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Khufu’s second solar boat revealed
Buried for 4,500 years, King Khufu’s second solar boat, designed to ferry him to the afterlife, has been uncovered
Nevine El-Aref , Thursday 23 Jun 2011
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lifting upt one of the pit's block-photo by Sherif Sonbol
Hawass during the conference- photo by Sherif Sonbol

Today, hundreds of foreign and Egyptian journalists along with photographers, cameramen and TV presenters flocked to the Giza Plateau, where Minister of State for Antiquities Zahi Hawass, Chargé d’Affaires at the Japanese Embassy to Egypt Masami Kinefuchi, and the chief executive representative of the Nitori Holding Company, Akio Nitori, unveiled King Khufu’s second solar boat.

This boat was first discovered in 1954 by Egyptian architect and archaeologist Kamal El-Malakh with fellow archaeologist Zaki Nour during routine cleaning at the southern side of Khufu’s Great Pyramid. The first pit was found under a roof of 41 limestone slabs. Removing one of these slabs, a cedar boat, completely dismantled but arranged in the semblance of its finished form, was found along with layers of mats, ropes, instruments made of flint and some small pieces of white plaster with 12 oars, 58 poles, three cylindrical columns and five doors.

The boat was removed from the pit to a nearby warehouse where the late master of restorers Ahmed Youssef spent more than 20 years reassembling it. It is now exhibited at the Khufu Solar Boat Museum near to the Great Pyramid. The second solar boat remained sealed in its pit until 1987 when the American National Geographic Society examined it in association with the Egyptian Office for Historical Monuments. The team penetrated the limestone ceiling and inserted a tiny camera ascertain the boat’s status, then sealing the pit again. Unfortunately the hole made leaked air into the pit, allowing insects to thrive inside and damage some part of the boat’s wooden beams.

In collaboration with the Japanese government, a Japanese scientific and archaeological team from Waseda University offered a grant of $10 million to lift the boat out of the pit, restore and reassemble it and exhibit it beside its twin. A joint team made up of staff of the Egyptian Ministry of State for Antiquities, a delegation from Waseda University and the Japanese Institute for Restoration Research embarked on a scientific examination of the boat.

In 2008, the Japanese team from Waseda University led by archaeologist Sakuji Yoshimura inserted a tiny camera through a hole in the chamber’s limestone ceiling to transmit video images of the boat onto a small TV monitor on site in order to re-examine and assess the condition of the boat’s cedar beams and ascertain at the possibility of restoring it. It also make the boat available to Giza Plateau visitors through an LCD screen installed inside a hangar erected at the Plateau.

Today, after the completion of a comprehensive study, the limestone blocks, consisting of 41 panels that have covered the boat pit for 4,500 years, were removed and the boat’s wooden beams extracted one by one to a special warehouse in order to be reassembled as it would have looked in ancient times.

A beaming Hawass told reporters that it is the first time that this technology has been used to look at buried antiquities. Modern technology had also been used to solve other riddles of ancient Egypt, explained Hawass, such as the  "CT scan examination to know the reason for the mysterious death of Tutankhamun, as well as identifying royal mummies, such as that of Queen Hatshepsut, and the diseases they suffered from," he said. He celebrated the application of modern science in the service of ancient history.

Upon completion of the restoration, the boat will be erected near the entrance gate to the Pyramids Plateau, on the Cairo-Fayoum road, Hawass told reporters. The first boat, on the other hand, will be moved from its current site, beside Khufu's Pyramid to the Grand Egyptian Museum, currently under construction.





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Mike Orrell
08-07-2011 08:51am
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Egyptian & Nazca Artifacts Linked to UFO Photo
The San Diego Union Tribune has just featured on their front page what many consider the most important discovery in the history of UFOlogy. A single accidental photo of ten daylight objects has been successfully linked to other UFO photos as well as countless ancient artifacts and the Nazca Lines in Peru. Google my name or "Inaja UFO Photo" to see the evidence the Los Angeles Times labeled "UNSETTLING" http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/jul/04/ufo-believer-tries-to-spread-the-word/
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E.G.
24-06-2011 07:50pm
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Factual mistake in article
Leslie Cannon is correct. I remember reading about the drilling of the hole in 1987. At that time scientists found that, unlike the first boat pit, the second boat pit had not remained airtight since ancient times. So there were already bugs in it. The drilling of the hole is not what caused bugs and air to enter.
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Jimbo in limbo
23-06-2011 09:12pm
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2nd boat
Two boats and an entrance to the pyramid that is 1/3 of the way up the one side. Maybe the boats were practical and the plateau was flooded in ancient times? Nah. Must be religious.
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Leslie Cannon
23-06-2011 07:21pm
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2nd boat
I remember when they drilled the hole in 1987. They wanted to capture air from when it was sealed, but they saw a roach already in there and sealed it back up. So there were already bugs in there before the hole.
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