Model boats (TAA i.3.1)

Howard Carter's notes made in preparation of the complete publication of Tutankhamun's tomb
This section:
Concept & Direction: Jaromir Malek
Scanning: Jenni Navratil
Transcription and editing: Cat Warsi and Jaromir Malek
Coordination: Elizabeth Fleming

TAA i.3.1.1

TAA i.3.1.2

Le Page Renouf (B. of D.)

Look-out on ships Pl. III. p. 30.

The Rising Sun Cynocephalus ape saluting the sun's disk supported by an Ankh with human arms, standing upon a ded symbol with a goddess on either side. From Chap. XVI (B. of D.)
The Rising and the Setting of the Sun
Pl. IV p. 34. The two goddesses say, "I am
(R. side). thy sister Isis",
(Left side). I am thy sister Nephthys."
The ded symbol is a symbol of both Osiris and of the east. The sign Ankh (which primarily means rise up) rises out of Tat, and with human hands proceeding from it raises up the sun.

TAA i.3.1.3

<> det. boat, ship Exx. <> dpt 'ship'; <> hcw 'ships'
<> is doubtless dpt-ntr 'the divine bark'.

<> <> var. <> wi3 'sacred bark'. Det. divine boats, Exx.
<> mcndt 'bark of the dawn', the morning bark of the Sun god.
<> Nsmt 'The Neshmet-bark', i.e. the sacred bark of Abydos. Also det. sail, when divine journeys are meant, Ex. <> d3i 'cross' sky, said of Rec.

<> Det. in <> hmw 'Steering oar'

<> old writing Msktt, 'the Evening bark of the Sun-god. (var. <>)

TAA i.3.1.4


Models carved out of a log of wood, shaped and planed with an adze.

Eastern or Mediterranean type:-
Carvel = Caravel; carvel-built; with planks flush; planks or blocks of wood laid edge to edge so that they present a smooth surface without, fastened on the inside with wooden dowels, and thwarts or cross-pieces to yoke or tie the sides.

Thwart or Thwarts, cross-piece or cross-tie; whence oarsman's bench placed across boat; whence suggested seat for those that plied the paddle or oar.

Scandinavian type:-
Clinker-built, made with external planks overlapping downwards and fastened with clinched copper nails; when such plank is laid on so as to overlap the one below it.

Stem and stern pieces
Stem, curved timber or metal piece to which the ships' sides are joined at the fore end, as from stem to stern, from end to end; false stem, slump-edged piece in front of stem serving as cut-water.

Bow and Stern
Turned up; the two ends rising in a curved line

TAA i.3.1.5

which in some instances ends in blunt points, and in others are curved back and over at the stem or stern and terminate in an ornamentation, very frequently of the familiar lotus form; or the planking convergent in stem or stern post; or joined together fore and aft by bulkheads filled in.

Bulkheads, upright partition, compartment, stall.

Beam, ships breadth; beams, horizontal cross-timbers of ship supporting deck and joining sides (starboard and larboard = port side). (Sufficient beam to cause stability)

Starboard = right side of the vessel looking forward
Port side (larboard) = left-hand side of ship looking forward.

Bulging out of sides
Flattening of the bottom, bottom round, rounded bottom.

Keel piece. Keel proper or true keel, lowest longitudinal timber of vessel, on which framework of the whole is built up; combination of iron plates serving same purpose in iron vessel; false keel, attached to bottom of true keel to protect it.

TAA i.3.1.6

Camber, slight convexity above, arched form, (of beam, deck, etc); (also cambered-beam) slightly arched beam.

Deck, platform of planks of wood extending from side to side of ship or part of it (in large ships main, middle, lower deck, also upper or spar deck above main, and orlop below lower; poop and forecastle decks, short ones in stern and bow.

Poop Stern of ship; aftermast and highest deck
Forecastle, fo'c'sle, short raised deck at bow;
(with overhanging forecastle and poop decks)
Flat deck or Cambered deck

Bulwark, ship's side above deck, that acts as a defence.

