French archaeologists have discovered a 5,000-year-old wooden boat used by pharaohs in an expedition in Egypt.
Archeologist working on the newly discovered boat - photo Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities
The boat is the oldest, largest, and best-preserved vessels from antiquity and has been identified as the world's oldest intact ship. The previous oldest boat, also discovered in Egypt, was around 4,500 years old.
The significant discovery was made in Abu Rawash, west of Cairo, the antiquities minister Mohammed Ibrahim said.
'It goes back to the era of Pharaoh Den, one of the First Dynasty kings,' said Ibrahim.
The six-metre long and 1.5-metre wide pharaonic solar boat 'is in good condition,' he added.
Its planks are now undergoing renovation before it is put on display in a museum, Middle-East-Online reported.
The pharaohs believed that solar boats, buried close to them at death, would transport them in the afterlife.
The boat's wooden sheets were transported to the planned National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation were they will be restored.
Once the museum is built, it is expected they will be put on display at some point next year.
The group of French archeologists were working for the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology (IFAO).
The group first started its excavation work in Abu Rawash in the early 1900s.
In 1954 an Egyptian archaeologist discovered what may be the Pharaoh Khufu's 43-metre solar ship, made of cedar, in a Giza pyramid.
The 4,500 year-old intact vessel is on display near the pyramid. This was made possible with a $10million grant from the Japanese government. (See http://www.sail-world.com/index_d.cfm?nid=94284!Sail-World_story.)