What Kind of Boat Were There in Ancient Times?

Boats have been an essential mode of transportation and a means of exploration for humans since ancient times. From small rafts made of reeds to large wooden ships, boats have come a long way in terms of design and technology. Let’s take a look at some of the boats that were used in ancient times.

Reed Boats

Reed boats were one of the earliest types of boats used by humans. They were made by tying bundles of reeds together to form a floating platform.

These boats were commonly used in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. The reeds provided buoyancy, and the boat was propelled using oars or sails. However, due to their fragile nature, reed boats were not suitable for long voyages or rough waters.


Canoes were another type of ancient boat that was widely used across different regions. Canoes were typically made from hollowed-out tree trunks or bark.

They were common among Native American tribes and other indigenous people worldwide. Canoes were lightweight, easy to maneuver and could be used for fishing, transportation, and even warfare.

Greek Bireme

The Greek bireme was a type of ancient warship that had two rows of oars on each side. It was commonly used by the Greeks in naval battles during the Persian Wars (500-449 BCE).

The bireme had a pointed bow that could be used to ram enemy ships during battle. These ships were fast, agile, and heavily armed with bronze rams at the front.

Viking Longship

The Viking longship was an essential vessel during the Viking age (800-1066 CE). These ships had shallow drafts which allowed them to navigate through rivers and reach faraway lands for exploration or raiding purposes.

The longships had a unique design with a dragon or serpent head at the front, which was believed to scare off evil spirits. These ships were also heavily armed and could carry up to 60 warriors.

Chinese Junk

The Chinese junk was a large wooden ship that had a distinctive curved hull and multiple masts. These ships were commonly used by Chinese traders for long-distance voyages during the Tang and Song dynasties (618-1279 CE).

The curved hull of the junk made it more stable in rough waters, while the multiple masts allowed for better navigation. These ships were also equipped with cannons for defense against pirates.


Boats have been an integral part of human history since ancient times. From reed boats to massive wooden ships, boats have evolved over time to meet different needs and challenges.

Today, modern boats are built using advanced materials and technology, but they still retain some of the design elements from ancient times. Whether it’s for transportation or exploration, boats continue to play an essential role in our lives.