Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu’s 4,600 Old Vessel Transferred To The New Grand Egyptian Museum

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Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu’s 4,600 Old Vessel Transferred To The New Grand Egyptian Museum

CAIRO: In a solemn procession, the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) received King Khufu’s boat at dawn on Saturday, 48 hours after the start of its transfer from its current display.

This handout picture released by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities on August 7, 2021 shows a view of the relocation process of the Solar Barque of Pharaoh Khufu (Cheops) as it is moved past (L to R) the Pyramid of Khafre (Chephren) and Menkaure (Menkheres) from the Giza Necropolis to its new resting place at the nearby Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital’s twin city of Giza. Egypt on August 7 transported the intact Pharaonic boat of ancient Egyptian King Khufu dating back some 4600 years to its yet to be unveiled grand museum.

More than four centuries old, the boat was in a special museum located at the southern side of the Great Pyramid of Khufu on the Giza Plateau.

Streets and bridges overlooking the GEM, as well as archaeological and engineering equipment, were prepared for the transportation of the boat.

King Khufu’s solar boat is displayed at a museum on the northern side of Khufu’s Great Pyramid, in Giza, Egypt, August 31, 2016.

The project will preserve what experts have described as the largest, oldest and most important organic relic in human history.

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A smart remote-controlled cart was specially brought in from Belgium to transport the boat without dismantling it.

The process took about 10 hours, covering the 8km from the boat’s location to the GEM.

A view of the relocation process of the Solar Barque of Pharaoh Khufu (Cheops) as it is moved from the Giza Pyramids Necropolis to its new resting place at the nearby Grand Egyptian Museum.

The boat will be displayed in a special area of 1,400 sq. m in the outer courtyard around the GEM.

Atef Moftah, GEM chief supervisor, said the process of transferring the boat was “one of the most important and complex and unique archaeological engineering projects,” stressing that the task force did not leave anything to chance.

“It is the result of effort, study, planning, preparation, and serious work that spanned nearly a year,” he added, noting that the process was undertaken with great accuracy.

He said the special vehicle that carried the boat could overcome any obstacles on the road, maneuvering through tricky curves and absorbing any vibrations.

Mostafa Waziri, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), said the process was approved by the Permanent Committee of Egyptian Antiquities, following the Antiquities Protection Law.

Al-Tayeb Abbas, assistant minister of tourism and antiquities, said that before the transfer, a radar survey of the rocky ground was conducted to ensure its ability to withstand the weight.

The mummy of King Ramesses IX is transported in a convoy from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Fustat, in Cairo, Egypt April 3, 2021.

He said a distinguished team of restorers from the GEM conducted a laser scan of the boat to document its most accurate details and package it for transportation.

On May 26, 1954, archaeologist engineer Kamal Al-Malakh announced the discovery of two pits for the boats of King Khufu, called the sun boats, on the southern side of the Great Pyramid.

Known in the media as the solar boat, it was made of cedarwood, imported from Lebanon.

Many have said that the ancient Egyptians made this boat for the king to use on his daily trips with the sun god Ra, while others have claimed that the boat was used to transport the king’s body from the eastern bank of the Nile to the western bank where he was buried.

The museum housing the boat was not equipped to preserve the wooden artifact, with the organic structure starting to decay. The transportation of the boat to a new venue was imperative.

A photo shows a view of the relocation process of the Solar Barque of Pharaoh Khufu (Cheops) as it is moved from the Giza Pyramids Necropolis to its new resting place at the nearby Grand Egyptian Museum.

Many ideas to move the boat were studied. All of them involved dismantling the boat and reconstructing it at the GEM, but they were discarded due to risk.

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.

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In preparation for the transfer, the work team at the GEM and the SCA conducted three simulations using the remote-controlled vehicle.

The boat was then packed with special scientific foam and put inside an iron cage for protection.


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