At the Abusir pyramids site south of Cairo, a team found the 4,500-year-old remains of the wooden vessel, which archaeologists believe belonged to a prominent member of society, according to the antiquities ministry.
Parts of the 59-foot (18-meter)-long boat, along with pottery, were found covered in sand and lying on a bed of stones by a team from the Czech Institute of Archaeology at Charles University. The vessel is believed to date back to the end of the Third or beginning of the Fourth Dynasty.
“This is a highly unusual discovery since boats of such a size and construction were during this period reserved solely for top members of the society, who usually belonged to the royal family,” the director of the Czech mission said in the statement.
The remains were found buried near the mastaba’s southern wall, indicating the “extraordinary social position of the owner of the tomb,” Miroslav Barta said.
“It is by all means a remarkable discovery,” Barta said. “The careful excavation and recording of the Abusir boat will make a considerable contribution to our understanding of ancient Egyptian watercraft and their place in funerary cult. And where there is one boat, there very well may be more.”