The Craft in Use at the Rivergate of the Dunajec
The Dunajec is a major tributary of the Vistula, Poland’s chief river, and its rivergate or gorge has provided a natural route southwards and eastwards from Cracow. Craft previously unrecognised in reference books evolved to carry goods downstream on the shallow, fast-flowing waters of the winding, rocky channel. From the middle of the thirteenth century rafts were constructed from four or five hollowed-out tree-trunks, as illustrated, joined by hemp bindings flexible enough to confine any damage to a single trunk. In the nineteenth century tourists came to replace other cargoes, and, in the twentieth, plank ‘boxes’ of similar appearance mostly replaced the hollowed logs.