Egypt Exploration Fond.
in order to ship them both; thus the length of the boat was three times
its width. If we suppose that for a construction ordered by the king
the architect used the royal cubit of 0'525 metres or 20-72 inches, the
length of the boat would be 63 metres (200 feet) and its width 21 (69
feet). It would partake of the nature of a raft as well as of a boat,
being flat-bottomed, and it would be strong enough to carry the two
obelisks lyiug parallel to each other. The weight of the obelisk of
Hatshepsu at Karnak (which is one of the two referred to) has been
calculated to be 374 tons, so that the weight of the two monuments
alone would be 748 tons.
It may be that the cubit used in the inscription of Anna was the
small cubit which is one-seventh shorter than the royal cubit; and we
must remember also that judging from the representation the craft which
we have here is not a rectangular raft; it has the shape of a boat with
raised stem and stern, so that the whole length of 120 cubits is not
in water. Even thus the horizontal surface of the vessel would be very
large. It would be a huge and unwieldy craft, the steerage of which
must have been particularly difficult when the current was strongly felt.
I believe this is the reason why we see at the stern two pairs of rudders
instead of one, which is all that large Egyptian boats usually carry.
On the other hand, the advantage derived from the large size was the
consequent small draught of water,1 avoiding the danger (only too well
known to travellers on the Nile) of running aground on sandbanks.
Nevertheless, I presume that they must have chosen the season of the in-
undation for so perilous an undertaking. At high Nile the navigation was
easier and safer, they could bring the monuments much nearer to the
temple where they were to be erected, and there being no high banks as
in winter they would have less difficulty in hauling the obelisks on shore
from a boat which seems to have been high above water.
According to the rules of Egyptian perspective, such as we see applied
also in the scene of the transport of a colossus by land,2 it appears that
the vessel on which the obelisks were lying—the barge as we shall call
it for convenience—was towed down by three parallel groups of ten
tugs, each group being connected with the barge by a thick cable. The
greater part of these cables is lost, but enough has been left to indicate
the direction they followed.
The three groups are exactly alike, each of them consisting of vessels
of the same kind and joined together in the same way. The lowest
group, which is still partly in situ and is the best preserved, may be
1 I should say about three feet. 2 El Berslieb, I., pi. xv.