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Great Pyramids of Giza

Ancient Wonders of Earth

 

"Solar barge" of Khufu-The Khufu ship

 

Khufu ship


The reconstructed "Solar barge" of Khufu-The Khufu ship is an intact full-size vessel from Ancient Egypt that was sealed into a pit in the Giza pyramid complex at the foot of the Great Pyramid of Giza around 2,500 B.C.E. The ship was almost certainly built for Khufu (King Cheops), the second pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom of Egypt.

It is one of the oldest, largest, and best-preserved vessels from antiquity. At 43.6 m overall, it is longer than the reconstructed Ancient Greek trireme Olympias and, for comparison, nine metres longer than the Golden Hind in which Francis Drake circumnavigated the world.

The ship was rediscovered in 1954 by Kamal el-Mallakh, undisturbed since it was sealed into a pit carved out of the Giza bedrock. It was built largely of cedar planking in the "shell-first" construction technique and has been reconstructed from more than 1,200 pieces which had been laid in a logical, disassembled order in the pit beside the pyramid.

The history and function of the ship are not precisely known. It is of the type known as a "solar barge," a ritual vessel to carry the resurrected king with the sun god Ra across the heavens. However, it bears some signs of having been used in water, and it is possible that the ship was either a funerary "barge" used to carry the king's embalmed body from Memphis to Giza, or even that Khufu himself used it as a "pilgrimage ship" to visit holy places and that it was then buried for him to use in the afterlife.

The Khufu ship has been on display to the public in a specially built museum at the Giza pyramid complex since 1982.

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jaser7
October 06, 2006

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Great Pyramid of Giza. (2009, March 29). New World Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23:59, May 15, 2009 from http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Great_Pyramid_of_Giza?oldid=939476. Link to this site---Terms of Service---Privacy policy---Contact Us

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