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Khufu ship, Egypt. Source: Olaf Tausch / CC by SA 3.0.

Ancient Egypt's Colossal Super Ships (Video)

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The ancient Egyptians were renowned for their impressive super ships, known as "sekhets," or “solar barges”. These colossal vessels were remarkable feats of maritime engineering and played a pivotal role in Egypt's maritime dominance. One notable example is the Khufu ship near the Great Pyramid of Giza. This 200-foot-long wooden marvel showcased the Egyptians' exceptional shipbuilding skills. Its construction technique involved lashing planks together, creating a flexible and sturdy hull. These vessels utilized natural fibers like plied vegetable fiber ropes or twisted branches of yew and willow, allowing for easy maintenance and ensuring strength and durability.

The sekhets were not only impressive in their construction but also in their capabilities. They facilitated the transportation of massive cargoes, including monumental obelisks from Aswan. These immense structures, weighing over 7,300 tons when loaded, mesmerized onlookers along the riverbanks, attesting to the Egyptians' mastery of maritime logistics. Beyond their practicality, the sekhets were a testament to the ancient Egyptians' cultural and engineering prowess. They symbolized the Egyptians' command over the Nile and the seas, as well as their dedication to monumental projects and trade expansion.

Top image: Khufu ship, Egypt. Source: Olaf Tausch / CC by SA 3.0.

By Robbie Mitchell



Charles Bowles's picture

Ancient Egyptians were master ship buiders more than 5,000 years ago.   Truly amazing that these ships could carry loads of 7,300 tons for hundreds of miles along the Nile River, and the deep blue seas...

Charles Bowles

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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