In this short video, Dr Lucy Blue speaks about the huri – a small wooden logboat.
Hi! I’m Lucy Blue and I’ve been asked to talk to you about my favourite shipwreck. Well in fact, it’s not exactly a shipwreck, it’s a small wooden logboat, essentially a hollowed-out tree trunk, called a huri.
Now these boats, small wooden logboats, huris, operate around the western shores of the Indian Ocean up into the Arabian Gulf, the Red Sea and along the East African shore. We’ve known about huris, or a form of small logboat for at least two thousand years. They’re recorded in ancient texts and mentioned by ancient geographers and historians. And essentially, they’re a workaday boat. They give us an insight into people’s daily activities in the past through to the present. They were used for fishing, for manoeuvring around harbours and for manoeuvring goods and people from the ship to the shore.
I’ve been studying them for a long time – I love huris. My friends know I’m addicted to huris, in fact, and I’ve looked at them around most of these shorelines and I’ve managed to track down their source to the west coast of India. This is where huris were built and are still built today in Kerala, the state of Kerala. And essentially these small logboats were transported on the backs of dhows across the western Indian Ocean to the Arabian Gulf to the Red Sea to essentially areas where there is a limited timber resource and then they were used, as I’ve indicated, as the workaday vessel.
So that’s my favourite boat, a logboat huri.