Over 120 detailed images of ancient Egyptian boats dating back 3,800 years have been discovered carved into the wall of a building in Abydos, Egypt. The recent research has greatly expanded earlier knowledge of the site that derived from a brief, exploratory phase of work conducted in 1901–1903 by Arthur Weigall and Charles Currelly on behalf of the Egypt Exploration Fund. During that time Weigall discovered the tomb of Senwosret III, the fifth monarch of the Twelfth Dynasty of the Middle Kingdom, who ruled from 1878 BC to 1839 BC during a time of great power and prosperity. According to contemporary archaeologists, the building is nearly four millennia old.
In a report recently published in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, Josef Wegner, a decorated Egyptologist and Associate Professor in Egyptology at the University of Pennsylvania and leader of the excavation, wrote that the series of images, known as a tableau, would have overlooked a real wooden boat, as evidenced by fragments from the boat’s structure that are still being excavated. In ancient Egypt, boats being buried near a pharaoh’s tomb wasn’t an uncommon custom, a fact that makes Wegner believe that the very few remaining planks of the wooden boat, were most likely constructed at Abydos, or could have possibly been dragged across the desert.
The interior of the boat building (J. Wegner)
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