A box with missing pieces of a miniature boat from king Tutankhamun’s tomb has been rediscovered at the Luxor Museum. The items were found in a storeroom, almost a century after they had been packed by British archaeologist Howard Carter. Carter was the first to open the tomb in 1922.
King Tut’s tomb was almost intact when discovered and contained numerous treasures. Mohamed Atwa, the museum’s director of archaology and information found the box while gathering artefacts for an exhibition at a new museum near the pyramids of Giza, the Grand Egyptian Museum, its opening due next year.
Inside the box there was a wooden mast, a rigging set and a wooden head covered in gold leaf. The items, matching a model boat form the king’s tomb, were wrapped in newspaper for protection, the date on it being Sunday, November 5 1933. The museum had lost track of the box since 1973.
Putting miniature models in tombs was a common practice among the elite in ancient Egypt, as these were meant to be used by the dead in the afterlife. The boats in particular and their crew were to be used by the king in the afterlife for fishing or simply for transport.