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Ships in Egypt

In a country united by the river Nile travelling by ship was one of the main means of transport. Our knowledge for Egyptian ships is relatively good. There are some original ships preserved; there are many paintings and reliefs showing ships; and there are numerous model ships. Ships mentioned in texts give some further information (compare time of journey)

Ships in the Petrie Museum

Ships shown in paintings of the Naqada Period (about 4000-3100 BC) are often very stylised. It is hard to gain a clear picture about the precise forms.
Petrie found at Tarkhan several timber fragments. They belonged once to ships. These are so far the oldest preserved fragments of original ships from Egypt.
Scenes in Old Kingdom (about 2686-2181 BC ) tombs show several types of ships and also the making of ships and boats. Other Old Kingdom ships in tomb scenes: relief of Tepemankh, relief, ship building in the chapel of Atet,
At the end of the Old Kingdom wooden models of ships were placed into tombs. The earliest models are without crew. In the First Intermediate Period (about 2181-2025 BC) all wooden models have a crew (model ships from Sedment, Lahun)

gallery of ships and boats (click on the images to see a larger picture)

Naqada II - from Hu
predynastic ?
Early Dynastic ?
Early Dynastic ?
ostracon (date ?)
UC 10805
UC 16283
UC 16276
UC 16287
UC 33205

relief from Koptos
Late Middle Kingdom ?
Third Intermediate Period
Roman (from Koptos)
from Memphis, Roman
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UC 16609
UC 55179
UC 34973
UC 16608



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