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Model of a boat with crew

An ancient Egyptian model of a boat with crew. The two hands of each crew are positioned to hold an object – which is presumably an oar made of organic material but has since been decayed. The arms of the crew are straight, which may suggest they were in a position to row the boat.

The ancient Egyptians heavily relied on the river Nile to trade and travel. Boats similar to this would have been a daily sight on the river Nile in ancient times. They were usually made of papyrus reed – though some boats that were intended for longer journey or for the elite members of the society may use wood as material.

This model of a boat is made of wood, gesso, and paint. Dated to Middle Kingdom, 11-12th dynasty (2055-1773 BCE), it is currently located at the National Gallery of Victoria International (180 St Kilda Road) as part of their permanent exhibition.

More information: NGV D90-1982

Further reading

Vinson, S., Egyptian Boats and Ships (Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, UK: Shire Publications), 1994.

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Resources for Ancient History enthusiasts, teachers, and students. We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which our sharing of knowledge takes place, and recognise their continuing connection to country, community and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present, and extend that respect to the First Nations peoples today.

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