Rowing space = deck (behind bulwarks)

Truss over crutches from stem to stern
Crutch; (Naut) various forked contrivances.

Steering-gear: paddle rudder; long steering paddles which operate on upright crutches, and cross-pieces which form part of the deck of the poop.

TAA i.3.1.7

longer axis of boat or ship = Max. overall length.

Carvel- built, high stem to stern, 'look-outs' fore and aft (stem and stern), stern steering paddles.

The ends, stem and stern (bow and stern) rising high above water.

Blades of, shafts of, paddles.

Flotilla. Small fleet, fleet of boats or small ships.

Overhanging forecastle and poop decks, on which are 'look-outs' (or pavilions), and on the poop deck the crutches and cross pieces for the steering-paddles.

TAA i.3.1.8

Celestial Barks (308, 312)
Representing a kind of light craft, of primitive form, developed from the raft or reed float, flat bottomed, capable of navigating shallow waters with minimum draught, and maximum load, and in shape reminding one of the Venetian Gondola.

Bow and stern turned up: the two ends rising in a curved line which are curved back and over at the stem and stern and terminate in the familiar papyrus umbel.

(?) The planking ((?) carvel- built) Joined together fore and aft by bulkheads filled in.

No thwarts (cross beams) shown.

Bulwarks, showing flat main deck

Steering gear comprises 4 small paddles which operate upon arms tied in upright poles (with hawk heads), and cross-pieces which form a sort of overhanging poop deck.

TAA i.3.1.9


313. Model boat for hunting the hippopotamus and fowling.

A primitive form of CANOE developed from the reed float.

The bow and stern rising in a curved line and ending in papyrus umbels.

288, 286
307, 311. Solar? day & night

a kind of light craft of primitive form, of the type developed from the reed float, reed bottom flattened under the bow and stern, capable of navigating shallow waters with minimum draught and maximum load, in shape reminding one of the Venetian Gondola.

Carvel built joined fore and aft to the stem and stern pieces.

TAA i.3.1.10


Erman, Egyptian Religion.

p. 7. The sun, moon and stars sail in ships over the heavenly ocean.

The sun disappears every evening in the west to re-appear in the morning in the east; a question usually solved by the Egyptians by imagining a second heaven under the earth, which the sun traverses by night. It is a dark place, inhabited by the dead, lighted at night by the sun when it sails through it in his bark.

p. 11 ... in the evening arrives at the Mountain of the West, where he is received by the goddess of the West. Here he quits his morning bark in which he travels by day, and enters his evening bark to begin his overnight journey through the underworld. There he shines forth for the great god Osiris, the Eternal Lord.

p. 59 He traverses the heavens in peace and is Lord of the Evening- and Morning-bark.

A whether by or by night

p. 89 Thus he journeys over the heavens as companions of the Sun-God
By night he (Thoth the moon god) takes him to his bark, and thus he traverses the heavens like Re, and traverses the heavens like Thoth, eternally.

TAA i.3.1.11



Sepulchral deities, Osiris, Anubis, and the Goddess of the West

p. 18 West (<>) is netherworld, which the Egyptians conceived of as an intricate labyrinth of interconnecting portals and tunnels.

p. 20 It is necessary to admit without hesitation that the idea of a mystical potency inherent in the images of things is a characteristically Egyptian conception; this is obvious in the case of the shawabti- figures, the model boats deposited in tombs.

p. 45 Concerned with his funeral and sepulchral existence

p. 45 to be efficacious to benefit the dead man without further human intervention

p. 46 the closing of the burial chamber marked the beginning of a new phase in the existence of the dead king, who, as we must never forget, was regarded as immortal.

p. 46-47 Voyage to Abydos (= the funerary pilgrimage.) "Coming in peace from Abydos, the god resting on the great seat, ..."
Midships there is an ornate cabin

TAA i.3.1.12


p. 47 "Faring northward in peace to Abydos in order to ferry across the god to his festival and in his sailing of the beginning of the year ..."

