Boats of the World: From the Stone Age to Medieval Times by Seán McGrail

By Seán McGrail

This can be the 1st e-book to deal comprehensively with the archaeology of rafts, boats, and ships from the Stone Age to Medieval instances. the entire areas of the realm are lined, from Atlantic Europe and the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean, the China Sea, and the Pacific.

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22 EGYPT bind bundles of reeds tightly in themselves and to other bundles, using coiled basketry (McGrail, 1998: 165-9). The tighter the bundles, the more rigid the resultant raft, and the longer it will stay afloat without waterlogging. The sequence of building a reed raft can be seen in several tomb paintings, for example, in the fifthdynasty tomb of Ptahhotep in Saqqara (Fig. 7); in the fifth-dynasty illustration in the Mastaba of Achethetep (Wachsmann, 1998: fig. 2000 EC, published by Bass (1972: plate 23).

3OOO BC a range of tools was available i Egypt: axes, adzes, chisels, pulling saws, mallets, wedges, bradawls, bowdrills, and sandstone rubbers; furthermore, examples are known of honing stones with oil flasks, squares, levels, and plumb-rules (James, 1983: 228-30; Landstrom, 1970: 23; Jones, 1995: 72-3). From these early dynastic times timbers could be joined by lashing with leather thongs, dovetailed cramps, mortise and tenon joints, and wooden dowels (James, 1983: 230; Johnstone, 1988: 74; Hornell, 1946^ 220).

I. 4) mentions two types of non-plank boat which he saw in use on the River Nile: pottery boats used as ferries in the Delta; and a pacton. Pots, linked together by a light timber framework to form a raft, have been used in the Mediterranean and in China, Korea, India, and Egypt in recent times (Hornell, 19464: 34-7; McGrail, 1998: 188), and large pots were also used individually as boats in Bengal in the present century (Hornell, i946a: fig. 9). Strabo (17. i. 50) crossed to the island of Philae, in EGYPT the Nile above Aswan, on a pacton 'constructed of withes, so that it resembles woven work'.

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