A Thesis
Submitted to the Graduate College of
Texas A&M University
In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the gree of

August 1987
Major Subject: Anthropology
A Thesis
Approved as to style and content by:

(Chairman of Committee)

1{. VtHVL:..lf· J{,
Frederick H. Van Doornlnck
(Member) (Head.
August 1987
Boats of Egypt Before the Old KlngdonI (ltay 1
Stephen "Ichael Vinson, Bachelor of Journal I
University of Texas at Austin
Chairman of Advisory Committee: Dr. George F.
The origin and early development of planked boats n Pre- and
Early Dynastic Egypt Is explored through an exam I nat I
representat I OM I art, the Predynast I c env Ironment, the
development of tools and woodworking and direct archa

evidence for early boats, Including boat burials and s rvlvlng
fragments. The use and range of early boats are examln through
the archaeological evidence for trade within and be
Val ley. I tis argued that the deve lopment of naut I cal chno I ogy
In the NIle Valley was Independent of eXternal Influen s such as
""esopotamlan Invaders," and that boatwrlghts of the Ea Iy
DynastIc period used essentially the same techniques as their Old
Kingdom counterparts. It Is concluded that the Gra8CO- n
practice of building ships with mortise-and-tenon joint
derived from techniques perfected In prehistoric Egypt.
f i f
This thesis has taken more than two years to complete, and the
list of people who have assisted me Is almost endless. Thanks must
go first of all to Dr. Frederick J. Van Doornlnck, who provided
early Inspiration for the thesis In a series of semina report
assignments for his preclasslcal seafaring class In th
1985. The thesis grew out of a term paper for that clas , and a
subsequent paper for J. Richard Steffy's class In the
wooden ships. Dr. George F. Bass was most enthusiastic
results of those papers, and encouraged me In choosing
Egyptian wooden boats as a thesiS project. He was kind
urge that portions of the thesis be presented at a conf rence on
maritime Egypt, which was held In Alexandria In June of this year.
A large number of scholars around the world provld
Informatlpn and assistance. Paul Lipke read a rough dra t of what
became the section on the Tarkhan planks, and was helpf In
providing contacts In the Egyptian Antiquities Organlza Ion. Michael
Hoffman provided the clue that resulted In my locating he planks In
the Petrie Museum at University College. London. Barber Adams,
curator of the Petrie Museum. allowed me to examine the planks. and
has been kind enough to change their labeling from "hou e timbers"
to "boat timbers" as a result of this research.
Photographs were provided for this thesis by the B Itlsh
Museum, the Petrie Museum. the Bade Institute of Blbllc
Archaeology, Karl Marx University In Leipzig. the Unlve slty of
Heidelberg, and the Archaeological Institute of the Un verslty of
Zurich. ". Sguatamattl, conservator at the Zurich Inst tute,
provided photographs of boat models and boat pots bel
the university and private collectors.
Lech Krzyzanlak, director of the Archaeological
Poznan, provided much useful Information as well as a ratls copy of
the s ~ s l \ M I I proceedings Origin AmI Early Development S2f. fggg
Producing Cultures l!! North-Eastern Africa, a very Int resting and
useful book. Patrick F. O'llara provided translations 0
First-Dynasty boat names, the earliest ever reported. e Conmlttee
of the Egypt Exploration Society was extremely cooper
granting me permission to duplicate a large nlMl1ber of Ilustrations
from Its many publications; all EES Illustrations are ted In
Appendix 3.
French-language corespondence, and found for me the re erences to

the full-Sized boat models from Abu Roash during the c rseof her
own thesis research In Holland. Lillian Ray, Patricia ann, Beth
Braznell and Luis Costa all read the thesis In Its entirety, and
prevented numerous errors from appearing. Clinton Phillips, whose
duties as associate provost and dean of faculties at T
consume an I_nse amount of time, did me the great r and honor
to step In at the last minute and Join my advisory
Finally, a special thank-you must go the the staf
University's Interlibrary Services department, without the
research for this thesis would not have gotten very fa

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