In addition to the famous pyramids and Great Sphinx, the Giza plateau is also home to an impressively large ancient boat, housed in its own museum.
Now, excavations are underway to unearth and reconstruct a second boat (or barque) from the same area.
In 1954, excavations at Giza revealed the presence of a number of large pits dug into the plateau, including two that contained disassembled boats. The first of these pits was excavated and found to be filled with 1224 pieces of a large boat (see Mark Lehner, The Complete Pyramids, p. 118-119). Over the course of 13 years, the pieces of the boat were carefully reassembled and eventually went on display in the Solar Boat Museum at Giza.
The second pit was examined (using radar) but its contents were left in-situ.
After a lot of planning and preparation, today (June 23), the first of the enormous limestone blocks that cover the pit was lifted.
When the excavation is complete, this second boat will also be reassembled and eventually go on display in the new Grand Egyptian Museum.
These boats may have been symbolic transportation to the underworld, or may have been involved in transporting the pharaoh’s body for the burial. You can read more about the preparation for the excavation of this barque at Wasaeda University’s website.
According to Dr. Hawass, the excavation has also revealed “a cartouche for King Khufu and beside it was the name of the crown prince Djedefre, without cartouche” (though it is not clear from his description where these inscriptions are located). This is an important find because it is only the second cartouche of Khufu found in association with these Giza monuments he and his descendants commissioned.