Quffa/coracle in Palestine?
- The Mesopotamian 'Quffa' (a coracle constructed from interwoven
reeds/palm fronds and covered externally with hides and/or asphalt)
was in use on the Euphrates from at least Assyrian times until recent
decades. They were cheaply and quickly made in an environment where
wood for planked boats was scarce. Does anyone know of any
ethnographic/documentary/pictorial/folk-memory evidence for the use
of similar vessels in Palestine? The obvious locality would be on
Lake Tiberias, down the Jordan and on the Dead Sea. Both Diodorus
(19:98-100)and Strabo (XVI.2.42)refer to reed boats being used for
collecting asphalt off the Dead Sea but they would appear to be
referring to reed rafts made of tying together bundles of reeds.
However when Diodorus talks of a sea battle on the Dead Sea he
mentions archers firing from reed boats. It would seem that coracles
would be more easily manoeuvrable than rafts so could this be an
indication of their existence?
My infant school picture books always showed Moses floating around
the bulrushes in a small coracle (Exodus 2.3). Isaiah 18.2 refers to
reed boats in the Upper Nile. Could these have been coracles?
(Quffat/Coracles and boats of reed bundles co-existed in Mesopotamia)