Khufu's Boat in its old location besides the Great Pyramid (Photo courtesy of the Supreme Council of Antiquities)
Streets and bridges overlooking the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), as well as archaeological and engineering equipment, are being prepared for the transportation of King Khufu’s boat from its current display in a special museum located at the southern side of the Great Pyramid of Khufu on the Giza Plateau to its new permanent exhibition at the GEM.
Khufu's first boat, known in the media as the solar boat, was discovered in May 1954, during an expedition to remove sand from the southern side of the Great Pyramid of King Khufu..
After its restoration and reconstruction, the boat was then put on display in a museum bearing its name on Giza Plateau which, unfortunately, marred the beauty of the pyramid, the only surviving wonder of the ancient world.
In addition, the museum was not equipped to house this magnificent wooden artifact, one of the most important in the world, whose organic structure soon began to decay. The transportation of the boat to a new venue was imperative.
Many ideas to move Khufu’s boat were studied. All of them involved dismantling the boat and reconstructing it at at the GEM. Such ideas proved risky, however, because this could be more dangerous than keeping the boat in its current location.
Moving the 42 meter long and 20 ton boat in one piece was the only suitable solution, like the transportation of the Ramses II colossus from Ramses Square to the GEM.
After the approval of the Permanent Committee of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities in accordance with the Antiquities Protection Law, the decision to transport the boat was taken.
After almost a year of preparations and studies, Khufu’s first boat is to be transported tonight to its new building, currently under construction at the GEM. Khufu’s second Boat, which has had its beams removed from its original pit in Giza Plateau to the GEM for restoration and reconstruction, will be exhibited beside its twin.
In preparation for the transfer, the work team at the GEM and the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) conducted three simulations during the past several months, using the smart, remote-controlled vehicle specially transported from Belgium, to test the vehicle’s performance moving of the boat, in order to ensure its safe arrival, which have proved successful.
Khufu’s first boat was then packed with special scientific foams and put inside an iron cage to protect it during transfer, which will take place over three days, starting tonight.
Upon its arrival, the boat will be installed inside its permanent location for restoration and will be available for viewing by visitors following the the grand opening of the GEM.
A press conference is to be held as soon as the boat arrive to the GEM.