Egyptian seagoing ship, c 2500 BC.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Model. This model of a ship dating from the Old Kingdom, (2686-2181 BC) is based on vesels depicted in the bas-relief discovered in the pyramid tomb of King Sahurer at Abusir. The sculpture, from the V Dynasty, provides the earliest known representation of seagoing vesels. The ship was probably built from acacia, though the Egyptians were also using sycamore and persea. Carpenters would have used all the tools avaliable to them: adzes, axes, saws and chisels, during its construction. Although the ship's timbers were only held together by rope, it was a fastening device that took advantage of the sea's natural tendency to inflate wood. Such ships are thought to have brought back cedar wood from Lebanon and undertaken exploratory voyages to the land of Punt.