Lesson #281: The First Shipyard

Autobiographical note: I know more about shipbuilding than seems reasonable for a girl who gets horrible seasickness. I even have a framed photograph of a very well known gantry crane hanging on my wall.* But I really, really like boats/ships and I have no idea why. 

The first known shipyards were built in Lothal, India around 2400 BCE. The port was on the trade route between the Harappan cities in Sindh on the river Sabarmati and the peninsula of Saurashtra (when the Kutch desert was still part of the Arabian Sea). Oceanographers and archaeologists participating in the 1955-61 excavation of Lothal for the Archaelogical Survey of India noted that the Harappans must have had a superlative understanding of the Sabarmati and the tidal patterns of the because the shipyards, tidal docks made to berth and service ships, were built away from the main current in order to avoid the deposition of silt.

There is not a lot of good historical information on this. This article and the Wiki article are almost identical. Wiki does cite an archaeological survey on the excavation of Lothal quite heavily with page numbers and everything, so I’m inclined to believe that the research was done by the archeological/oceanographic team and then was lifted without citation for the former and with citation for the latter. There is also this article, which discusses Lothal briefly (and without citation).

*I’ll leave it to you to figure out which one and why.

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