The inscription shows that a visit to Abydos was intended, where the deceased should take part in the festivals of Osiris.

This journey is a sort of pilgrimage to the holiest spot in Egypt

p. 51 The funeral procession to the bed-chamber (i.e. a figurative name for Burial Chamber)

TAA i.3.1.13 recto



Dear Carter,

I am very glad to be able to send you my notes on the Boat-Models.

Luckily, before I saw you, I had arranged to take two or three days holiday this week, so I was able to complete my work at once.

I apologise sincerely for my past

TAA i.3.1.13 verso

delay & can only beg your forgiveness - it was not occasioned by lack of interest.

My notes contain points which I should certainly like to discuss with you, so I very much hope that you may have time before you leave.

I could manage any morning you like to name, within the next fortnight.

Yours sincerely

G. S. Laird Clowes

TAA i.3.1.14

Black folder,
p. 3 no. 3
Model Boats from Tomb by G. S. Laird Clowes.

TAA i.3.1.15 recto

(STORE ROOM) LIST NAUTICAL SERIES (Nos. underlined means photos)


Nos. 285
286 both the same - large size ((?) diurnal)

311 both the same - small size (? Nocturnal)


312 variation only by steering gear and eyes on bows wanting)




(?) 321
(?) 334 (only one steering paddle).

FOR (?) USE (of funeral pigrimage) = 7 "

284 (with cross-ties)
306 variations only in decoration



287 variations only in decoration total 18 "

TAA i.3.1.15 verso


Nos. 273, 276, 284, 285, 286, 287, 306, 307, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 321, 334, 336.


TAA i.3.1.16

Boat-Models found in the Tomb of Tutankhamen.

by G.S. Laird Clowes.

TAA i.3.1.17


Sailing boat with one steering paddle Plan 375
Ditto. with cabin Photo 334
Ditto. ditto. with kiosk Plan 437
Barge with two steering paddle Photo 310
Plan 597
Ditto. with deck beams showing Photo 284
Large sailing boat with two steering paddles Photo (037) 336
Boat painted to simulate reed-canoe Photo 313
Plan 464
"Moon Bark" Photo 308
"Solar Bark" Photo 311
Ditto. with Cabin Photo required 286
Alabaster boat Photo (1221) 578

TAA i.3.1.18


Previous to the discovery of the Tutankhamen tomb, the available information as to the types of boats in use in Egypt during the XVIII Dynasty consisted, almost entirely, of pictorial representations, in two dimensions only. Consequently the discovery of thirty-five models of boats, eighteen in the Treasury and seventeen in the Annex, has thrown much light on the types of boats then in use. For the representation of boats has always presented considerable difficulties to the draughtsman and painter, while the Egyptian method of depicting them in exact profile makes it particularly difficult to appreciate their very considerable width and their well-rounded form.

The models are all of the class technically known as block-models, that is, they are carved out of a single block of wood, or of several blocks of wood joined together, but are not built up out of a number of small planks and beams as were the boats which they represent. As a result, although they produce with considerable accuracy the external shape of the actual boats, they give no information - except in one particular instance, to be mentioned later - as to the details of construction and the methods by which the boats were built. All, however, represent carvel-built vessels - with planks set edge to edge, & not overlapping - as have always been the great majority of Mediterranean craft, even to the present day.

Viewed from the standpoint of design, the models fall into two very distinct classes, those which illustrate the boats which were in actual daily use on the Nile at that period and those which represent boats with a religious or ceremonial significance.

In the latter class the decorations are archaic and there is much that has survived from the primitive papyrus canoe and its immediate successors, just as our own state-coaches, state barges and royal

TAA i.3.1.19


yachts have always preserved the tradition of previous generations.

