The solar boat of Cheops began to move for the first time in 4600 years

The solar boat of Cheops began to move for the first time in 4600 years
The solar boat of Cheops began to move for the first time in 4600 years

The wooden ship, the oldest found to date, left the Solar Boat Museum in Giza, where it has been located since 1971.


The new home port of the 42-meter vessel is the Great Egyptian Museum, which is scheduled to open at the end of the year.

The solar boat of Cheops (aka Khufu) was found by the Egyptian archaeologist Kamal el-Mallah back in 1954. The ship was in a sealed underground chamber at the foot of the Cheops pyramid, the tallest structure in the Ancient World. By the time el-Mallah discovered the ship, it had already disintegrated into more than a thousand parts, but the tree (Lebanese cedar) was perfectly preserved in the microclimate of the cache.

The archaeologist worked on the excavation of the boat for about 20 months, but for the first time it was presented to the public only in 1971, in the specially built Museum of the Solar Boat, not far from the Great Pyramid.

Scientists have not yet come to an unambiguous conclusion what this ship was intended for. It is assumed that he could be part of the pharaoh's fleet during his lifetime, or the body of Cheops was transported on it before burial, or he was assigned the role of a special transport for transporting the resurrected ruler across the sky. But they buried the boat with all the rigging - in particular, with hundreds of meters of reed cables that held the ship's parts together. Its length is more than 42 meters, its width is less than six. The draft of the vessel allowed him, in theory, to walk on the river.


Why did such an ancient and valuable find have to be removed from the place and put at risk during transportation? The official comment of the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities is: "The purpose of the transportation project is to protect and preserve the largest and oldest organic wood artifact in history for future generations …"

To transport the boat, a special shock-absorbing container was used, which was attached to a remotely controlled vehicle delivered from Belgium. It is argued that the vehicle is equipped with technical means that absorb vibrations and adapt to changes in the terrain. Although the boat's journey is about eight kilometers, it traveled along it for about ten hours. Upon arrival, the archaeologists and engineers working on the project ensured that the trip did not harm the ship.

However, the foot of the Great Pyramid will not remain without a wooden exhibit. Back in the 1950s, it became clear that there was a second rook. Then it was decided not to open the second cache. In the 80s, a number of studies were carried out, which showed that the second rook is smaller than the first and its condition is much worse. And only in 2006, within the framework of the Great Egyptian Museum project, excavations began.

The work was led by Sakuji Yoshimura, President of Higashi Nippon International University and Professor Emeritus of Waseda University. Nearly 1,700 wooden parts were found. Now restoration work is underway, after which the solar boat will take its place at the Cheops pyramid, in a new museum specially built for it.

The owner of unusual ships - Pharaoh Cheops - is a mysterious and incomprehensible person. He ruled Egypt during the Fourth Dynasty (approximately 2613 to 2494 BC). Scientists know so little about him that they usually report two facts: he ascended the throne at age 20 and began work on the Great Pyramid shortly after coming to power. At the same time, the Greek historian Herodotus, 2000 years after the reign of Cheops, described him as a cruel and evil leader who used slave labor to build his pyramid solely out of vanity.

Other stories depict the pharaoh as a traditional good-natured monarch, whose pyramid was toiled only by mercenaries.Archaeological excavations of construction camps near ancient Egyptian structures rather confirm the correctness of this point of view. For example, quite a few workers lived there, and elements of material culture indicate their relative prosperity.

But whichever version is fair, one cannot but say the following: the reign of Cheops is not just the erection of the largest pyramid in the world, but also the peak of the Old Kingdom in principle.

After him, Egypt began to gradually lose its influence in the Ancient World, to suffer defeat in wars, and the scale of the construction of architectural monuments was seriously reduced.

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