Ep. 008 – The Middle Kingdom Mariners

Onward to Episode 008 - The Middle Kingdom Mariners where we'll cover the maritime connections of Egypt during the Middle Kingdom period. An inscription left by an explorer named Hannu will help us get a grasp on the reopening of trade in the Red Sea, and a literary narrative called The Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor will help us understand the Middle Kingdom mindset as related to the sea. Other topics include the debate about when the Canal of the Pharaohs was finished, the physical evidence of funerary boats found outside a pyramid at Dashur, and a few other scattered topics of note.

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  • Funeral Boat Setting out under Sail, Metropolitan Museum of Art. [link]
  • Hannu Inscription at Hammamat, from James Henry Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, Vol. 1 (1906). [link]
  • Herodotus, The Histories, (Macaulay's English translation, republished 2004).
  • Marcus, Ezra S., Amenemhet II and the Sea: maritime aspects of the MIt Rahina (Memphis) inscription, Int'l J. for Egyptian Archaology and Related Disciplines, Vol. 17 (2007). [link]
  • McGrail, Seán, Boats of the World: From the Stone Age to Medieval Times (2009).
  • Sporting Boat, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. [link]
  • Strabo, Geographica, 17.1.25. [link]
  • The Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor. [link]
  • Traveling Boat being Rowed, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. [link] [link]

  3 comments for “Ep. 008 – The Middle Kingdom Mariners

  1. Trevor
    January 12, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    The model boats look amazing. Were they found in their depicted condition in 12th dynasty tombs, or are these reconstructions?

    • Brandon Huebner
      January 14, 2017 at 5:44 pm

      I agree, Trevor, these boat models are marvelous. As far as I’ve been able to tell, the four models that are included on this page were all discovered in the tomb of Meketre. The paragraph below comes from the description of one model that’s on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. [link]

      “All the accessible rooms in the tomb of Meketre had been robbed and plundered already during Antiquity; but early in 1920 the Museum’s excavator, Herbert Winlock, wanted to obtain an accurate floor plan of the tomb’s layout for his map of the Eleventh Dynasty necropolis at Thebes and, therefore, had his workmen clean out the accumulated debris. It was during this cleaning operation that the small hidden chamber was discovered, filled with twenty-four almost perfectly preserved models. Eventually, half of these went to the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, and the other half came to the Metropolitan Museum in the partition of finds.”

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