The solar boats of ancient Egyptians were large ships that were made out of cedar wood. They were used in religious rituals during Pharaonic times. Historians and archeologists have had long debates about the exact historical name and the purpose of these boats. However, most likely these boats were manufactured to be used in the funerary rituals of the King and maybe some of his royal family members.
The Solar Boat that was put on display in the Solar Boat Museum next to the Great Pyramid of Cheops was constructed around the 1985. to house the boat that was placed in there when King Cheops passed away and his body was mummified, the priests placed his body in this solar boat to go on a journey to visit Heliopolis and other cities before they land in his royal necropolis in Giza. Afterward, the priests dissembled the solar boat into smaller pieces before they buried these pieces near the pyramids and titled it the Boat of Cheops.
When the Egyptian antiquities inspector responsible for the area of Giza, Mohamed Zaki Nour, the civil engineer who was in charge of cleaning up the area of the Pyramids of Giza, Kamal Al Malakh, and the supervisor of the cleaning process of the area, Doctor Abdel Men'em Abu Bakr were finishing their work at the pyramids, they found out what seemed to be a wall made out of limestone. After a lot of digging in the ground, they reached the bottom of the wall and found 42 pieces of rock that were divided into two groups to protect them against any outer dangers or harm. On the 26th of May 1954, the nozzle of the hole where the pieces of the solar boat were opened and everybody who was there smelled the distinctive scent of the cedar wood.
Soon after the discovery of the solar boat, a certain structure was built to preserve and laboratories to handle the pieces of the boat. The ancient Egyptians were skillful workers and clever builders. They had the exact location of each piece of wood carved on it and this was of course written in the Hieroglyphic language. The different pieces of the solar boat were put in 14 layers with a layer of rocks in the very bottom to prevent humidity to affect the wooden parts of the boat. These rocks have also protected the pieces of wood against wind and water leakage for more than 24 centuries. The solar boat that was discovered in the year 1954 near the Great Pyramid of Giza consists of 1224 pieces of wood. The boat is 44 meters long and around 5.9 meters wide and it has 12 paddles. A compartment that stands upon three circular columns is located at the stern of the solar boat. This compartment has a double ceiling based upon some pillars that were made in the shape of the papyrus plants. The function of this compartment was to protect the captain of the boat against the sun's rays.
Some modern scientific studies that were recently carried out on the wood that was used to make the solar boat noted that this wood must have been 7,000 years old before being cut and used in the boat. Therefore, some scientific theories assert that the age of the solar boat is not less than 1,2000 years.
The boat has twelve paddles. Five of them were used for rowing from each side with four of these five paddles made in the shape of a bayonet that was used by the unseen sailors to protect the boat in its journey to the other word according to ancient Egyptian mythodology. This is beside two paddles that were used to correct the path of the boat the same way the rudder functions.
Moreover, the boat had a primitive yet intelligent tool to examine the depths were the boat is sailing to prevent it from hitting any sand islands or beaches. This tool was manufactured in the shape of the two most important plants for the ancient Egyptians; the Lotus and the Papyrus. This tool was actually guided towards the western direction to unify with the sun rays before it vanishes at the time of the sunset. Scientific studies are still carried out until today to be certain if the solar boats were only used as a symbol of the journey of the god Ra, the god of the sun, in his day and night journeys. The sun god Ra, according to the ancient Egyptian methodology, used to benefit from the stars and their position to row and to travel from one place to another. In these journeys Ra used to go on, he used to purify the world from wicked souls and the people used to worship him and present him with offerings.