Cover image for Boats of the world : from the Stone Age to Medieval times
Boats of the world : from the Stone Age to Medieval times
McGrail, Sean.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2001.
Physical Description:
xiii, 480 pages : illustrations, maps ; 29 cm
Sources and themes -- Egypt -- Arabia -- The Mediterranean -- Atlantic Europe -- India -- Greater Australia -- South-east Asia -- Oceania -- China -- The Americas -- Early water transport.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
VM16 .M25 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



'For those who wish to explore further, this book will enable them; for the general reader it stands alone as a beacon for its subject.' -Maritime Life and Traditions'As a general introduction to early watercraft the book is a pioneer effort, and it has much information to offer. McGrail has assembled a hugh amount of material which is handled in a clear and systematic way.' -International Journal of Nautical Archaeology'The book is a valuable reference work, and a good introduction to the subject.' -International Journal of Nautical Archaeology'The great value of this book lies in the consistent and high-quality descriptions of the rafts, boats and ships themselves, and for those who have an interest in any aspects of prehistoric or early historic water transport, Boats of the World provides an excellent source of information.' -Robert Van De Noort'Boats of the World is a true tour de force by Professor Sean McGrail, a world authority in the field of maritime archaeology.' -Robert Van De Noort, Antiquaries Journal'Seán McGrail is Britain's leading authority on maritime archaeology... Here he provides a substantial base for the integration of the maritime subdivision of archaeology into its proper place as part of the mainstream of the discipline.' -Basil Greenhill, Times Literary Supplement'This is a joyous source book for anyone who appreciates academic clarity.' -Colin Mudie, Journal of Navigation'A large work of distinguished scholarship by a senior maritime archaeologist.' -Colin Mudie, Journal of Navigation'Classic and magnificent work.' -Colin Mudie, Journal of Navigation'In short, Professor McGrail offers us an extraordinary encyclopaedia of nautical archaeology based on extensive documentation.' -Eric Rieth, Neputnia'A superb, long-awaited book, of unique methodological richness, incorporating the latest research, taking account of all the 'nautical civilisations' of Egypt, Arabia, the Mediterranean, Atlantic Europe, Australia, Southeast Asia, Oceania, China, America.' -Eric Rieth, NeptuniaThis is the first comprehensive study of the archaeology of rafts, boats, and ships from the Stone Age to Medieval times. All the regions of the world are covered, from Atlantic Europe and the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean, the China Sea, and the Pacific.

Author Notes

Sean McGrail was in the Royal Navy from 1946 to 1968 and is a Master Mariner. He is also currently visiting Professor in the Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton, carries out fieldwork in South Asia for the Society for South Asian Studies (British Academy), and was formerly Professor of Maritime Archaeology, University of Oxford.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This is a remarkable tour de force on watercraft through history. Assembled by a recognized expert in boat and ship archaeology, the book is filled with detail, arranged chronologically within geographic areas. The regions studied include Arabia, India, Oceania, and Asia in addition to better-known areas. The time frame varies, but McGrail (Univ. of Southampton) presents the earliest information available for a region and continues until good descriptive material becomes available. The vessels in many cases are probably mundane, everyday workboats that do not appear in written materials except by name. Consequently, archaeological examples are presented. There is a very good discussion of archaeological sources and how they are interpreted. The text reads well, is well illustrated, and has good references for initiating additional research. Every maritime historian must have a copy of this book for both immediate reference and research. This text can serve as the ideal baseline for maritime history and ship construction courses. Given the illustrations and depth of coverage, this book would be cheap at twice the price. L. E. Babits East Carolina University

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Lists of Tables
Conventions used in the text
1 Sources and Themes
2 Egypt
3 Arabia
4 The Mediterranean
5 Atlantic Europe
6 India, (sample section)
6.1 The Neolithic and Bronze Ages
6.1 The Iron Age
6.1 Graeco-Roman trade with India
6.1 Seafaring in the Bay of Bengal (first-eight centuries AD)
6.1 Medieval European contacts with India
6.1 Planked boats and ships up to the twentieth century
6.1 Medieval and later navigational techniques
7 Greater Australia
8 South-East Asia
9 Oceania
10 China
11 The Americas
12 Early Water Transport