2,000 years ago, in the late Iron Age, the River Stour was an important trade route.
Downstream, on the north beach of Hengistbury Head, stood a busy port.
Sailing boats arrived from the Roman Empire bringing exotic goods, such as wine and glass. These were traded in exchange for iron, cattle, hides, grain, dogs and even slaves from the Stour Valley and south west.
Dug-out log boats were used to transport these goods along the river.
Iron Age Trading at Barn Bight Hengistbury Head
Bartering and trading goods on the shore of Christchurch Harbour.
Trading Routes Established by The Romans
Shallow draughted oak planked boat with leather sails from France.
Dug Out Log Boats at Hengistbury Head
Dug out log boats were easily launched and would have been used to move goods up and down the River Stour.
Experimental Iron Age Dug-out Log Boat Christchurch Harbour
In 2004 an experimental dug-out log boat was made for a TV programme to show the ease in which goods, people and animals could be transported on the prehistoric inland waterways of the Rivers Stour and Avon.