Ready for the Final Push
Image © Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford.
"Waterproofing Thesiger's tarada." Huwair, Central Marshes, 1958, by WIlfred Thesiger.
This view of three (unidentified) men using bitumen (tar) to waterproof the upturned hull of Thesiger's "sheikh's canoe" harkens back to 6500 years of boat building tradition in the region. Bitumen, applied to reed- and wood- hulls, is often the only archaeological remainder of ancient hulls, the remainder being far more perishable. It is brought downstream from natural seeps at Hit, then mixed with vegetable oils and other ingredients to make the right consistency and stickyness for the job. My sincere thanks to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Lara Ducate for sticking with us, and kicking off our final campaign push!