Friday, June 24, 2011

Second solar boat to undergo two phases of restoration (Zahi Hawass)

With photos.

Today marks the start of the second phase of the project that will involve raising the stone blocks covering the boat pit. The first stone block, out of a total of 41, was carefully lifted this morning. To give you some idea of the scale of the blocks, the biggest one measures 1m wide by 4.10m lengthways and weights 16 tons. Such an unusual operation requires unique techniques, in this case developed by the Egyptian and Japanese teams on site. The process involves inserting a piece of wood beneath the cover stone. Each piece has been designed specifically for this purpose, chemically treated, and layered with heat insulation. So strong it could hold the weight of one person!

Yesterday, the Egyptian and Japanese teams conducted an experiment to clean the fillings around the sides of the covering stones. During this procedure they revealed a cartouche for King Khufu and beside it was the name of the crown prince Djedefre, without cartouche. This is a very great discovery.

Ahram Online (Nevine El-Aref)

The second solar boat remained sealed in its pit until 1987 when the American National Geographic Society examined it in association with the Egyptian Office for Historical Monuments. The team penetrated the limestone ceiling and inserted a tiny camera ascertain the boat’s status, then sealing the pit again. Unfortunately the hole made leaked air into the pit, allowing insects to thrive inside and damage some part of the boat’s wooden beams.

In collaboration with the Japanese government, a Japanese scientific and archaeological team from Waseda University offered a grant of $10 million to lift the boat out of the pit, restore and reassemble it and exhibit it beside its twin. A joint team made up of staff of the Egyptian Ministry of State for Antiquities, a delegation from Waseda University and the Japanese Institute for Restoration Research embarked on a scientific examination of the boat.

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