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Ships from ancient times

Access the latest thinking on the first water craft. See how craft evolved, through the use of trees, reeds, and hides to the ships of the middle ages that could sail around the world
The earliest craft

What was the earliest watercraft? Was it a dug out canoe? Perhaps it was the hide of an animal stretched over a frame of wood or even bones? Or could it have been a raft made from reeds?
Towards the ship as we know it

Going beyond the simplest craft, ancient boat builders had some knotty problems to face; shaping timbers and joining them together strongly enough to resist the force of the waves. Look at some of the ways they did this to create the earliest ships.
The beginnings of world trade

Although ships of the Middle Ages from northern and southern Europe were built and rigged very differently, they both significantly extended trade and exploration. Find out about their features and what they achieved here.
The medieval superships

A merging of northern and southern European shipbuilding traditions in the 15th century produced bigger and more effectively rigged ships. Explore how the medieval shipbuilders evolved ships that, without exaggeration, changed the world.

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