Rock Boats - Part II

I shall now show rock art boats from Sweden.

Several notable differences can be observed between these boats and the Egyptian boats. These are all square boats. The strokes represent human beings, not oars. Most of the boats show a hull that rides in the water, not merely an outline as in the Egyptian boats. None of the boats have cabins, nor do they show dancing figures, nor are there spaces between the rowers except for one case. The details are not sufficient but they have fancy prows and sterns, as in the Egyptian boats.

If Winkler is correct, these boats are all row boats, with narrow beams.

The size of the boats varies considerably, but the longest is about 100 feet.

The Scandinavians from this period did not know sickle-shaped boats, on the evidence shown here.

Modern theorists, who do not have first-hand evidence, ascribe these boats and the Egyptian boats to dugouts, reed boats, skin boats, and so on. They do not know the art of a wooden plank and rope boat. The sheer size of the Egyptian boats shows that they were not made of such simple materials or by such simple methods.

The sickle-shape is not so much an indicator of the true shape of the boat as it is a differentiator from the square bottom boats. In many cases the sickle-shape would not be able to navigate water; the prows and sterns are too high. The cabins would be at unrealistic angles on the decks. The dividing line between square boats and sickle-shaped boats is hazy. We might say that one phased into the other. The real difference lay in the method of rowing the boat, and not so much as the way it is depicted. There were simple row boats, and there were broad-beamed boats. But the use of wooden plank and rope to make the boats was the same in both cases.

Winkler spoke about the primitivity of the rock art. This primitivity was on display in the Tomb 100 art. The Tomb 100 art was able to be more expressive because it was in a different medium. The artist used color and line forms that were not available in rock art. This art form is from about 3,500 to 4,000 BC.

Similar primitivity was on display on the pottery boats. The human figures and the details show this level of sophistication, before a real pharaonic style set in. The pottery boats place us about 3,500 to 4,000 BC.

Some primitivity was also on display in the Gebel al-Arak knife, modified toward a higher artistic style. But the style dates us to nearly the same period as the rock art.

We do not find artistic forms on earlier Badarian pottery, to about 4,500 BC. Although the Badarians show a great refinement in pottery making, artistic styles had not yet developed. See


But this does not necessarily mean the Badarians did not employ rock art when they migrated into the Nile valley. Or the rock art may be due to successive waves of later immigrants.

We do not display boats as rock art unless we live in an environment where boats are plentiful, and where water is plentiful. We can easily understand this from the Scandinavian boats. But we cannot understand this from the Egyptian boats. Why would so many boats be on display in what today is the Eastern Desert?

Although the Eastern Desert about 4,000 BC may have been much wetter than now, the topography certainly did not experience major geological upheavals. Even if there were abundant rainfall, and large streams flowing out of the wadis toward the Nile, these would not have been so great as to destroy the topography. Therefore, we must conclude that the wadis would not have supported the size or numbers of boats we find in the rock art.

Nor would we expect people living in the Nile valley to travel several days journey from their homes merely to place the rock art. If they felt such artistic impulse they would have created rock art in their home locales. Indeed, other Winkler sites, and those reported by Cervicek, show just such behavior. There is abundant evidence. Cervicek noted different horizons, meaning different time periods when the rock art displayed different items. In the first horizon there are no boats, nor human figures. Spirals, handprints, concentric circles and curved lines are shown. In the second horizon boats begin to appear. Then we also have human figures, animals, sandal prints, palettes, and symbols. In horizon C we then find cattle and metal objects, showing the development of a higher level of life. In the D horizon we find chariots in addition to ships and metal objects. These continue to the E and F horizons, with offering tables, horned altars, camel riders, long lances, (depictive of armies), and sexual motifs.

This leads to one conclusion. The people who provided the rock art in the Eastern Desert were transient. They were passing through. They were recording memory of their travels. The boats they depict were left behind on the shores of the Red Sea.