Pharaonic Egypt   :|:   Document

Black painted boat on a granite pebble

ref. : en.916.2014 | 28 September 2014 | by Francis Leveque
graffiti | VIIe millennium BC
Egypte (Haute Egypte) ( Egypte )
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This granite pebble preserved, on one face, a black painted sketch, recognisable as part of a boat.

The El Salha Archaeological Project has been the subject of archaeological and geo-morphological reconnaissance and excavation in Central Sudan by the Is.I.A.O. (Istituto Italiano per l’Africa e l’Oriente) since the autumn of 2000 along the western bank of the White Nile at about 15km south of Omdurman.

The picture represents the back half of the boat, including part of the hull, a steering system and what seems to be a cabin placed more or less at the centre of the upper hull.

The steering system seems to be of a composite type: a tiller, placed at more than 45° with a long pole ending in a ovoid blade, all fixed to the top of a vertical pole.

There was no trace of black paint on the fracture, so that the image must have continued on the missing part. In spite of this gap, the similarity of this representation with later examples dating to the fourth millennium BC, like the Badarian boats painted on dwelling walls and pottery jars, is striking (Aksamit 1981).

The discovery of a boat representation on a pebble dating to the early seventh millennium BC, according to the associated pottery and the contextual radiometric determinations provides a strong confirmation of the hypothesis for the Mesolithic use of boats advanced by W. Van Neer (1989: 54; 1994: 20-1) and Peters (1991: 38-9; 1993: 417).


Bibliography :

  • D. Usai, S. Salvatori, The oldest representation of a Nile boat, in Antiquity, vol. 81 , 2007