French archaeologists unearth pharaoh boat

Jul 25, 2012
In this undated picture provided by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities an archaeologist is seen working on the skeleton of a wooden boat at the Abu Rawash archaeological compound, west of Cairo. French archaeologists discovered the roughly 5,000-year-old pharaonic solar boat.

French archaeologists have discovered a roughly 5,000-year-old pharaonic solar boat in an expedition in Abu Rawash, west of the Egyptian capital, the antiquities ministry said on Wednesday.

The minister, Mohammed Ibrahim, said the boat was up to 5,000 years old. "It goes back to the era of Pharaoh Den, one of the First Dynasty kings," he said in a statement.

The six-metre (19.6 feet) long and 1.5-metre wide boat "is in good condition," he added. Its planks are now undergoing renovation before it is put on display in a museum.

The pharaohs believed that solar boats, buried close to them at death, would transport them in the afterlife.

In 1954 an Egyptian archaeologist discovered what may be the Khufu's 43-metre solar ship, made of cedar, in a Giza pyramid. The 4,500 year-old intact vessel is on display near the pyramid.

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