Archaeologists in Egypt have unearthed what appears to be the most ancient pharaonic barge ever found.
The discovery, announced Wednesday by Mohamed Ibrahim Ali, the Egyptian secretary of state for antiquities, dates back to around 3,000 BC, during the First Dynasty, when then-Egypt was ruled by King Den.
According to Ali, the barge, which was buried with the sovereign as part of beliefs that it would be used to transport his soul to the otherworld, was found in Abu Rawash, about 8km north of Giza, the site of the remains of the "lost pyramid" of Djedefre, built by the son and successor to King Khufu. The barge's condition was "good", according to Ali. The team of archaeologists from the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology who made the discovery found it in parts - eleven pieces that were each six meters long and one and a half meters wide. The remains have already been transferred to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, where they will be restored and then displayed in the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, a new museum which should is scheduled to be inaugurated later this year.