Chapter 21 - Jaws

Egyptian Ships

The ancient Egyptians built all sorts of ships for travelling up and down the Nile, and even across seas like the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. Ships were used for getting about, for trading, transporting goods and blocks of stone for building, and for ferrying the dead over to the west side of the Nile for burial.

Ships were built of wood, which was scarce in Egypt. Valuable cedar had to be imported from Lebanon. Travelling south was easier as the wind blew from the north, so sails could be used. Usually ships had one very large sail. When travelling north, ships had to be rowed by teams of men. The rowers stood. Here are some pictures of ships. Also, read about the full size ship found near the Great Pyramid here.


Wooden model of a funerary boat















         Alabaster model of a funerary boat from

                     Tutankhamun's tomb







      Reconstruction of ship from mural of Punt expedition in Hatshepsut's temple














               Tomb painting showing standing rowers





The god Horus was represented in the form of a falcon - either a Peregrine or more likely a Lanner falcon. The markings round the eye are the basis of the eye of Horus symbol. The falcon was sacred to the Egyptians as a symbol of Horus, and also Ra, the sun god. They were also used for hunting. See also the section on Horus' temple at Edfu, chapter 6.