There is some debate about the purpose of The Broighter Boat. Originally thought to be a votive offering uncovered on the English coast, the courts were quick to dismiss this argument in order to take possession of the find and donate them to the Royal Irish Academy. The sculptor of the boat is unknown but it stands out as a prime example of artisans' skill during the La Tène period of Celtic craftsmanship and artistry. The La Tène period defined the Celts as a viable culture. Their civilization was such that it was able to acquire the day-to-day needs of the people giving them time to perfect various forms of metal working and other refined forms of art. The La Tène style spanned approximately 400 years between 500 and 100 BCE. La Tène represents the first pinnacle of achievement or prosperity of Celtic art, illustrating the flourishing and expanding growth of the Celtic empire. Coincidentally, during this period the Celts stopped cremation of the dead and began to bury the bodies of their dead. The resultant increase of burial sites with hoards of personal possessions and household items buried with the dead person in order to facilitate one's enjoyment of the afterlife, has provided a cache of artifacts that contributes to understanding this Celtic civilization. .
La Tène style can be described as "a highly [stylized] curvilinear art based mainly on classical vegetable and foliage motifs such as leafy palmette forms, vines, tendrils and lotus flowers together with spirals, S-scrolls, lyre and trumpet shapes". (Wallace, 2002) The Broighter boat is one of very few pieces of sculpture found from the La Tène period. It is unique in its simplicity and attention details. The boat originally had nine (9) benches for eighteen (18) rowers with oarlocks for each oar. The rudder for the boat also had an oarlock and it also included many tools such as: a grappling iron (or anchor) , a yardarm, a spear, three forked barge poles, and a mast.