Solar BoatsGiza - The Places
Solar Boat Pits at Giza
- Pharaoh Khufu had four Boat Pits around his Pyramid; his Queen Hetepheres I had one next to her Pyramid within his Mortuary Complex
- Pharaoh Khafre had five Boat Pits which were placed around his Mortuary Temple
- Pharaoh Menkaure had no Boat Pits, or at least none that have ever been located
- Queen Khentkaus I had one Boat Pit which was found behind her Pyramid when being approached via her Causeway
What are Solar Boats?
Solar Boats or Barques are believed to have had 2 uses:
- Used as a Funerary Barge to carry Pharaoh after death to their Mortuary Complex. Especially for use at Giza where the Great Channel of Memphis tributary of the Nile River was designed to lead to the Harbour Areas which then served Pharaoh’s Mortuary Complex. When the Pharaoh’s changed their Funerary routine from one of a great visual display to a more hidden and secretive affair in the Valley of the Kings and Queens, then Solar Boats were used figuratively in a miniaturised form
- For Pharaoh’s use in the Afterlife as a Ceremonial Boat which would carry the revitalised Pharaoh with Sun God Ra across the sky, hence the name Solar Boat.
For further information about Ancient Egyptian Boats, click here.
Pharaoh Khufu’s Boat
The best-known Solar Boat is Pharaoh Khufu’s Solar Barque which was rediscovered with another boat in 1954 on the Giza Necropolis adjacent to Pharaoh Khufu’s Main Pyramid and inside his Mortuary Complex. It was located inside a pit dug over 4,500 years ago which was accommodated to fit the 43.6m long, 5.9m wide and 1,224 pieced Boat and due to the climate and sealed nature of the pit, no insect damage or weather damage occurred. It remains the largest and best-preserved Solar Boat known today; some say even the best-preserved Boat from history.
The materials used are Lebanon Cedar wood in the planks of the Ship which were connected together with Halfah Grasses, found in Northern Africa and South Europe, which were plaited into rope.
The Reconstruction of the Boat to its full size took years, but since 1982 the large Solar Boat has been on display next to Khufu’s Pyramid in its own specifically design Museum. It is thought, at the time of writing, that the Boat will be moved into its own specifically built Hall with the GEM. For more information on the Grand Egyptian Museum, please click here.