But a review of these religious models is further complicated by the problem as to whether they represent boats which at that time had any real existence. For while they may reproduce the boats in which the funeral procession of Tutankhamen was borne across the river, or those in which he made a pilgrimage to Abydos, they may equally have been constructed in order to provide a substitute for a funeral or religious progress which tradition demanded, but which never actually took place. Or they may even have represented the material for a ceremony which was to be carried out in the other world.

A fresco in the Tomb of the Two Sculptors shows one such funeral boat, carrying a shrine, placed on the deck of another larger but very similar boat. Another in the Tomb of Apy depicts one of these boats again bearing its shrine, in course of building but fixed firmly on a sledge. A similar ceremonial boat, too small for practical use, is found in the well-known processional boat of Amen, depicted shown both at Deir el Bahri and at Karnak. In view therefore of the existence of these miniature boats, it seems at least doubtful whether the models of boats of the funeral or religious type present any real practical boats then in existence.

To turn now to the models which appear to represent the ordinary boats of the time, it is really immaterial whether they depict the boats which actually took part in a funeral or religious procession or which should, by tradition, have done so. For a comparison with the frescos of other, but closely contemporary tombs, shows that such boats were then in common use.

These models of boats of the time fall into two classes:-
1. Boats with one steering paddle.
2. Boats with two steering paddles and projecting stem and stern post.

The boats with one steering paddle are represented by

TAA i.3.1.20


twelve small, and only slightly decorated, models all found in the Annex, and by four more highly decorated models, each with a single cabin and two with a kiosk forward also, only one of which however was found in the Treasury.

The twelve more simple models, as will be seen from the plan of No. 375, represent spoon-shaped boats rather more than five breadths in length. They are all pointed at the bow, while at the stern there is a curious and characteristic longitudinal cleft which forms a most effective seating for the steering paddle which passes through it. Despite their entirely different shape of hull, this division in the stern immediately recalls the very similar cleft through which the rudder of the existing Chinese junks and sampans is raised and lowered.

A little forward of the stern there is a heavy cross-beam, inset in the deck and projecting over each side, in the centre of which is stepped a vertical post. The top of the steering paddle is lashed to the top of this post in such a way that while the paddle is supported it can yet be turned freely about the axis of its shaft, while its rotation is controlled by a vertical tiller which projects downwards just abaft the post. A very similar arrangement of post and steering paddle is still common on the Ganges, but there the paddle always passes over the port quarter and never through the stern.

A mast is stepped amidships and on this is hoisted a single square sail. As however in every example of this class of boat the mast and sail are either missing or badly damaged, it can only be assumed that the rigging was similar to that of the three fully rigged models which will be described later, even if somewhat more simple. It is worth mentioning however that some of these models show a peg driven into the deck just before the mast, which may well have served a similar purpose to that of a heavy piece of timber which still exists in Arab Dhows. In these vessels the mast is stepped against the after side of the

TAA i.3.1.21


main beam, while on the forward side of this beam there is a similar but smaller spar stepped in the keel and cut off a little above the beam. A lashing which passes round the mast and also round the head of this spar adds greatly to the security of the mast.

None of the models of this class show any cabin, and reference to contemporary frescoes show that boats similar to those represented were in general use as fishing boats, small cargo boats and for general transport, throughout the XVIII Dynasty. One such small boat is seen in the Deir el Bahari fresco of the expedition to Punt and similar boats appear in every-day scenes in the Tomb of Amenemhet, Huy and Apy (the last of the time of Rameses I).

Some of the frescos make it quite clear that these boats were built up of comparatively short lengths of timber, in the same way as were the boats of the XII Dynasty. In these latter boats the sections were very nearly semicircular and while there was no projecting keel, stem or stern post, the skin planking along the central longitudinal line was laid first, while the spaces between this and the gunwales were filled in later, and very irregularly. Owing to the absence of ribs, the deck-beams constituted a most important structural feature and frequently projected along the sides beyond the skin-planking, as in some of the Tutankhamen models.

