Book Review-‘Early Ships and Seafaring: Water transport beyond Europe’ by S. McGrail

By Robert J.C. Mowat, published December 2020


The British tradition of ‘maritime ethnography’ (as developed by Hornell) has traditionally been the basis for the study of early and ‘primitive’ watercraft, and underlies this study, which is essentially an introductory account by its leading practitioner. This volume should prove valuable to both the general reader and the student of archaeology in general.

Water Transport Beyond Europe takes a diffuse approach to its subject in offering concise regional summaries in an order which progresses eastwards from Egypt in a manner reminiscent of the traditional British imperial progression. In each case, the author balances a geographical summary, an account of the available evidence (both archaeological and ethnographic), and a discussion of the recognized voyages, trade routes, and navigational techniques to form a concise but coherent account. The reviewer’s impressions of successive chapters are inevitably both incomplete and subjective, while the constraints of space allow only the discussion of selected examples…

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Filed under: Popular Topics
Subjects include: Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration

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