Vietnamese dugout canoe thought to be world’s oldest

Dugout canoe from Quang Ninh Province. Source: Viet Nam Net 20150514

Maritime archaeologists reading this post might be in a better position to comment, this dugout canoe found in Vietnam’s Duong River is thought to be the world’s largest and oldest.

Update: A reader pointed out that the Hasholme logboat in Yorkshire is older. So perhaps the Duong River boat is only Southeast Asia’s oldest?

Dugout canoe found in the Duong River. Source: Viet Nam Net 20150514
Dugout canoe found in the Duong River. Source: Viet Nam Net 20150514

The world’s largest ancient wooden boat in Halong
Viet Nam Net, 14 May 2015

A dug-out canoe of the Van Lang culture (over 2,000 years ago) is owned by the former director of the Museum of Quang Ninh Province, Tran Trong Ha. Experts say this is the oldest and biggest intact dug-out canoe in the world.

The Poole Logboat dug-out canoe in England was previously considered the world’s oldest, at more than 2,000 years old, but it is not intact.

The Poole Logboat is about 10m long but the one in Vietnam is 10.8m long, and the widest point of the boat is 1.07m.

This ancient boat was fished out from the Duong River by a fisherman, who used it as a box to contain miscellaneous items.

Ha bought this boat in 2012. “I had planned to buy the ancient boat for the Quang Ninh Museum but the museum officials did not agree to purchase it because the boat was not a product of Quang Ninh. So I took it home,” Ha said.

Full story here.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

2 thoughts on “Vietnamese dugout canoe thought to be world’s oldest”

  1. Hasholme boat in East Yorkshire dated to 350 hc. North Ferriby East Yorkshire 3 Bronze Age boats,

  2. The Pesse canoe from the Netherlands, although smaller, has been dated to 8040 BCE and 7510 BCE. I also believe there was a dugout from Dafuna in Nigeria that was dated to the later stone age. Other early dug-outs are known from Germany (Stralsund), Switzerland (Männedorf-Strandbad), Ireland (Addergoole Bog) and Wales (Parc Glyndwr), with dates ranging between c. 5,000 to 4,000BP.

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