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First published in 1987, this text has been revised for a student and non-specialist readership. It provides an authoritative and comprehensive survey of water transport across Northern Europe from the Late Palaeolithic to the later Middle Ages using a variety of primary sources and excavations. The book starts with general chapters on types of transport, aspects of naval architectural theory and on the materials of boat construction, then considers the methods of building boats in early North-West Europe and ends with detailed discussion of how these boats were used and navigated. This revised edition now contains a 4000-word postscript commenting briefly on maritime archaeology since 1987.
Sean McGrail served in the Royal navy from 1945 to 1968, the last sixteen years as a pilot in the fleet Air Arm, and qualified as a Master Marina. After reading for a BA at the University of Bristol, he became Assistant Keeper at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, and subsequently Chief Archaelogist and head of the museum's archaeological research centre. He moved to the University of Oxford as Professor of Maritime Archaeoogy in 1986 and since 1993 he has been Visiting Professor for the Centre for Maritime Archaeology, University of Southampton.