Ep. 010 – Taking Care of Business (on the Nile)

In today's episode we're going to look at the evidence of heavy-transport shipping throughout Egypt's history. Their many monumental building projects required the transportation of staggering amounts of material, and there is evidence from Pliny the Elder and Herodotus that much of this transport was accomplished by shipping up and down the Nile. We'll look at the various theories for how objects weighing hundreds of tons were loaded and shipped on the Nile, and we'll see a few depictions of such ships from the pyramid of Unas and the temple of Hatshepsut.

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  • Ancient Egypt: River Shipping. [link]
  • Herodotus, The Histories, (Macaulay's English translation, republished 2004).
  • Hocker, Frederick M., & Cheryl A. Ward, The Philosophy of ShipbuildingConceptual Approaches to the Study of Wooden Ships (2004).
  • Löhner, Franz, Stone quarries in ancient Egypt. [link]
  • Löhner, Franz, Transporting stone blocks down the Nile. [link]
  • McGrail, Seán, Boats of the World: From the Stone Age to Medieval Times (2009).

  2 comments for “Ep. 010 – Taking Care of Business (on the Nile)

  1. Alain Chabot
    October 3, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    Your comment about ancient aliens at the end of the podcast reminded me of a conference I attended decades ago, where the argument for ancient aliens was made based on the fact that the Egyptians couldn’t possibly have moved all those massive blocks of stone without modern machinery and energy sources. I thought this was funny and mentionned that Napoleon’s army removed one of the obelisks and had it transported to Paris. All without modern machinery. And not a whiff of ancient aliens for that feat.

    • Brandon Huebner
      October 5, 2017 at 9:05 pm

      Great point there with the Napoleon story! I can’t say I’ve ever spent time digging into the actual arguments that they make to say that aliens did it all, but I saw it mentioned enough times while I was researching the transport of obelisks and such that I couldn’t help but drop in a reference to just how outlandish those ideas are. Some people have too much time on their hands…haha

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