Archaeologists from the Charles University in Prague have unearthed a 4,500-year-old 59-foot boat at a site in Egypt.

While working at the site of the Abusir necropolis near Cairo the archaeologists discovered 4,500-year-old wooden planks that formed part of the boat. The boat’s size, alongside additional clues such as a bowl bearing the name of king Huni of the Third Dynasty, indicate the owner’s close ties with the pharaoh of that time, according to the team.

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Charles University wrote on its website that the ritual of burying boats beside chambers traces its roots back to the Early Dynastic Period.

Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty told Ahram Online that the boat is the first of its kind to be found in that location and that it points to the elite status of the tomb’s owner.

“The boat wreck shows that he was a very important man in the royal palace - a top official or a close person to the king but not a royal family,” he said.

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Charles University wrote that some of the ropes that bound the boat together are still in their original position, with all their details intact, a unique discovery in ancient Egyptian boats.

This year, the university will study boat building techniques as part of an initiative with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) at Texas A&M University.