Boat Symbolism in Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt: An Ethno-Archaeological Approach

Abstract

Predynastic and Early Dynastic boat images were used to express complex ideological concepts. The most important of them is the notion of “Order out of Chaos,” which became the cornerstone of the pharaonic ideological system that emerged at the end of this crucial phase of Egyptian history. During subsequent millennia, the boat is mostly used in iconography and literature as a mere vehicle, whether it is for common people or for gods and kings, although some texts show that it can still express metaphorical meanings. Other Neolithic coastal and riverine societies around the world, particularly in South-East Asia and the Pacific, show a similar importance of the boat, including the use of the boat as a marker of the community. Such a function in the first stages of the Predynastic period can be postulated.

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Vanhulle, D., (2018) “Boat Symbolism in Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt: An Ethno-Archaeological Approach”, Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections 17(1), p.173-187.

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Dorian Vanhulle (Université libre de Bruxelles)

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