> Quite the conundrum is it not?
I agree, there certainly are quite a few conundrums in your excellent (as usual) post. Not so surprising is that I challenge traditional thought which does not adequately consider the enigmas surrounding these pits:
- Most boat pits were found empty with no trace of housing any boat remains or of similar covering stones. There are very conspicuous brown stains that suggest significant depositing of oxidized iron. Has any testing been done for residual materials in those empty pits?
Why do some boat pits appear to have multiple ledges on the walls (e.g., the eastern pits of G1)?
As stated by Jon Ellison, why disassemble the entire boat (into 13 layers of stacked wood) rather than keep it intact for the afterlife?
As stated by DUNE, why not just hew a chamber into bedrock, load the chamber with the wood segments, then apply a single plug at the entrance? That would seem to have been a far simpler project and would have better ensured protection from moisture and atmosphere contamination. For example, why not mimic the design similar to G7000x which is thought to have served as a funerary deposit for Hetepheres?
Why are some boat pits rectangular while others are bowed? In my opinion, the traditional narrative of G1 doesn't adequately account for the enigmatic positions and shape of the 3 boat-shaped pits on the east side vs. the 2 rectangular pits on the south side of G1, along with the inconsistent placement of the 2 queens' boat pits.
Why did Khufu (and Khafre) need 5 boats?
Why put a single pit parallel to the Causeway?
Why isn't Khufu mentioned in any boat pit around G1? It's reasonable to wonder why Djedefre had his name inscribed no less than 18 times and not once felt the urge to mention his father in whose name he supposedly constructed the boat pit in the first place.
Are we to believe that the builders of G1 were such masters at megalithic construction, but yet elected to surround what is arguably their finest masterpiece with a wall sitting on a foundation comprised of left over rubble of limestone, granite, and basalt chips held together with cement? That wall is thought to have been covered with limestone plaster and gypsum to make it look like the Tura casings. This is not characteristic of the monolithic style of the Old Kingdom, especially for a royal funerary monument.
Why bury the parts of a disassembled boat outside the "tomb" when the vast majority of tombs included the afterlife objects inside the tomb near the royal mummy?
Why are some boat pits lined with blocks while others are simply recesses into bedrock?
Why place the boat pits so close to G1 such that the southern wall needed to be built a full 5m closer to G1 on that wall compared to the distance of the wall on the north and east faces? Again, uncharacteristic of the more common precision symmetry of the Pyramid Age.
Why is the southern boat pit on the east side so big -- 51.5m long, 7m wide at midpoint, and 8m deep? Are there any signs of column footings in the base of the pit? If not, it doesn't seem likely that it was once covered by such long beams of limestone over such a wide cavity.
Regarding the provenance of the wood, it's not clear to me that the Dynastics didn't have access to those pits while those 20 ton beams were already in place (e.g., from more ancient times). The first boat pit has small "keystones" at one end which differ from the other larger roof beams. Those keystones obviously could have been the result of hacking up what originally may have been a longer 20 ton beam in order to gain access to the pit, e.g., in order to repurpose a possibly already ancient pit. The breach created by removal of that first block may have created access large enough to fit a human and, therefore, all of the boat materials may have been brought through that small portal long after the pit was originally hewn. Is there a more logical explanation for the presence of such keystones? Regarding the 2nd boat pit, It obviously wasn't "hermetically" sealed since gaps existed that were large enough to allow insects to enter. Air sampled through the original 9cm drill hole confirmed that there was no hermetic seal. Did Yoshimura specifically claim there were no such smaller "keystones" on the second boat pit? (it's hard to find details about the initial excavation). Note that one pit had 40 spanning beams while the other had 41.
The wood was allegedly placed in those pits no later than the end of the 4th Dynasty, but I question the dating of the wall, sub-patio, and local mastabas that are the basis of that 4th Dynasty provenance of those pits.
Some of the wooden planks exhibit what looks like signs of having been used before being entombed.
I'd love to see a detailed 2nd boat pit excavation report by Yoshimura that at least parallels the detail in Jenkins' report of the excavation of the first boat pit. As I recall from a similar discussion a couple of months ago, it's difficult to know exactly what Yoshimura observed since there doesn't seem to be any detailed account of his initial excavation into the pit other than the hole drilled to initially view the contents of the pit and a few comments he made which don't seem to be verifiable by the physical evidence. I've not come across any analysis of the integrity of that roof and possible breaches that may have occurred in the past once it was determined that it was not hermetically sealed.
I have never denied the possibility that the Old Kingdom had the technology to locally quarry, shape, transport, and position such relatively crude limestone slabs. However, I see no logic in laying a series of beams over a "boat pit" when excavating a cavity into bedrock would be quicker, easier, and result in a far better seal to preserve the wood. Likewise, there is nothing in the OP that addresses the provenance of G1.
Meanwhile, the physical evidence seems to support adaption of a more ancient structure.
How can any of us ever know, when all we can do is think?