Typical vessel used during the reign of King Sahure, this Egyptian ship carried cedar and ebony from Lebanon to Egypt. Shipbuilders of that era did not use pegs but relied on rope to keep their ships afloat. Keel, frames and deck were tightly tied together.
Shipbuilding in ancient Egypt is interesting for a variety of reasons, first of all that, historically it is the oldest art of shipbuilding to be known in any detail, and we can follow its development some 2000 years.
In the Nile valley all traffic of importance took place on the river, and it was on the efficiency and reliability of the Nile fleet that the structure and stability of the nation depended. The Egyptian fleet played a decisive role not only in the Nile valley but also in the Mediterranean and Red Seas, where the Egyptians maintained regular sea traffic and communications, especially with Lebanon, from which above all timber was imported.
We know that cedar from Lebanon was imported even during the Thinite period (First Dynasty) and there is no evidence that it was not transported on Egyptian ships. In King Sahure’s burial temple were found parts of reliefs showing the departure and return of a fleet; a text on the relief mention briefly that ships, sent to Punt in the thirteen year of Sahure’s reign, returned with 8000 measures of myrrh, 6000 of electrum and 2600 logs of a rare wood.
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