Fleet of 12 Sea-going Ships Discovered Buried Beneath the Sand in Egypt

Posted by Chris Parker
Nov 27 2006

This 140 foot, “5,000″ year old “sun boat” was found buried near the great pyramid. 

“Until recently it was not thought that the Egyptians possessed any real maritime capability, especially during the periods that correspond to the erection of the earliest luni-solar monuments.

However, Graham Hancock recounts in The Fingerprints of the Gods, that strangely, a fleet of 12 sea-going ships had been discovered buried beneath the sand in Egypt; Hancock was in fact moved to ask: “what was the burial in the desert of 12 high-prowed seagoing ships if it was not also a mystery that cried out, loudly, for solution?” before providing his own commentary on the matter, citing first a 1991 news release from The Guardian, London, 21 December:

A fleet of 5000-year old royal ships has been found buried eight miles from the Nile. American and Egyptian archaeologists discovered the 12 large wooden boats at Abydos …

Experts said the boats- which are 50 to 60 feet long – are about 5000 years old, making them Egypt’s earliest royal ships and among the earliest boats found anywhere …The experts say the ships, discovered in September, were probably meant for burial so the souls of the pharaohs could be transported on them. ‘We never expected to find such a fleet, especially so far from the Nile,’ said Davis O’Connor, the expedition leader and curator of the Egyptian Section of the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania….

… the University of Pennsylvania archaeologists had, for legitimate security reasons reburied the 12 mysterious boats they had stumbled on in 1991. They had hoped to return in 1992 to continue the excavations, but there had been various hitches and, in 1993, the dig was still being postponed.

In the course of my research O’Connor had sent me the official report of the 1991 season, mentioning in passing that some of the boats might have been as much as 72 feet in length. He also noted that the boat-shaped brick graves in which they were enclosed, which would have risen well above the level of the surrounding desert in early dynastic times, must have produced quite an extraordinary effect when they were new ..

….’ Each grave had originally been thickly coated with mud plaster and whitewash so the impression would have been twelve (or more) huge ‘boats’ moored out in the desert gleaming in the Egyptian sun. The notion of their being moored was taken so seriously that an irregular shaped small boulder was found placed near the ‘prow’ or ‘stern’ of several boat graves. These boulders could not have been there naturally or by accident; their placement seems deliberate, not random. We can think of them as ‘anchors’ intended to help ‘moor’ the boats.’

….Like the 140-foot ocean-going vessel found buried beside the Great Pyramid at Giza, one thing was immediately clear about the Abydos boats – they were of an advanced design capable of riding out the most powerful waves and the worst weather of the open seas. According to Cheryl Haldane, a nautical archaeologist at Texas A-and-M University, they showed ‘a high degree of technology combined with grace.’

Exactly as was the case with the Pyramid boat, therefore (but a least 500 years earlier) the Abydos fleet seemed to indicate that people able to draw upon the accumulated experiences of a long tradition of seafaring had been present in Egypt from the very beginning of its 3000 year history. Moreover, I knew that the earliest wall paintings found in the Nile Valley, dating back perhaps as much as 1,500 years before the burial of the Abydos fleet (around 4500 BC) showed the same long, sleek, high-prowed vessels in action.

Hancock, Graham. The Fingerprints of the Gods, Seal books, McClellan-Bantam, Inc., Toronto, 1996:431-433

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