The first boats were made, when early people discovered that bundled reeds and logs, inflated skins, and large watertight baskets would keep them afloat. Many of these primitive crafts are still to be found in use today. But the first clear evidence of humans engaged in the craft of building boats and ships was found in the cravings and paintings of Egypt, from about 3400 B.C. Similar evidence shows that the Sumerians, who lived in southern Iraq, were also great early shipbuilders.
The ancient Egyptians built their first boats for sailing the River Nile. They were made of bundled papyrus reeds, very like the reed boats still used on Lake Titicaca in the South American Andes. In Egypt the only trees giving timber for boat-building were acacia and sycamore, from which only short timber lengths could be cut and pegged together to make the hull of a boat or ship. This kept such craft small.