The crowd awaits Uruna's approach to Burum bar on the day she meets the king cobra. The large reed craft in the foreground would be her royal barge with its draped travel box amidships. She would have arrived from the marshes in one of the beached swifthulls with the upswept prows.
Sample of early writing evolution. Cuneiform evolved from some of the symbols shown left into the sharper, briefer forms to the right. According to this table, it took centuries for Sumerians to arrive at a uniform standard, then more than 2,000 years to come to the form we commonly associate with it today. The actual transitions depended on regional, cultural, and political influences which were always in a state of flux.
A latter day Ma'dan tarada (1930s) virtually unchanged from thousands of years ago. From a photograph by Wilfred Thesiger, The Marsh Arabs. Formed from reeds and sealed with bitumin. I imagined a craft like this as the speediest mode of transportation in Uruna's day, so I called it a "swifthull."