It is probably, that except for their cleft sterns, the construction of the boats represented by this set of models was exactly similar to those of the XII Dynasty and it is worth noting that the same construction is still to be found in the similarly shaped "dinghis" of the Ganges. There, however, iron fastenings now replace the older wooden pegs, while European influence has caused the addition of a few ribs.

As theses models represent the ordinary Nile boats of the time, and are also more numerous than any other type - twelve in all - it would seem likely that their function was to tow

TAA i.3.1.22


some of the more ceremonial boats which will be described later.

In the same class, so far as their hulls are concerned, come four other models all with a cleft stern, a single steering paddle and a mast and square sail, but which have each a cabin amidships - while three of them have also a decorative kiosk forward (see Photo No. 334 and Plan No. 437). The hulls of these models are also more highly decorated and they may well be regarded as representing the intermediate stage between a cargo vessel and a royal barge.

The models of vessels with double steering paddles include a series of eight barges without mast or sail and three large vessels equipped with mast and sail. Each of the eleven has a cabin in the centre of the vessel and a kiosk at each end, but in the case of the barges the cabin is of a curious "double roofed" form. In these barges the two small kiosks or "look-outs", one forward just abaft the bow and the other aft, behind the rudders, are plain rectangular structures which appear to be little more than shelters for part of the crew, but in the masted and rigged vessels they are much larger and form the most highly decorated portions of the vessel. They both face inwards towards the centre of the ship and have the slightly curved roofs so typical of small shrines.

To return to the barges without masts, the curious cabin with a smaller upper storey, somewhat suggests some of the "harem" barges seen in frescoes of the XII Dynasty tombs of Beni Hasan, where the women's heads are shown as projecting above the roof of the cabin. The small kiosks are very similar to the "look-outs" found in the frescos of Hatshepsut's expedition to Punt in the temple at Deir el Bahari and project considerably beyond the sides of the vessels.

It is, however, the hull-forms of these barges which is most remarkable for they all have added bow and stern pieces which are feathered into the body of the hull at each end.

TAA i.3.1.23


These produce what is virtually a keel over more than half of the length of the vessel, a very important development from the normal keel-less boats of the Nile Valley. It should be noted, however, that nearly all this keel is out of the water and so, apparently, useless.

The bow-piece is cut off straight at its forward end at an angle of about 45o and so is the stern-piece, while both usually show at their lower edges a curious but unexplained notch which is quite unmistakable. These added stern and bow pieces - with the notch - can be found in many of the frescos of the XVIII Dynasty, Tomb of Payemrê B.C.1501, Tomb of Huy, etc., but do not appear at any other period.

In the matter of the added bow and stern pieces of this form it is worth noting that they appear in Egypt only during the XVIII Dynasty and are never seen again on the Nile. Somewhat similarly, over the greater part of the delta of the Ganges, spoon-shaped boats without added bow or stern are normal, yet there is one small area, near Patna, in which vessels with added bow and stern pieces are commonly met with.

It appears in general that with further knowledge it ought to be possible to date an Egyptian ship-model with accuracy from the shapes of its bow and stern - provided that the model represents a type of boat in ordinary use and not a pseudo-archaic type made for ceremonial purposes.

As examples, the models found in the Beni Hasan Tombs of the XI and XII Dynasties have flat round bows, sterns slightly pointed and curled up so as to form an attachment for the single steering-paddle and the bottom of each hull exaggerated in depth and flattened off so as to form a convenient stand for the model. All these features are entirely absent from the boat-models and frescos of the XVIII Dynasty.

Another point of interest in these barge models is that two out of the eight show the "deck-beams" projecting at each side, in the fashion of the large ships of Queen Hatshepsut.

