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Still Waters

The oldest funerary boat ever found

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The oldest funerary boat ever found was discovered early this week at the Abu Rawash archaeological site, Nevine El Aref reports Situated eight kilometres northwest of the Giza plateau, Abu Rawash contains vestiges of archaeological remains that date back to various historical periods ranging from the prehistoric to the Coptic eras.

Abu Rawash displays exclusive funerary structures relating not only to the different ancient Egyptian periods but also their places of worship until quite late in time.

There at the prehistoric necropolis dating from the archaic period and located at the northern area of Mastaba number six (a flat-roofed burial structure), Egyptologists from the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology in Cairo (IFAO) have uncovered 11 wooden panels of a funerary boat used by ancient Egyptians to transport the soul of their departed king to the afterlife right through eternity. It is the earliest such boat ever found.

"The boat is in a very well-preserved condition and is almost intact, thanks to the preservation power of the dry desert environment," Minister of State for Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim said. He added that each panel was six metres tall and 1.50 metres in width.

http://www.archaeolo...r-eternity.html

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Posted (edited)

The thing is 5000 years old for those - like me - who don't have the dates of the Egyptian dynasties memorized...

A funerary boat dating back 5,000 years has been discovered in Egypt, Ahram Online reports.

The boat was meant to take the Pharaoh Den to the afterlife and was buried in the northeast of the Giza Plateau, site of the famous (and later) pyramids. Den was a ruler of Ancient Egypt's poorly understood First Dynasty, which saw the unification of Egypt and its development as a major civilization. Den, shown here smiting his enemies in this image courtesy CaptMondo, was the first to use the title "King of Lower and Upper Egypt." He ruled for 42 years and was famed for his organization of the state. His tomb at Abydos, shown below in this Wikimedia Commons image, is one of the finest of the era.

The French team that made the discovery hope to restore the boat in time to put it on display at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization when it opens next year.

http://www.gadling.c...ancient-egypts/

I noticed the site loads like frozen glue, so here is the Google cached version:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:LbMUee6M-88J:www.gadling.com/2012/07/31/archaeologists-discover-funerary-boat-of-one-of-ancient-egypts/+&cd=1&hl=nl&ct=clnk&gl=nl&client=firefox-a

.

Edited by Abramelin

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hmmm...guess this kills the "boat pits were really diamond saws" theory...

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Posted (edited)

Den looks like he has been carved wearing eye glasses. .... :geek: ...and we know the AEs suffered from eye problems. Actually its probably a line of nitric oxide applied as make up around the eye...

"Modern scientists recognize nitric oxide as a key signaling agent in the body. Its roles include revving-up the immune system to help fight disease. Eye infections caused by bacteria can be a serious problem in tropical marshy areas such as the Nile area during floods, the scientists note. Therefore, the ancient Egyptians may have deliberately used these lead-based cosmetics to help prevent or treat eye disease, the researchers suggest, noting that two of the compounds do not occur naturally and must have been synthesized by ancient Egyptian "chemists."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100111112845.htm

edited to add a link

Edited by jules99

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I've been following this in the news and am glad Still Waters posted it. I had meant to but never got around to it. This is a very exciting find and a great example of legitimate archaeological and Egyptological work. To me it's a reminder that the real world is fascinating enough and how continued pursuits in Egyptology bring more and more knowledge to our understanding of pharaonic Egypt. Aliens and Atlanteans and other woo-woo stuff need not be considered.

Whether the boat at Abu Rawash is actually the oldest remains to be seen. Unless I missed it the article doesn't mention the fourteen Abydos boats. These were discovered in the late 1980s by one of David O'Connor's teams and were excavated in 1991. They were found alongside a large funerary structure known as the Western Mastaba. Unfortunately it has not been possible as of yet to assign the Western Mastaba or the boats to any specific king, but it's been established that these boats also date to Dynasty 1. This means the Abydos boats are around the same age as Den's found at Abu Rawash—5,000 years old.

I suppose the question is, which came first, the Abydos boats or the Abu Rawash boat? We might never know. Den reigned in the middle of Dynasty 1, so it's difficult to say with any certainty.

It's unusual that such a boat was found at Abu Rawash, which would've been a very remote spot and a considerable distance from the Nile in Dynasty 1. Not that the Abydos boats themselves are exactly right next to the river, but Abydos would've been a bustling and well-established site even in Dynasty 1. The article is correct that Den was buried at Abydos, along with the other kings of that dynasty, and no evidence for a cenotaph is known for him at Abu Rawash. It's possible, then, that the boat was buried for a nobleman in the court of Den—the boat may be attributed to Den but might not necessarily have been buried for him. There is some precedent for this in other noblemen's burials of the Early Dynastic Period.

Whatever the case may be, it's a fascinating discovery. Makes you wonder what archaeologists will find next.

And to questionmark, remember that many boat pits never contained actual boats. So the ones with boats were meant for that purpose, while those without boats were actually for diamond saws. :w00t:

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I've been following this in the news and am glad Still Waters posted it. I had meant to but never got around to it. This is a very exciting find and a great example of legitimate archaeological and Egyptological work. To me it's a reminder that the real world is fascinating enough and how continued pursuits in Egyptology bring more and more knowledge to our understanding of pharaonic Egypt. Aliens and Atlanteans and other woo-woo stuff need not be considered.

Whether the boat at Abu Rawash is actually the oldest remains to be seen. Unless I missed it the article doesn't mention the fourteen Abydos boats. These were discovered in the late 1980s by one of David O'Connor's teams and were excavated in 1991. They were found alongside a large funerary structure known as the Western Mastaba. Unfortunately it has not been possible as of yet to assign the Western Mastaba or the boats to any specific king, but it's been established that these boats also date to Dynasty 1. This means the Abydos boats are around the same age as Den's found at Abu Rawash—5,000 years old.

I suppose the question is, which came first, the Abydos boats or the Abu Rawash boat? We might never know. Den reigned in the middle of Dynasty 1, so it's difficult to say with any certainty.

It's unusual that such a boat was found at Abu Rawash, which would've been a very remote spot and a considerable distance from the Nile in Dynasty 1. Not that the Abydos boats themselves are exactly right next to the river, but Abydos would've been a bustling and well-established site even in Dynasty 1. The article is correct that Den was buried at Abydos, along with the other kings of that dynasty, and no evidence for a cenotaph is known for him at Abu Rawash. It's possible, then, that the boat was buried for a nobleman in the court of Den—the boat may be attributed to Den but might not necessarily have been buried for him. There is some precedent for this in other noblemen's burials of the Early Dynastic Period.

Whatever the case may be, it's a fascinating discovery. Makes you wonder what archaeologists will find next.

And to questionmark, remember that many boat pits never contained actual boats. So the ones with boats were meant for that purpose, while those without boats were actually for diamond saws. :w00t:

AFAIK this remains a mystery, but if there is any truth to the speculation that the Abydos boats may have belonged to Aha then that would make them the older of the two examples. I have to wonder what the C14 results were, assuming they got tested.

cormac

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