Dugout (boat)

The dugout is a common type of boat with indigenous peoples, but also in more modern societies still in use. The fuselage is made from a single tree trunk. Sometimes, the side walls are reinforced by inserted frames and enhanced by setting up a plank Ganges. Characteristic are also cross- benches, which are not used, but working from the trunk.

Dugout is probably a loan translation of the Latin monoxilus further from Greek μονόξυλον - monoxylon, with the ingredients monos " only " and Xylon "wood, tree".

History of the dugout

The dugout is an ancient form of the boat. Because of the lack of large tree trunks can be assumed that dugouts during the last ice age ( Weichselian or Würm ) in Central Europe were not known and only with the reforestation of the postglacial ( Holocene ) arose. As proved by archeological findings, dominated people already in the Mesolithic period (before 8000-4000 BC) the art of hollowing out a tree and to make him the means of transport. While ethnographic sources ( see images ) show that the tree trunk was hollowed out with the help of smoldering fire, is not it a archaeological evidence in the earlier prehistory. Instead, it can be assumed that stone axes ( the oldest forms are hatchets made ​​of flint ), since Neolithic times especially adzes were used for hollowing. A number of very well-preserved Neolithic dugout canoes were found in pile dwellings of Pfyn Culture and the Horgen culture, for example on Federseemuseum alone 40 As the oldest canoe was long in Holland in a bog at Pesse ( Drenthe ) found more than 6300 years old boat. The oldest preserved with 7000 years, 10 meters long dugout of the Mediterranean was found in 1993 at Lake Bracciano in Lazio, Italy (La Marmotta 1).

Dugouts were, for example, in the Spreewald to the 19th century in use. In the language of past centuries they were often called boat.

Dissemination and Ethnography

Have dugout canoes, also depending on the size of trees in the local forests, a part of sizeable proportions. In Equatorial Africa canoes reach a carrying capacity corresponding to 70 people.

Dugouts are still prevalent in many regions of the world, such as Africa, South America, India and New Guinea. Often they are equipped with outriggers (see outrigger canoe ). Some groups also prepare canoes with sails ( sailing canoes ). Regional forms with a standardized design are for example the Mokoro (Namibia) or consisting of several bound together dugout canoes boat Lagatoi (Papua New Guinea).

Experiments on prehistoric Einbaumnutzung

In the experiments, " Monoxylon I" and " II Monoxylon " occupied Czech archaeologists the suitability of deep-sea canoes, which are modeled on the Neolithic finds. In the first expedition 300 km have been completed between the Aegean islands, in the second about 800 km along the Mediterranean coast.



  • Dugouts of Stralsund, Mecklenburg -Western Pomerania
  • Dumber, Lower Saxony
  • Dugout of Pesse, Netherlands
  • Ziesar, Brandenburg


  • Anguillara Sabazia, Lazio / Italy
  • Bercy on the Seine, France
  • Noyen -sur -Seine ( Dep. Seine- et -Marne ), France
  • Twann on Lake Biel, Switzerland
  • Pfäffikon- reed ( 5135 ± 90 BP = 4220-3710 BC), dugout of oak, probably Cortaillod culture
  • Männedorf lido ( 5490 ± 50 BP = 4450-4240 BC), Dugout Canoe from linden wood
  • Wetzikon - Robenhausen and Huettwilen - Hüttwilersee ( Pfyn Culture )

Iron Age

Roman empire / Migration Period

  • St.Kanzian

Early Middle Ages

  • Langbürgner See ( district of Rosenheim)
  • Novi Sad ( Serbia), dugout of 12m length, 6th - 9th Century ( exhibited in the Museum of the Petrovaradin Fortress )

Late Middle Ages

  • Chiemsee
  • Pfäffikersee
  • Neukirchen ( Altmark), district of Stendal

Unknown time position

  • Field -mile front of the field on Lake Zurich, canoes made of oak wood