Country Passage Boat

Side view of country passage boat. Photo by Destiny Nunley.
Photo by Mitch Klug.
Photo by Mitch Klug.
Photo by Mitch Klug.
Photo by Mitch Klug.
Photo by Kit Metoyer.

Known for its durability and versatility in various depths of water, the junk ship served the Chinese for centuries. The versatility of the junk results from its unique rounded-hull shape and lack of a keel.  Large junks measuring up to as long at 490 feet were mostly used for longer sea voyages across the world while the smaller junks were used for transporting smaller goods, like food, between cities by way of rivers. Though the vessel originated during the Han Dynasty between 206 BC and 220 AD, the Song Dynasty put their own twist on things to benefit trade between countries. Click to read about these innovations and how the Song Dynasty upgraded the junk. 

Destiny Nunley


Navigating the Shallow Waters: An Asian Trade and Transportation:  The Asian country passage boat illustrates the construction features commonly associated with ferryboats during the time. Navigating the rivers was vital to the transportation of goods and people throughout Asia, and the specific features of such boats were vital to their success. Bow construction that lacked a stempost, a more simplified approach that is less common, as well as the presence of oars aided in easily embarking and debarking from many ports that lacked docks. Additionally, the shallow draft allowed the country passage boat to easily navigate shallow waters such as rivers and areas near ports. While the superstructure of the ship indicates that the majority of cargo on the ship was enclosed during travel, no evidence seems to point one way or another as to indicate whether the boat transported individuals or aided in the trade of Asian goods. Click to read more.

Mitch Klug


Why do we care about how a ship is built? Why do we build ships in a variety of different ways? These are two very important questions that you should ask yourself. Asking questions is an important part of both learning and understanding. In short, we know that how ships are built tell us a lot about the history and function of a ship. Also, we build ships in a multitude of different ways because different ships are for different purposes. For example merchant ships are for trade and war vessels are for combat and for this reason they are built in ways that help them achieve this purpose. A junkboat, like the one we see in this case, has a very specific type of build that helps it carry large amount of cargo for the purposes of trade. We will look at a junkboat in more detail in following posts. Click to learn more.

Kit Metoyer


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