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New book - The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of Northern Eurasia

Jan 18, 2015
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Chesapeake Bay
Coming out this month from Smithsonian Press.

The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of Northern Eurasia

By Harri Luukkanen and William W. Fitzhugh

The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of Northern Eurasia is a history and description of bark and skin boat traditions of the native peoples of Scandinavia, Russia, and the Far East. The history of northern peoples and cultures is inextricably linked to the technology of water transport. This is particularly true in northern Eurasia, where lakes and rivers can connect when overland summer travel is restricted by thick forests or bogs. For thousands of years, native peoples used a variety of bark and skin boats for fishing, hunting, trading, making war, and migrating.

The Eurasian peoples, responding to their geography, climate, and environment, learned to construct—and perfect—small watercraft made from dug-out logs or the bark of birch, aspen, larch, and other trees, each variety crafted for its special use and environment. The text describes the design, construction, and uses of skin and bark boats for thirty-five traditional cultures ranging from northern Scandinavia to the Russian Far East, from the Bering Strait to northern China, and from South Siberia to the Arctic Ocean. Regional chapters use evidence from archaeology, historical illustrations and maps, and extensive documentation from ethnography and historical literature to reveal how differences in cultural traditions, historical relationships, climate, and geography have influenced the development and spread of watercraft before the introduction of modern planked boats. In some regions, these traditional boats are still in use.

This definitive volume is richly illustrated with historical photographs and drawings, first-person explorer accounts from the 16th-19th centuries, and information on traditional bark and skin preparation, wood-bending, and other construction techniques. The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of Northern Eurasia presents a first-ever overview of northern Eurasian boating traditions, a companion to Charles Adney's and Howard Chapelle's classic, The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America (1964).

About the authors:
HARRI LUUKKANEN is a research economist and expert of techno-economic studies, and a life-long paddler. He has published two novels and written or edited a dozen nonfiction books, including some on canoes and their history. Luukkanen lives with his wife and twin sons in Helsinki, Finland. WILLIAM W. FITZHUGH, also a northern boating expert, is the director of the Arctic Studies Center and curator in the Department of Anthropology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

About the book:
Title: The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of Northern Eurasia Author: Harri Luukkanen and William W. Fitzhugh On-Sale Date: 9/15/20
Price: $50.00 / Pages: 288
ISBN: 978-1-58834-475-5
Smithsonian Books
Jul 9, 2019
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Saskatoon, SK
I've been wanting book but it seems to have been on a preorder for a very long time now (definitely over a year). Thanks for the reminder on this!