Archaeologists on Monday began restoration on a 4,500-year-old wooden boat found next to the pyramids, one of Egypt’s main tourist attractions.
The boat is one of two that were buried next to the Pharaoh Khufu, spokesmen for a joint Egyptian-Japanese team of archeologists said. The boats are believed to have been intended to carry pharaohs into the afterlife.
Khufu, also known as Cheops, is credited with building the Great Pyramid of Giza, the largest of the pyramids. Khufu, son of Snefru, was the second ruler of the 4th Dynasty around 2680 B.C. and ruled Egypt for 23 years.
Both boats, made from Lebanese cedar and Egyptian acacia trees, were originally discovered in 1954. One of the boats is on display at a museum near the pyramids.
The second boat, which is now undergoing the restoration, remained buried. It is thought to be smaller than its sister ship, which is about 140 feet (43 meters) long.
The head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mustafa Amin, said Egyptologists began taking samples of the wood for restoration on Monday.
Dr. Mostafa Amin said that the team would collect samples of the boat’s wooden beams for analysis in Egypt and Japan in order to draw up accurate plans for the boat's restoration in situ.
Mr. Oshimora, Head of Waseda University Team said “The project started in 1992 and the problem we are facing is the condition of the wood as it needs special and delicate treatment before the restoration process and we will take sample of about 60 wooden pieces out of 600 pieces was found in the pit.” He added “The wood processing would take 2 years and the restoration and reconstruction of the boat should finish in 5 years and we hope that the political situation in Egypt will be stable so we could complete this project with no delays.”