I am a Tombstone Tourist: someone who loves to wander cemeteries. I find it akin to visiting a museum: an opportunity to enjoy rarely seen sculpture, intricate carvings, and amazing architecture, all in a tranquil outdoor setting. This blog is about cemetery culture, art, history, issues of death, and genealogy - subjects of current relevance. I usually find something that intrigues me and makes me want to dig deeper. Care to join me? Read on...
Friday, February 5, 2016
Ancient Egyptian Funerary Ship Discovered
ancient funerary boat was discovered two years ago in Egypt, near Cairo, but
the find was just announced Monday by Egypt’s Antiquities Minister.
2013, an excavation team unearthed the ship and also discovered human remains
at the Abusir site where fourteen pyramids are located.
archaeologists were clearing a mastaba, or ancient tomb, at the Abusir South
Cemetery, when they discovered human remains believed to be more than 4,500
years old. Officials believe the remains belonged to a distinguished resident
since the Abusir site was where Egyptian kings of the Fifth Dynasty were
Site of Barque
were continuing their excavation when they unearthed parts of a 59-foot barque-type boat- a
highly unusual find due to the boat’s size. The ship was uncovered near the
tomb’s southern wall and had been lying on rocks, covered by the desert sands
for thousands of years. According to the antiquities ministry statement, the
boat indicates the "extraordinary social position of the owner of the tomb.”
Czech archaeologist said “boats of such a size and construction were reserved solely for top members of the society, who usually
belonged to the royal family.”
not of the royal family, this person held an extraordinarily high social position,
someone who had solid connections with the reigning pharaoh, archaeologists
to the Egyptian Ministry, pottery discovered in the boat is much older than the
Fifth Dynasty, possibly going back to the Third or Fourth Dynasty. It is
believed that the boat is also of that era.
to the Egyptian Ministry’s statement, "The wooden planks were joined by
wooden pegs that are still visible in their original position. Extraordinarily,
the desert sand has preserved the plant fiber battens which covered the
the boat is still mostly intact, researchers expect to learn more about how Ancient
Egyptians built their watercraft and how the ships were used in funerary
believe that the funerary boats were barques; ships having three or more masts,
used to transport the dead to the afterlife. Pharaohs and members of the royal
families were entombed with barques built especially for their
final journey. Ancient Egyptians believed that the deities traveled through the
sky in barques. (The Milky Way was thought to be a waterway, like the Nile
last such Egyptian ship was discovered in 1954. One of the oldest and largest of the ancient
boats was unearthed at the foot of the Great Pyramid of Giza.The Khufu boat, so called because it was
built for Khunum-Khufu, the second pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty, was a 143 feet
long funerary boat crafted from cedar. The ship is being
reconstructed at the Giza Solar Boat Museum
at the Abusir Pyramids began in 2009. The site is located south of the Pyramids of
Giza. The excavation will continue until sometime in the spring.