French archaeologists have discovered a roughly 5,000-year-old pharaonic solar boat in an expedition in Abu Rawash, west of the Egyptian capital, the antiquities ministry said on Wednesday.
The boat dates back to the era of King Den of the First Dynasty, around 3,000 BC. "It is in good condition," Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Ali said in a statement.
He said that the French Institute for Oriental Archaeology had conducted excavations at the area that unearthed the remains of the wooden boat, which included 11 sheets of local wood, each six meters long and 1.5 meters wide.
Ali said that the items had been taken to the Egyptian Museum for maintenance before going on display at the National Museum for Egyptian Civilization.
Hussein Abdel Basir, general supervisor of the Grand Egyptian Museum project, said the boat was used for funerals, and that ancient Egyptians used to bury it next to the dead for them to use it in the hereafter.
In 1954 an Egyptian archaeologist discovered what may be the Pharaoh Khufu's 43-meter solar ship, made of cedar, in a Giza pyramid. The 4,500-year-old intact vessel is on display near the pyramid.