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Archaeologists unearth Pharaonic solar boat

In this undated picture provided by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities an archaeologist is seen working on the skeleton of a newly discovered wooden boat at the Abu Rawash archaeological compound, west of Cairo. (AFP PHOTO/EGYPTIAN MINISTRY OF ANTIQUITIES)

CAIRO: French archaeologists have discovered a Pharaonic solar boat in an expedition in Abu Rawash, west of the Egyptian capital, the Antiquities Ministry said Wednesday.

The Egyptian antiquities minister, Mohammad Ibrahim, said the boat might be 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-meter-long and 1.5-meter 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 Pharaoh Khufu’s 43-meter-long solar ship in a Giza pyramid. Made of cedar and still intact, the 4,500-year-old vessel is on display near the pyramid.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 26, 2012, on page 16.

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