The earliest discovered remains from a reed boat are 7000 years old, found in Kuwait. Reed boats are depicted in early petroglyphs and were common in Ancient Egypt. A famous example is the ark of bulrushes in which the baby Moses was set afloat. They were also constructed from early times in Peru and Bolivia, and boats with remarkedly similar design have been found in Easter Island. Reed boats are still used in Peru, Bolivia, Ethiopia .
Totora reeds grow in South America, particularly around Lake Titicaca, and also on Easter Island. These reeds have been used by various pre-Columbian South American civilizations to build reed boats. The boats, called balsa, vary in size from small fishing canoes to thirty metres long. They are still used on Lake Titicaca, located on the border of Peru and Bolivia, 3810 m above sea level for fishing and hunting seabirds.
The Uros are an indigenous people pre-dating the Incas. They live, still today, on man-made floating islands scattered across Lake Titicaca. These islands are also constructed from totora reeds. Each floating island supports between three and ten houses, also built of reeds. The Uros still build totora reed boats, which they use for fishing and hunting seabirds.