TAA i.3.1.24


Insert on p. 7 as shown

The tomb of Amenemhet which dates from the reign of Tutmosis III 1501 B.C., shows a vessel very similar to one of these sailing vessels, with one steering oar and a split stern, towing a "Solar Bark" with a lotus stern turned back on itself like one of Tutankhamen's "Solar Barks" and with a throne amidships. This is stated to represent an imaginary and posthumous pilgrimage to the shrine of Osiris Abydos such as should have been made - during their lifetimes - by Amenemhet and his wife.

In the tomb of Payemrê, of about the same date, the towing of the "Solar Bark" - bearing a figure of Payemrê on the throne - is done by two sailing boats exactly similar to Tutankhamen's barges, except that the latter have no mast or sail. The Payemrê boats have long added bow and stern with a "notch" in each and also "look-outs" forward and aft. In this case the scene seems to represent a real voyage to Abydos made in the man's lifetime.

As to the question of the parts which the boats represented by the models took or were supposed to take in a river procession the eight barges, being without mast or sail, obviously had to be towed, while the twelve small cargo boats presumably did most of the towing, but as the following notes show, arrangements seem to have been so various that no precise allocation of duties can be reasonably attempted.

TAA i.3.1.25


and still common in the boats of the Ganges.

In view of the close general similarity of this class of barge it is of some importance to note the relative dimensions of the class. In the mean the breadth of the vessel is about double the depth amidships, while the length is six times the breadth. The first factor is common to wooden boats almost all the world over, but the second is about double what is normal for a wooden sailing boat. Thus their abnormally great length very definitely indicates that the vessels were designed as river tow-barges.

The method of arranging the double paddles for steering is as follows: Each vessel has two cross-beams laid athwartships just in front of the after "look-out". In the foremost of these are stepped two short vertical posts, connected near their tops by a cross-bar. On each side of the vessel is placed a large paddle, which projects downwards into the water at an angle of about 45o and is secured to one of the upright posts by lashings which allow it to be rotated about its axis. The forward edge of the paddle rests against the after side of the second athwartship beam, while from the upper part of each paddle - in front of the upright post - a slightly curved tiller projects downwards. It is a somewhat interesting difference that while in the XII Dynasty models of Beni Hassan all the tillers are abaft these posts, in the XVIII Dynasty Tutankhamen models all the tillers of the vessels with double steering paddles are placed forward of the posts. In the class of boats with only one steering paddle, however - the ordinary river boats with split sterns - the older fashion of the tiller aft persists (see No. 334).

Insert from p. 6A

The Large Sailing Vessels.

Three models of these vessels were found (Nos. 336, 276 and 321), all closely similar except in very small details. The hulls are of different form to those of any other of the

TAA i.3.1.26


models, for while the bows are pointed and only slightly raised, the sterns are flattened on their upper surface and spread out into the semblance of a horizontal fish-tail. This unusual form may perhaps be derived from the flattened sterns of the ceremonial reed canoes.

The deck fittings consist of a cabin amidships through the centre of which the mast is stepped and the roof of which is approached by a flight of steps. There are also two highly decorated kiosks, gilded pavilions or shrines, already referred to, placed one at each end of the vessel.

The two steering paddles and their attachments are exactly similar to those just described for the barges except that each paddle is decorated at its upper end with a carved human head, while the vertical posts are rather wider at their upper ends.

Fortunately, Nos. 336 and 276 are in such excellent preservation with mast, sail and rigging all intact, that their fittings deserve record in considerable detail. For they constitute the only authority in the round for the rigging of sailing vessels of the XVIII Dynasty, a style totally different from that seen in the sailing boat models of the XII Dynasty. No. 321, however, is considerably damaged, while such differences, from the other two as are still visible are of little importance.

The Rigging of the Large Sailing Vessel No. 336.

