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Dovetails or Lashings: A Case Study in Middle Kingdom Ship Construction (The Cairo Dahshur Boats)
Unformatted Document Text:  4 completely covering the top faces of the throughbeams (see planking on Fig. 5 versus Fig. 6) and, in doing so, spanning more than one room, or longitudinal area between two throughbeams. This arrangement is the source of de Morgan’s designation of “white boat” for CG 4925. Figure 5.Throughbeam section, White Boat. Figure 6. Throughbeam section, Red Boat. The pigment remaining on the vessel today is only a trace of the original. All information indicates that the deck planking on CG 4925 was originally painted completely white. CG 4926 had, comparatively, more red pigmentation visible, as the red throughbeams could be seen between the ends of the deck planking. When de Morgan viewed the hulls in situ, he would have initially seen the decks (as indicated by the excavation photographs): therefore, probably for convenience, CG 4925 became known as the “white” boat. It would have also made instructions simpler for the workmen, about whom de Morgan often complained in his writings. This conclusion regarding the identities of the “red” and “white” boats conforms to de Morgan’s notes and Reisner’s records while satisfying concerns and questions regarding hull decoration expressed by recent scholarship. Figure 7. Boat from de Morgan’s site report, with missing throughbeams added (black). Furthermore, de Morgan illustrated the features specific to the white boat in his excavation report (Fig. 7). Since he made drawings and measurements of only one boat from the cache at Dahshur, it is fortunate for identification purposes that he recorded the one unique in its construction. This has lead recent scholars, familiar with the Carnegie

Authors: Creasman, Pearce Paul.
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completely covering the top faces of the throughbeams (see planking on Fig. 5 versus
Fig. 6) and, in doing so, spanning more than one room, or longitudinal area between two
throughbeams. This arrangement is the source of de Morgan’s designation of “white
boat” for CG 4925.
Figure 5.Throughbeam section, White Boat. Figure 6. Throughbeam section, Red Boat.
The pigment remaining on the vessel today is only a trace of the original. All
information indicates that the deck planking on CG 4925 was originally painted
completely white. CG 4926 had, comparatively, more red pigmentation visible, as the red
throughbeams could be seen between the ends of the deck planking. When de Morgan
viewed the hulls in situ, he would have initially seen the decks (as indicated by the
excavation photographs): therefore, probably for convenience, CG 4925 became known
as the “white” boat. It would have also made instructions simpler for the workmen, about
whom de Morgan often complained in his writings. This conclusion regarding the
identities of the “red” and “white” boats conforms to de Morgan’s notes and Reisner’s
records while satisfying concerns and questions regarding hull decoration expressed by
recent scholarship.
Figure 7. Boat from de Morgan’s site report, with missing throughbeams added (black).

Furthermore, de Morgan illustrated the features specific to the white boat in his
excavation report (Fig. 7). Since he made drawings and measurements of only one boat
from the cache at Dahshur, it is fortunate for identification purposes that he recorded the
one unique in its construction. This has lead recent scholars, familiar with the Carnegie


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