Boat model (59-44-70/3891)

View of boat model, PM 59-44-70/3891. Photo by Nick Sertl.
View of boat model, PM 59-44-70/3891. Photo by Nick Bunn.
View of boat model. Photo by Nick Bunn.
Detail view of boat model. Photo by Nick Sertl.

Model 59-44-70/3891, boat model. There is such a plainness, a confusion within the series of archival numbers used to categorically sort this particular boat model amongst many others found within the Peabody Museum archives at Harvard University. However, despite this empirical uncertainty, there is an inherently familiar quality upon seeing the model for the first time. Upon seeing the carved canoe hull bound to its stabilizing “ama” by rope, one is virtually transported to Hawaii as I was, witnessing a visualization detailed in post cards and movies, that of a modern outrigger. It was this transportation, this spontaneous familiarly with the model that captivated my interest, while its antiquity continually progresses a growing thirst for information. This model is unlike the modern outrigger we recognize, possessing characteristics of a variety of boat models rather than fulfilling one boat’s specific criteria. This uniqueness has probed me to wonder, what secrets hide behind the plain archival numbers of Model 59-44-70/3891. Click to read more.

Nick Bunn


This ship was a Hawaiian single hull outrigger canoe. It was a relatively small boat, only 20 – 30 feet long. The ship was not of the same type used for the great voyages that settled Polynesia. It was quite narrow and had no accommodations for overnight voyages. The ship was likely used for deep sea fishing and for short trips throughout the Hawaiian archipelago. It is built out of a dugout tree on the bottom and planking on top. Dating the ship is difficult, all we know for certain is that it was built after Hawaii was settled around 500 A.D. and before 1881, when this model was collected in Honolulu. Click to read more.

Nick Sertl


Content of this page provided by students of Anthro 1218: Shipwrecks and Seafarers, Piracy and Plundering: An Introduction to Maritime Archaeology.