed that punts are of medieval or earlier origin. As a cuboid box, they have the simplest possible construction of any planked boat, and in shallow, sheltered waters can be ideal working boats. They can easily be propelled by a simple pole, drawn by beasts on shore, or towed as lighters; are quick, cheap, and easy to build, and can be dismantled to readily re-usable materials; offer greater cargo capacity than a conventional boat of similar length, beam and draught due to their boxy form; and in wider versions offer considerable initial stability. However, at least on first investigations it is difficult to find out much on the history, origins and employment of the punt.

Following on from my post about punts, I've started looking around for examples of flat-bottomed oblong boats, and log boats. In prehistory there seem to have been quite a few, of all sizes.