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The Boatbuilding Sequence in the Gilgamesh Epic and the Sewn Boat Relation

Ralph Pedersen
Dissertation: May 2003
Chair: vWachsmann
Nautical Archaeology Program

The passage in Tablet XI of the Epic of Gilgamesh relating the construction of a boat to escape the Deluge has long been an enigma. Since the 1870s, scholars have offered various interpretations of the craft, which, without the benefit of knowledge of ancinet ship construction methods, yeilded a confusing narrative. This study presents a new translation of the pertinent passage and interprets it in relation to two millennia of sewn boat technology in the Indian Ocean. This bings clarity to the ancient text and gives nautical archaeology a new key to understanding Mesopotamian watercraft.

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