Although it is common knowledge that rowboat was used as far back as 3000 B.C.E. in Egypt as a means of traveling and trading along the Nile river, evidence has been uncovered recently to suggest that they were in existence much earlier. The Invention of Rowboat
The Invention of Rowboat
In a grave uncovered in the Mesopotamian city of Eridu, archeologists found a clay model of a boat, and the grave is thought to have been dug before 4000 B.C.E. Mesopotamia — widely cited as the cradle of civilization — was the name given in the Hellenistic period to a broad geographical area that looks in what we know as Iraq and a part of western Iran.
The model they found was of a wide boat with a shallow bottom, rather like a barge, which was designed to float on the shallow rivers of Mesopotamia.
Both the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers were part of the region and, flowing from the north of the area to the south, they quickly became an integral part of the transport system set up by the emerging non- nomadic civilizations.
Since wood was in scarce supply, most of the boats in Mesopotamia were fashioned from the hollow and buoyant reeds that grew abundantly in the marshes at the mouths of the two rivers.
The reeds were molded into a boat shape and held tightly in place with ropes. bitumen was used to cover the reeds, calk the boat and make it watertight.
Floating downstream on the current was simple enough, but going up stream was problematic. it was common practice to use animals walking along side the water to drag the boat back but, as was discovered, often it was easier and quicker to row.