CAIRO, EGYPT—Humanity’s biggest and oldest artifact made of wood now has a new resting place thanks to a carefully co-ordinated crane lift.
The 4,600-year-old wooden solar boat is believed to have belonged to King Khufu, a fourth-dynasty monarch.
Due to the boat’s extreme age, the lift had to be carefully planned. Belgian Besix-Orascom Joint Venture (BOJV) tasked Sarens, a global supplier of specialized transport and heavy lifting, to plan and carry out the lift.
The 10-kilometre transport mission required several self-propelled modular transporters (SPMTs) which were brought to Egypt from Belgium as well as an 800-tonne crane to assist with the lift. In order to protect the boat from any possible damages, Sarens’ team installed a steel cage around the 43-metre-long and 20 tonne boat, bringing the total weight to 100 tonnes.
Finally, the team built a 52-metre-long steel bridge to allow the SPMTs to drive in and park exactly underneath the boat in order to lift it out of its position.
Workers needed to ensure the boat was precisely positioned horizontally during the entire operation owing to its fragile structure.
After 10 hours, crews managed to safely lift and install ancient Pharoah Khufu’s boat into the new Grand Egyptian Museum from the Giza Plateau Museum.
It will be one of two ancient solar boats displayed at the museum, which is expected to contain more than 100,000 artifacts when it opens later this year.
Archeologists theorize that ancient Egyptians believed that solar boats were able to transport the deceased royals into the afterlife and were typically buried alongside them in royal burial chambers.