A team of Egyptian and Japanese scientists lifting the first of forty one limestone slabs weighing some 16 tons. Below are fragments of an ancient wooden ship belonging to Khufu – the pharaoh credited with the building of the Great Pyramid
AP Photo/Khalil Hamra

The Mainichi Daily News reports on 21 February that –

Archaeologists on Monday began restoration on a 4,500-year-old wooden boat found next to the pyramids, one of Egypt’s main tourist attractions. The boat is one of two that were buried next to the Pharaoh Khufu, spokesmen for a joint Egyptian-Japanese team of archaeologists said. The boats are believed to have been intended to carry pharaohs into the afterlife.

Last year in June, a team of scientists lifted the first of 41 limestone slabs each weighing about 16 tons to uncover the pit in which the ancient ship was buried, said Sakuji Yoshimura, professor from Japan’s Waseda University. At the time, experts said restoration would likely take about four years and that at its completion, the boat would be placed on display at the Solar Boat Museum near the pyramids, which routinely attract millions of tourists and boost one of Egypt’s most important industries. The team had initially thought the vessel would be safer left underground than exposed to pollution, but evidence showed that pollution, water and insects had invaded the boat’s chamber.

A $10 million grant from Waseda University has helped in preparing the ship’s excavation process.