Archaeology Remains of ancient Egyptian seafaring ships discovered

Discussion in 'Archaeology' started by mscbkc070904, Mar 24, 2005.

  1. mscbkc070904

    mscbkc070904 Premium Member

    The first remains of ancient Egyptian seagoing ships ever to be recovered have been found in two caves on Egypt's Red Sea coast, according to a team at Boston University in the US.

    The team also found fragments of pottery at the site, which could help resolve controversies about the extent of ancient Egyptian trade voyages. But details of the newly disclosed finds remain sketchy.

    Kathryn Bard, who co-led the dig with Italian archaeologists in December 2004, has revealed to the Boston University weekly community newsletter that the team found a range of items - including timbers and riggings - inside the man-made caves, located at the coastal Pharaonic site of Wadi Gawasis.

    According to the report, pottery in the caves could date at least some of the artefacts to a famous 15th century BC naval expedition by Queen Hatshepsut to the mysterious, incense-producing land of Punt. This voyage is depicted in detailed reliefs on Queen Hatshepsut's temple on the west bank of the Nile, near modern-day Luxor.

    Bard declined to speak to New Scientist. But the find is exciting, says John Baines, professor of Egyptology at the University of Oxford, UK, who has been in contact with Bard. "These finds put flesh on what we might have imagined," he says.

    Gold and ebony
    The pottery finds include items the Italian researchers think could be from Yemen - a potential candidate for the modern identity of Punt. The ancient Egyptians sourced a variety of exotic wares in Punt, including gold, ebony and incense.

    "The Yemeni pottery is very interesting because it was suspected that there were contacts across the Red Sea - and this proves that there were," Baines says.

    The naval artefacts included two curved cedar planks which might have been parts of steering oars. But linking these to Queen Hatshepsut's famous voyage might be a little too specific, he says.

    "Kathryn [Bard] has told me the pottery is early New Kingdom, and we know of no other expedition to Punt in that period, so it is a reasonable guess. But we also have to bear in mind that almost everything from antiquity is lost, so there could well have been other voyages."

    It is not clear exactly why the artefacts were sealed up inside the caves. But it is possible that they were offerings to the Egyptian gods. "That sounds very plausible to me, not least because previous excavations found a structure made of stone anchors that could again be some sort of thanks-offering," says Baines.

    The team plans to return to the caves in December 2005 to continue their excavations.


    [Edited on 3-25-2005 by mscbkc070904]
  2. mscbkc070904

    mscbkc070904 Premium Member

    Mar 30, 2005 — CAIRO (Reuters) - Archaeologists have found the remains of boats used by ancient Egyptians for trading trips, the culture minister said in comments published on Wednesday.

    The boats were discovered in caves in a pharaonic harbour on Egypt's Red Sea coast around 300 miles southeast of Cairo, Farouk Hosni said in comments carried by Egypt's state MENA news agency

    They were used to transport goods to and from the Land of Punt, he said. The Land of Punt, mentioned in ancient Egyptian writings, is thought by most archaeologists to be the coast of the Horn of Africa.

    "Excavations discovered a group of sail and mast ropes, wooden ship beams and thin planks made of cedars, imported from northern Syria," MENA quoted Zahi Hawas, chairman of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, as saying.

    Hawas said a team from Boston University in the United States working with an Italian team had made the discovery.
    Source: Reuters