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The Solar Boat Museum

The Discovery Of The Solar Boat

It was the year 1950 and an archaeologist and architect named Kamal el-Mallakh had a job in Giza as an antiquities’ inspector. He discovered a narrow mortar line which turned out to be the edge of two lengthy narrow pits. This was just to the south of the Great Pyramid.

A tourist road was being made in this area while the dis covery took place. As the workers dug in the sands of the eastern pit, they found approximately 41 enormous limestone slabs. When they dug in the western pit, they found 40 slabs. There was also a cartouche found that stated the name Djedefre. He was the pharaoh who succeeded Khufu.

No one was interested in the stonework in the beginning, except for Kamel el-Mallakh. He had to spend the next 4 years convincing his superiors that more investigations into the slabs should be done.

On May 26th, 1954, digging began in one of the stone blocks. After they made a hole, they lowered el-Mallakh down into the pit. No air had gotten into the pit in all this time. When he discovered the boat in the pit, it was well-preserved because of how air-tight the environment had been. The boat was organized into 13 layers that were neatly piled on top of one another. They had matting pieces and plenty of ropes.

The original workers from ancient times had put inscriptions into certain pieces of the boat. These inscriptions indicated which area they came from on the craft. Despite this, it took el-Mallakh and his team more than 10 years to finish the reconstruction of the boat.

In 1968, the solar boat was completely rebuilt. It was 43.3 meters in length and 5.9 meters wide, with a 1.48-meter draft. The displacement is estimated to be about 45 tons.

There is much debate over the boat’s significance. The texts of the pyramid basically stated that when the king died, his soul left the world and went up into the heavens on his solar boat. The purpose was to be with his father, Re, in the heavens.

Some experts believed this boat was just made to be symbolic. Others think the boat may have been used to transport the king’s dead body across the river and to the pyramid.

In 1987, researchers went to the Great Pyramid to examine the boat pit on the western side. They drilled a hole into the pit and stuck a microprobe in there to look around. Satisfying their suspicion, they found another wooden boat in the pit. It was decided to leave the boat in the pit so that it could stay well preserved.

Experts believe that wood was extremely rare and valuable in Ancient Egypt. There is hope that this discovery will allow experts to understand what kind of foreign relationships took place during the early days of Ancient Egypt’s history.

There have been numerous Ancient Egyptian boats discovered over the years, but the solar boat of Khufu is deemed the most interesting of them all. There is a museum dedicated to displaying just this boat. You can find the museum only a couple of meters away from the original spot it was discovered at. (the south side of the pyramid).

Updated On March 29, 2020