1. As the mast is stepped through the cabin, no peg - such as is found in smaller sailing boats - is visible.
2. The length of mast from head to deck is about two-thirds of the length of the vessel.
3. The mast is fitted with upper B's squared - with two holes aside - and lower B's rounded - with four holes aside. B's are the term applied, from their form, to similar fittings used on the bowsprits of latter-day sailing ships.
4. There are no shrouds or backstays.
5. The fore-stay is knotted and looped round the mast-head above the upper B's, then led over the forward cross-beam of forward pavilion, which it fouls, and then knotted round bow.
6. The lower yard, or spreader, is curved upwards at the

TAA i.3.1.27


yard-arms and is about the same length as the vessel.
7. The lifts of the lower yard. From the starboard yard arm No. 1 is made fast to yard-arm, passes through uppermost hole in starboard lower B from aft to forward and then is made fast to yard, forming No. 5 lift. It is secured by means of several turns and a half hitch. Similarly Nos. 2 and 6 are continuous and so are Nos. 3 and 7 and Nos. 4 and 8. Similarly for the port yard arm, with the outer lifts passing through the B from aft. These lifts therefore are standing lifts, for they cannot readily be let go.
8. The sheets - continuations of the above lifts - lead aft, on starboard side from the 6th lift and on port side from 4th lift, while amidships the yard is lashed loosely round the mast by means of a "Bouge", as it was called in Mediaeval times.
9. The sail appears to be quite free of the lower yard but sheets must have attached it, when unfurled to the lower yard-arms. In the Beni Hasan XII Dynasty models & also in the Deir el Bahari frescoes the sail was laced to the lower yard.
10. The upper yard is also about the same length as the vessel and also curves upwards at the yard-arms, but less than does the lower yard.
11. The sail is laced to the upper yard with a continuous spiral lacing.
12. The halyards consist of two thin ropes which are made fast to the upper yard a little to each side of its middle point and then pass through the two lower holes in the upper B's. From the mast-head they lead downwards and are made fast to cross-bar which connects the steering posts. In the Deir el Bahari frescos these ropes are made fast near the bases of the steering-posts. (Since in No.276, it is the halyards, leading as in this model through the lower holes of the upper B's, which are thick ropes and the lifts of the upper yard, leading through the upper holes, which are thin it is probable that in No. 336 the size of the ropes has been interchanged, for the halyards have too take most of the weight of both yard and sail.)
13. The lifts from the upper yard-arms pass from forward aft

TAA i.3.1.28


through the upper holes of the upper B's and then down to the beam between the steering posts, where they are made fast with the halyards.
14. Amidships the upper yard is lashed down to the lower yard.
15. Both upper and lower yards are in two pieces, scarfed and lashed amidships.
16. There is a brace from each upper yard-arm, leading aft.
17. There are "stops" round the furled sail, to secure it.

Differences in No.276.

3. The lower B's have only three holes aside.
5. The lower end of the fore-stay is broken away below the lower knot and there is no sign of a lashing round the bow.
6 & 10. Both yards are nearly straight and each is made in one piece.
7. The lifts of the lower yard are much thinner and only six aside.
8. The sheets have disappeared.
12. and 13. The halyards of the upper yard are thick and lifts thin, as was probably the case in reality.
12. The halyards are tied up under stern in a very curious fashion, and there is no cross-beam between the steering-posts.
14. Any ropes lashing the yards to the mast, which there may have been, have carried away.

TAA i.3.1.29

Boats of Ceremony.

In this section are included those models which represent vessels which were not used in the ordinary life of the Egyptians of Tutankhamen's time, and of which it is at least doubtful whether they represent anything which then floated on water. More probably such "boats" were only carried in processions.

These models include two which are decorated to represent reed canoes, two of the type generally known as "Moon Barks", with incurving lotus ends, and four of the "Solar Bark" type, with vertical lotus ends.

The two models of the reed-canoe design definitely represent wooden-built boats which have been painted in the fashion of reed canoes, in green and blue, bound with yellow, rather than structures made of reeds.

