Photo by Bruce Foster

ON THE COVER: Using age-old techniques, two men make a modern-day boat seaworthy by bathing the ropes holding it together in oil. As in ancient times, the hulls of such vessels, which still ply the waters of the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea, are literally sewn together. The rope stitching must be soaked in oil to make it waterproof and to protect the fibers from rot. In “Was Noah’s Ark a Sewn Boat?”, Ralph Pedersen compares the Biblical story of the Ark with a parallel story in the Epic of Gilgamesh and with the archaeological record of ancient shipbuilding techniques to determine whether Noah’s Ark would have been sewn together using methods similar to those shown here.