Image: Canoe Model, Sri Lanka: B9174

Canoe Model, Sri Lanka: B9174

Model of canoe with outrgger, Sri Lanka.

Stan Florek
© Australian Museum


Canoes with outriggers were introduced to Sri Lanka and India from Southeast Asia probably in the 2nd millennium BCE. Allowing navigation in the open sea, they were vital equipment for the long-distance trading across the Indian Ocean. This model shows the 19th century watercraft, but it displays the essential design elements that may have a very long history of cultural exchange, as well as the movement of people and goods throughout Oceania and the Indian Ocean.


BCE – means Before Common Era, and indicates the years counted back from the first year of the Western Calendar. For example, in 30 BCE Rome conquered Egypt and Cleopatra took her own life.

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