The actual reed canoe, or float, which is so frequently shown in hunting scenes from the Saqqara period onwards consist of a more or less hollow mass of papyrus reeds, bound together into the form of a canoe and having in its centre an independent bundle of reeds on which the hunter stood. This added bundle was of great importance as it provided further, and very necessary, buoyancy, while the canoe-form of the outer body facilitated progress through the water. The added bundle can be seen with unusual definition in a fresco in the tomb of Nakht, dating from the XVIII Dynasty. Similar papyrus canoes are still in use on Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile, where the independent bundle of reeds makes it possible to transport coffee in a reasonable dry condition.

Both models, however, show no sign of this feature, while the edges are very much too sharp to represent an actual reed construction. The ends of the model curve upwards slightly but are very much flattened-out above, while they are painted to

TAA i.3.1.30

represent the spread-out ends of a papyrus bundle, with rather elaborate bindings - also in paint. There are no steering paddles or other fittings.

The two "Moon Barks", or perhaps "Celestial Ferryboats", are also of simple construction and show horizontal stripes of paint along the sides, quite suggestive of a reed-boat origin. They are canoe-shaped, with both ends turned upwards and backwards and carry at their extremities the flat disc which represents a lotus. No. 308, which had an "eye" painted on each side of the bow, is provided with a pair of steering paddles fitted in the manner already described, excepting for the absence of a cross-bar. The top of each of the vertical posts is carved with a hawk head, but the tillers are missing. No. 312, which was possibly never completed, shows no painted "eye" nor any arrangement for steering.

The four remaining wooden models are of the type known as "Solar Barks". Each is made with vertical lotus finials at both ends, but at the stern the stalk of the lotus is bent sharply forward, in reverse, before it becomes vertical. Amidships there is a gilt throne, while two have also a double-roofed cabin [?? Fact to be verified] forward. There are a pair of steering-paddles aft, fitted as has been previously described, except that there is no cross-bar between the vertical posts. The painting of the sides is similar to that of the "Moon Barks" and there is an "eye" forward, on each side.

The question of the development of steering arrangements in Egyptian boats as appeared rather complicated, for as far back as the V Dynasty, large vessels were provided with several steering paddles. These, however, were held in the hands of the steersmen and were not apparently attached to the ship. Later, in the XII Dynasty, there is seldom any sign of more than one steering paddle for each vessel, but this, besides

TAA i.3.1.31

being very large, was permanently lashed to a heavy vertical post and also to the upturned stern of the ship, so that all its weight was taken off the steersman, who was further assisted by a vertical tiller placed aft of the post. In the XVIII Dynasty this arrangement was maintained for the ordinary transport boats, except for the further improvement that the steering paddle passed through a deep groove in the stern, but on the other hand, big ships were fitted with a steering paddle on each quarter, as illustrated in the frescoes of the expedition to Punt. Thus the double steering paddles of Tutankhamen's barges doubtless marks them as being vessels of considerable size. But this explanation hardly applies to the double steering-paddles of the "Solar Barks", so it would seem that the great religious importance of these vessels made it necessary that they should be fitted in the style of large ships.

The rigging of Tutankhamen's large sailing ships is essentially the same as that of Queen Hatshepsut's ships on the frescos of the expedition to Punt, but it is important to note that both bows and sterns are very different in the two instances. Whether these great differences can be accounted for by changes in fashion in a period of less than a ?? century and a half or whether they are due to the religious character of the former, as compared with the strictly mercantile or warlike employment of the latter, needs further investigation.

The Alabaster Boat

The decorative model in alabaster of a boat bearing a shrine should probably not be taken too seriously as representing a vessel of this period, any more than should the silver "nefs" of the late Middle Ages in Europe, but the two gazelle heads, both looking forward, which finish off the bow and stern, find an easy parallel in the ram-headed

TAA i.3.1.32

processional boat of Amen, as represented in a fresco at Deir el Bahari.

The small female figure at the after end is either punting with a pole - a practise not often shown in Egyptian art - or else steering the vessel in the archaic fashion, with no fixed steering paddle.

(October 2, 2009)

Back to Tutankhamun: Anatomy of an Excavation