Boats built by the Chontal Mayas

All in Mexico were made with wooden planks

by Richard L. Thornton, Architect & City Planner

A Chontal Maya town in the marshes of Tabasco

In 2007, Florida researcher Douglas T. Peck contacted me to determine if I was provided sketches by Spanish explorers, verbal descriptions by Spanish explorers and paintings of boats & canoes by Maya scribes, working for the Spanish, could I create three-dimensional renderings with architectural software of the types of boats and canoes, constructed by the Chontal Mayas? The answer was a definite yes. It turned out to be an extremely interesting professional activity for me, since until then I was totally unaware that any people in the Americas built canoes and boats with sawn wooden planks.

Shortly, thereafter Doug determined that the indigenous peoples in southern Florida and coastal Georgia copied the small canoes and riverine freight canoes of the Mayas, but carved them out of massive tree trunks. Ceramic models of the Chontal boats and canoes have been found at proto-Creek town sites in Georgia.

Later, Doug also furnished me with an INAH archaeological report on a Chontal Maya town in the Tabasco tidal marshes. With the information contained in the report, I was able to create a virtual reality computer model of this town.

Having previously lived near the Oresund Channel in Sweden, I immediately recognized that the Chontal clinker techniques for building sea-going boats and canoes were identical to those used during the Bronze and Iron Ages in southern Scandinavia. Clinker construction is an ancient method used for constructing boat hulls by overlapping the wooden planks along their edges.  The lapping boards were joined by inserting wooden dowels. The integrity of the entire hull was maintained by inter-lacing the boards with a stout rope.

Canoe in coastal marshes near the Moon River, Georgia
Altamaha River in Georgia
Usumacinta River in Tabasco State, Mexico
Catamaran on Lake Okeechobee, Florida
Riverine canoes on estuary in Tuxtla Mountains, Veracruz, Mexico
Cargo boat on the Gulf Coast of Campeche State, Mexico
Chontal War Canoe – Tampico Bay, Tamalipas, Mexico
Chontal Seacraft – same size as a Viking Longboat

2 Comments

  1. Howdy, really like the double hull and platform. Querry; Okeechobee—-Itza Maya?

    On Mon, Feb 1, 2021 at 9:17 AM The Americas Revealed wrote:

    > alekmountain posted: ” All in Mexico were made with wooden planks by > Richard L. Thornton, Architect & City Planner A Chontal Maya town in the > marshes of Tabasco In 2007, Florida researcher Douglas T. Peck contacted me > to determine if I was provided sketches by ” >

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Archaeologists have found hundreds of skeletons of two populations. One was extremely tall and often had oversized skulls. The other was shorter with lighter bones. Those were probably the Mayas. Mixing the to physiological types created the Creek Indians.

    Like

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