Boat Pits


Several long and narrow pits were found south and east of the king's pyramid, north of the causeway and between the queens' pyramids as well. Some pits were found to contain the dismantled remains of the boats which were presumably used in the king's last journey, his burial.
One boat, buried in one of the southern pits, has been rebuilt and can now be seen in the Boat Museum, next to the king's pyramid.

The reassembled boat, made of cedar wood that was imported from the Lebanon, measures 43.3m in length. Its prow and stern were shaped like papyrus stalks.

The reassembled funerary boat of Kheops, now in a museum next to the Great Pyramid.

The reassembled funerary boat of Kheops, now in a museum next to the Great Pyramid.

The other southern boat pit was examined in the 1980s and was also found to contain a dismantled boat, which was left in situ.

Contrary to the eastern pits, the two southern pits are located outside of the now lost enclosure wall that marked the boundaries of the pyramid complex. This seems to imply that the boats of the eastern pits may once have been part of the deceased king's funerary cult, for his transportation in the hereafter, while the southern boats were not.
The southern pits also differ from the eastern pits, in that they were rectangular rather than boat-shaped. The fact that they were dismantled is seen as an indication that they had been part of the royal funeral. Any objects that participated in the royal funeral were considered improper for further use and appear to have been ritually taken apart, as opposed to destroyed, and buried. If this also applies to the two boats in the southern pits, then we may well have here the two boats that once carried the mortal remains of the king, along with some of the objects that he would need in his afterlife, to their final resting place.

© Jacques Kinnaer 1997 - 2017