Experts have found a large number of Ancient Egyptian Solar Ship near different archaeological sites in Egypt. The most famous of all is the Khufu Solar Ship, which is preserved at the Giza Solar boat museum beside the Great Pyramid at Giza.
While the history and exact function of the ships remains a mystery, experts believe they may have been used as a ‘solar barge,’ a kind of ritual vessel that carried the resurrected rulers with the sun God Ra across the Heavens.
Interestingly, some of these ships bear clear signs of bein used in water, pointing to the possibility that some of them were used in the river Nile.
Not long ago an archaeological excavation near the Great Pyramid of Giza revealed new details concerning the famous Solar Boats. It turns out that the Egyptians utilized metal inside of their vessels.
Experts concluded that metal hooks —shaped in the letter U— were found inside one of the components of an ancient Egyptian boat which was discovered during the same year that the famous ‘Solar Boat of Khufu’.
Experts state that the boats were buried inside massive holes located close to the royal burial chambers.
Scholars concluded that these are solid indications that the vessels were used as transportation during a pharaoh’s travel to the funeral, and were meant to help in the travel during the afterlife.
Experts have found SEVEN boat pits to date. Five of them are located in the vicinity of the Great Pyramid of Giza, while two more were unearthed at the Pyramid of Hetepheres and the Pyramid of Ka.
Curiously, the solar boats belonging to Khufu were found inside two pits when archaeologists were performing a usual cleaning task in the southern part of the Great Pyramid.
The Khufu Ship is an intact full-size boat from Ancient Egypt sealed into a pit at the Giza Pyramid complex –at the foot fo the great pyramid of Giza— around 2500 BC.
Experts believe it is the oldest ship described as “a masterpiece of woodcraft” that could sail today if put into water. In fact, the Khufu Ship is one of the oldest, largest, and best-preserved vessels from antiquity. It measures 43.6 m (143 ft) long and 5.9 m (19.5 ft) wide.
Here is a Comparative table of solar ships (source)
|Name of ship(s)||Dating||Number||Discovery site||Current site||Length & width||Owner|
|Khufu First Solar ship||c. 2566 BC||1||South of Khufu pyramid, Giza||Khufu Solar Ship museum, Giza||43.6 m long & 5.9 m wide||King Khufu|
|Khufu Second Solar ship||c. 2566 BC||1||South of Khufu pyramid, Giza||2nd Solar Ship pit, Khufu pyramid complex, Giza||N/A||King Khufu|
|Hetepheres I Solar Ship||c. 2589–2566 BC||1||Pyramid of Hetepheres (GIa), Khufu pyramid complex, Giza||N/A||N/A||Queen Hetepheres I|
|The Ka Solar Ship||c. 2566 BC||1||Pyramid of the Ka, Khufu pyramid complex, Giza||N/A||N/A||King Khufu|
|Other Khufu Solar ship||c. 2566 BC||3||East of Khufu pyramid, Giza||N/A||N/A||King Khufu|
|Khentkaus II Solar ship||c. 2445 BC||2||pyramid of Khentkawes in Giza (LG 100), Giza||N/A||N/A||Queen Khentkaus II|
|Khafre Solar Ships||c. 2570 BC||7||5 around the Upper temple: 2 on north side & 3 on south; 2 in tunnels of Lower temple; Khafra pyramid complex, Giza||N/A||N/A||King Khafra|
|Nyuserre Ini Solar ship||c. 2421 BC||1||outside the temple on the south-east corner of Niuserre Sun Temple, Abo Gorab, Abusir||Boat pit preserved||N/A||King Nyuserre Ini|
|Den Solar ship||c. 2935 BC||2||northern area of Mastaba number six, Abu Rawash||New National Museum of Egyptian Civilization||6 m length and 1.5 m wide||King Den|
|Djedefre Solar Ship||c. 2575 BC||1||East side of the pyramid complex of Djedefre, Abu Rawash||Louvre, France||35 m long & ? m wide||king Djedefre, son of Khufu|
|Neferirkare Solar Ships||c. 2181-2160 BC||2||North & South sides of Neferirkare pyramid, Abusir||mentioned in a papyrus||N/A||King Neferirkare|
|Neferefre Solar Ships||c. 2445 BC||5||funerary temple of Neferefre, Abu Sir||N/A||N/A||King Neferefre|
|Ptahshepses Solar Ships||c. 2445–2421 BC||2||Southern part of the complex of the vizier Ptahshepses, Abu Sir||N/A||N/A||Ptahshepses|
|Hor-Aha Solar ships||c. 2775 BC||14||between the Shunet ez-Zabib and the Western Mastaba, Abydos||N/A||18–27 m long & 2.5 m wide||King Hor-Aha|
|Khasekhemwy Solar Ships||c. 2675 BC||12||Umm el Qa’ab, Abydos||N/A||25 m long & 2.5 m wide & 0.5 m deep||Khasekhemwy|
|Senusret III Solar ships||c. 1839 BC||6||Near the pyramid of Senusret III, Dashur||1 in Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, USA and 1 in the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, USA; 2 in The Cairo Egyptian Museum & 2 were lost?||10–18 m long & 5.9 m wide||King Senusret III|
|Amenemhat III Solar ship||c. 1814 BC||1||South perimeter of Amenemhat IIIpyramid, Dashur||decomposed||15 m long & 5.7 m wide||King Amenemhat III|
|Saqqarah First dynasty Solar boats||c. 3100-2890 BC||3||Tomb S 3357, Saqqara||N/A||N/A||First Dynasty of Egypt kings|
|Kagemni Solar ships||c. 2345 – 2333 BC||2||tomb of the vizier Kagemni, Saqqara||N/A||N/A||Vizier Kagemni|
|Unas Solar Ship||c. 2345 BC||2||150 meter from the funeral Temple of Unas Pyramid, Saqqara||N/A||44 m long & ? m wide||King Unas|
|Tarkhan Solar ship||c. 3100-2890 BC||?||Tarkhan (Egypt) or Kafr Ammar||N/A||N/A||First Dynasty of Egypt kings?|
|Helwan Solar ships||c. 3100-2890 BC||5||Tombs 762 H5, 649 H5, 1502 H2 and 680 H5), Helwan||N/A||N/A||First Dynasty of Egypt kings?|
|Senusert I Solar Ship||c. 1926 BC||1?||Pyramid of Senusret I, Lisht||N/A||N/A||King Senusret I|
|Amenemhat I Solar ship||c. 1962 BC||1||Pyramid of Amenemhat I, Lisht||N/A||N/A||King Amenemhat I|
|Imhotep Solar ship||c. 2650–2600 BC||1||Pyramid of Imhotep?, Lisht||N/A||N/A||Chancellor Imhotep|