CAIRO – 21 July 2020: Despite the difficult times the entire world is witnessing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities is completing work in open archaeological sites, while taking all the necessary precautions to battle the novel virus.
Among these projects is the transfer of the second Khufu ship to the Grand Egyptian Museum.
General Supervisor of the Grand Egyptian Museum project Atef Moftah met with the First Khufu Transport Committee to examine special studies, paths and how to safely move the ship from its current location in the pyramids’ archeological region to its new location in the Grand Egyptian Museum.
Three national companies will handle the first Khufu ship transportation. Currently, the design of the building set to house the ships is being worked on.
In statements to the press, Moftah explained the reasons behind transferring the ship to its new location. According to Moftah, the building in which the boat is currently displayed, which was established more than 25 years ago, occupied the southern side of the most important monument in the world, the Pyramid of Cheops, and clearly served to visually distort the archaeological area. Also, the building lacks distinct style of presentation and is not qualified to receive individuals with special needs.
Moftah added that the idea of transporting the first ship has not recently emerged; it was thought of a long time ago. He presented of the idea to President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi on May 28, 2019.
Additionally, Moftah stressed that he prioritizes securing the boat during transportation, and clarified that it took 6 months of workshops and meetings to discuss the most appropriate scientific method that ensures the ship's safety during packaging and transportation.
He explained that the method and locations of disassembly and reassembly were determined, and that it is of great importance to maintain and control the temperature, humidity and intensity of illumination throughout the work period so that the ship is not negatively affected.
Moftah also stated that he had developed a new design for the building in which the first and second Khufu ships will be located.
With regard to the second Khufu ship, restoration work is being carried out, while adhering to the instructions of the Egyptian government to reduce the number of employees, and sanitize the venue on a daily basis.
Also, the team working on the ship has so far succeeded in extracting approximately 1272 pieces of wood, in addition to uncovering a knife and a pillar made of copper.
The Japanese-Egyptian team uses 3D imaging technology to document the wooden pieces of the second Khufu ship. This technology is one of the best methods used in documentation, as it provides very precise and clear details of the piece from all directions.
Also, all pieces will be photographed prior to reassembly, to avoid mistakes during the process.