National Geographic : 1930 Jan
HIT BELIEVES THAT IT OCCUPIES THE SITE OF THE GARDEN OF EDEN The town, on the border between the alluvial and the stone country, stands on a low hill of mud 70 milesfrom Baghdad, aplace ofheat, insects, and nauseous fumes from its bitumen wells (see illustration, page 121). ARAB TRADITION SAYS THAT THE INFANT MOSES WAS SET ADRIFT INSUCH A"GUFA" "Round like a buckler and freighted with casks of palm wine," so Herodotus described this ancient river craft oftheTigris and Euphrates. They are circular and basket-shaped, about six feet in diameter, and are woven from willows, coated outside with bitumen. The famous Greek historian and traveler also tells that they floated downstream from Armenia, each bearing a live ass, and that on arrivalatBabylon they were pulled apart and the ribs of willow, date palm, and pomegranate sold with the merchandise. The swift current here on the TigrisatBaghdad spins thecraft around like atop.