ARCHAEOLOGISTS have found an 8,000-year-old platform buried in the seabed off the Isle of Wight — and believe it could be one of the oldest boat-building sites ever discovered.

The major discovery was unearthed off the coast at Bouldnor, near Yarmouth.

Director of the Maritime Archaeological Trust, Garry Momber, said “This new discovery is particularly important as the wooden platform is part of a site that doubles the amount of worked wood found in the UK from a period that lasted 5,500 years.

"This discovery is key to understanding human dispersal and colonisation following the ice age, and the platform seems to display a high level of technical ability.

"This site is rewriting the history books."

The discovery of the platform reveals a high level of technical competence, as well as evidence early Islanders may have been trading in wheat 2,000 years earlier than was thought.

The site was first discovered in 1987 but, due to the extreme cost and effort involved with excavating a lost settlement underwater, teams have been unable to properly research the site until they unearthed the ancient platform.

Researchers from the trust, based in Southampton, hope the discovery will bring a boom in public support towards researching the site — that was built before the Solent rose to submerge it.

Garry said: "The amount we have found at Bouldnor is likely nothing compared with the amount we have lost.

"This is the most significant site of its kind in the country and its eroding away with the current. If we don't act fast a fundamental part of our history could be gone within a few years.

"Yet, being underwater, there are no regulations that can protect it. Therefore, it is down to our charity, with the help of our donors, to save it before it is lost forever.

"This is important for our ancestral links, both on the Island and on the continent, and we are looking to preserve the site and have parts of it displayed at at the Shipwreck Centre at Arreton Barns."

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