Although it may not be counted among the seven ancient wonders of the world, the 4,600-year-old solar ship that belongs to the Egyptian pharaoh Khufu is nevertheless an astonishing wonder of the ancient world.
Last week, King Khufu’s reassembled sunship was moved intact to its new permanent location, the Grand Egyptian Museum, where it is sure to become an attraction among the 100,000 artifacts reported by the museum when the venue opens to the public in late this year.
Under the supervision of a team of engineers and archaeologists, after being secured in a specially constructed shock absorbing container, the ship was transported via a remotely controlled all-terrain vehicle for the five-mile, 10-hour journey from Giza to Cairo.
An ancient story
King Cheops ruled Egypt during the Fourth Dynasty (circa 2613 to 2494 BC). In 1954, the Egyptian archaeologist Kamal el-Mallakh discovered the remains of the cedar wooden boat buried outside the royal tomb of Cheops in the Pyramid of Cheops (also known as the Great Pyramid), the largest of the three pyramids of Giza.
The ship itself was no longer intact when el-Mallakh made the discovery, however, having rested for centuries in a hermetically sealed chamber, the wood from which it was built remained in surprisingly good condition.
Archaeologists worked more than 20 months to painstakingly excavate the 1,224 fragments that make up the ship. Using methods as historically accurate as possible to those with which the ship was originally built, it took almost another 10 years before a team of researchers and restorers were able to piece together the puzzle.
The solar ships containing burial chambers were modeled after the mythical Boat of Ra, the Egyptian god revered as the embodiment of the Sun as he sailed through the skies from dawn to dusk every day.
While historians are unclear if this particular ship was part of Khufu’s working fleet or if it was built to facilitate the pharaoh’s ascension from the deadly plain to the immortal, it was common practice to outfit the tombs of the pharaohs with what the Egyptians believed to be the essential elements of the plain. beyond, including transportation.
A great move
As reported by ReutersThe aim of the recent transportation project was “to protect and preserve the largest and oldest organic artifact made of wood in human history for future generations,” Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said in a statement.
And while that might not exactly be immortality, it’s still a pretty good legacy.
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