The vessel, which is believed to be the ceremonial boat of Pharaoh Cheops, known for building the largest of Egypt’s pyramids, will be restored by the largest on-site antiquities laboratory.
The project, funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Higashi Nippon International University, is set to complete the preliminary phase of repairs of the 4,500-year-old vessel by 2020.
The lab at the site of the Giza pyramids was necessary for some of the boat’s 1,264 pieces, which are too fragile or large to move,” Eissa Zeidan, head of the project’s Egyptian restoration team, told The Associated Press.
After repairs are finished, the boat of Pharaoh Cheops will be displayed at the Grand Egyptian Museum.
The Japanese-Egyptian experts have now completed the testing of material which will be used to restore the boat, a process that started in 2010. They use fillers and soft materials, and the lab’s temperature and humidity are adjusted to simulate the atmosphere in the pits where the pieces were stored for centuries, explained Kanan Yoshimura, a conservator on the Japanese team.
“We will restore all of it, every piece is important,” Yoshimura said.
The pieces of the vessel and its sister boat, recovered first, were found in five pits surrounding the Great Pyramid, which serves as Cheops’ tomb, in 1954. Egypt reassembled the first boat with limited capacities which led to the replacement of some of its original parts.
The boats are believed to have been buried with the pharaoh to carry him into the afterlife.