The Thaikkal-Kadakkarappally Boat: an Archaeological Example of Medieval Shipbuilding in the Western Indian Ocean

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Abstract

Recent excavations at Kadakkarappally in Kerala, south-west India, have unearthed the remains of an iron-fastened boat, believed to predate the earliest known records for the use of iron in South Asian boatbuilding. The design departs significantly from the traditional view of Indian watercraft, although the use of locally available timber and the suitability of the design for use in the backwaters that characterise the region suggest that it was built and used in India. This is the first excavation of its type to take place in Kerala and contradicts the belief, widely held in Kerala, that the survival of organic remains has been negated by the tropical climate of the region.

© 2004 The Nautical Archaeology Society

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