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Sunday, November 6, 2016

3,800-year-old Egyptian 'tableau' may depict funerary boats that carried Pharaoh Senusret III | Daily Mail Online


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3905742/3-800-year-old-Egyptian-tableau-depict-funerary-boats-carried-Pharaoh-Senusret-III-tomb.html

Revealed: 3,800-year-old Egyptian 'tableau' may depict funerary boats that carried Pharaoh Senusret III to his tomb

  • Archaeologists found 120 images of ancient Egyptian boats 
  • The building was near the tomb of Pharaoh Senusret III in Abydos
  • 145 pottery vessels were also found but it is unclear what they were for

Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered more than 120 images of ancient Egyptian boats etched into the walls of a building.

The building is around 3,800-years-old, and was built near the tomb of Pharaoh Senusret III, in Abydos.

The etchings would have been based on a real wooden boat, but it is unclear who did them or why, although the leading theory is they are images of funerary boats created to carry the Pharaoh.

Images vary in size and design, with the largest nearly 5 feet (1.5 metres) in length, and the smaller images only reaching about 4 inches (10 centimetres) 

THE LINK BETWEEN THE POTTERY AND THE TABLEAU 

The link between the etchings and the pottery in the building is still a mystery, but the researchers suggest that the pots could have been used to spill liquid at the pharaoh's funeral.

The researchers wrote: 'Potentially a massive decanting of liquid, likely predominantly water, at the entrance of the building was a way of magically floating the boat.'

Another theory suggests that the boat was transported on a wooden sledge across the desert, in which case 'water and other liquids may have been used to lubricate the ground along the path of the boat', the researchers wrote.

The tableau shows a wooden boat, which would have been constructed at Abydos or dragged across the desert, according to the researchers.

Three planks of wood were found nearby, which appeared to derive from the nearly 65 foot (20 metre) long boat that was buried intact but later dismantled for reuse of the wood. 

Researchers believe the boat may have been buried alongside the Pharaoh's tomb as part of funeral tradition.

The tableau was scratched into the white plaster walls of the building.

Images vary in size and design, with the largest nearly 5 foot (1.5 metres) in length, and the smaller images only reaching about 4 inches (10 centimetres).

In their paper, published in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, the researchers, led by Dr Josef Wegner from the University of Pennsylvania, said that the images show: 'large, well-rendered boats depicted with masts, sails, rigging, deckhouses/cabins, rudders, oars, and in some case rowers.'

One hundred and twenty images remain today, but the researchers suggest there would have been more in ancient times.

The building itself is about 68 by 14 feet (21 by 4 metres), and housed more than 145 pottery vessels near the entrance.

The researchers wrote: 'The vessels are necked, liquid-storage jars, usually termed "beer jars" although probably used for storage and transport of a variety of liquids.'

While the building was first discovered in 1901, that team 'came down on the very top of the boat building', and ran out of time to look inside, according to Dr Wegner.

Little is known about who drew the tableau or why, but the researchers think multiple people created it in a short period of time.

Archaeologists in Egypt were shocked when they discovered more than 120 images of ancient Egyptian boats etched into the inside of a building. The etchings would have been based on a real wooden boat, but it is unclear who did them, or why

Little is known about who drew the tableau or why, but the researchers think multiple people created it in a short period of time

WHO WAS PHARAOH SENUSRET III?

Pharaoh Senusret III ruled Egypt from 1878 BC to 1839 BC. A statue of the pharaoh at the British Museum is pictured

Pharaoh Senusret III ruled Egypt from 1878 BC to 1839 BC.

He is probably the best known of the Middle Kingdom pharaohs, because of the many statues showing him as a man with often heavily-lined eyelids.

Senusret was this king's birth name, which mean, 'Man of Goddess Wosret'. 

He is also sometimes referred to as Senwosret III and Senusert III, or by the Greeks, Sesostris III.

Sunusret III had his pyramid, the largest of the 12 Dynasty pyramids, built at Dahshur.

Senusret III managed to expand Egypt's boarders further south than anyone ruler before him, an accomplishment he was proud of. 

The building was first discovered in 1901 in Abydos, Egypt, but this is the first time that a team has looked inside 

The researchers believe it is possible that the people who made the boat also etched the tableau.

Or another possibility is a group of people taking part in the pharaoh's funeral etched the images.

The link between the etchings and the pottery in the building is still a mystery, but Dr Wegner suggests that the pots could have been used to spill liquid at the funeral.

According to the researchers, the images show: 'large, well-rendered boats depicted with masts, sails, rigging, deckhouses/cabins, rudders, oars, and in some case rowers'

They wrote: 'Potentially a massive decanting of liquid, likely predominantly water, at the entrance of the building was a way of magically floating the boat.'

Another theory suggests the boat was transported on a wooden sledge across the desert, in which case 'water and other liquids may have been used to lubricate the ground along the path of the boat'.

Further excavations have been planned to help solve these mysteries.

The building itself is about 21x4 metres, and housed more than 145 pottery vessels near the entrance. The link between the etchings and the pottery in the building is still a mystery, but the researchers suggest that the pots could have been used to spill liquid at the funeral


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