Early Explorations

The boundless expanse of the Ocean, its indomitable misbehaviour and silent obedience, this unique game of differences - all of these, attracted the attention of Man in ancient times. The first tentative excursions onto the Ocean by ancient Man taught him that without a knowledge and understanding of its laws and forces, travelling and working on the sea would be foolish and chaotic. It is difficult enough just to live on its shores, let alone, to float upon it and to extract food from it. The accumulation of knowledge about the Ocean began a very long time ago. For centuries, Man assembled these facts, made observations and acquired skills for navigation.

The First Steps

Different peoples in different parts of the World used different means to construct the first rudimentary floating objects used to carry people and objects. They used various improvised materials that were capable of carrying people and freights inside, and keeping the water outside. They were made from wood, bark, skins of animals, bunches of reeds or rushes and so on. From logs, they progresses to logs joined to make rafts, then canoes, hollowed out from whole tree trunks, and later, frame boat with planks on the outside. These were the first steps into the Ocean by Man, the Navigator. Information from these ancient times is very scarce. In a part of the modern Netherlands, archaeologists found a canoe made from a single tree, which was used 8,000 years ago, and in a part England - an oar, which has been dated as 9,000 years old.

Text and images are from Man and the Ocean, a CD-ROM produced by the Russian Head Department of Navigation and Oceanography (HDNO).