Britains oldest timber bridge

The bridge has been dendro-dated to the 11th century AD
clipped from

Medieval timber bridge unearthed in gravel pit: Discovery of 11th-century remains shed light on development of English carpentry. David Keys reports

BRITAIN’S oldest large-scale example of sophisticated medieval wooden architecture has been discovered – buried 12ft deep in a gravel pit in Leicestershire.

Now, after four weeks digging, the substantial remains of a great medieval timber bridge have emerged. Dating work on the timbers – conducted by the University of Nottingham tree ring dating laboratory – show that the bridge was constructed in the late 11th century, at about the time of the Domesday Book.

About 25 per cent of the bridge’s timbers have survived, including Britain’s earliest known large-scale examples of sophisticated carpentry. The structure is 30 to 40 yards long, 10ft wide and was built using at least eight different types of lap and butt joints.

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