Khufu, whom ancient Greeks referred to as Cheops, was the king of Egypt responsible for commissioning the building of the Great Pyramid of Giza. In the entire Giza complex there are seven boat pits, but the most famous boats are two found in 1954 in a pit beneath immense limestone slabs by an Egyptian archeologist named Kamal el-Mallakh. One of these ships was reassembled over several years from 1,224 pieces. It now resides in the Khufu Boat Museum, which is located at the Giza pyramid complex. The other ship remains disassembled.
The rebuilt ship is mainly constructed of Lebanese cedar and is 142 feet long. It has an interior cabin and a smaller forward captain's cabin. It is meant to be propelled by 10 oars and steered by two stern rudders.
Archeologists and other scholars differ in their analysis of what the boats must have been for, but there are two predominant theories. One is that the boats were used for river travel while the king was alive, and one of them might have functioned as the funerary boat to bring Khufu to his final resting place. They were disassembled and buried along with the king's other belongings so that he could continue to use them in the afterlife.
The other theory is that at least one of the boats, possibly the assembled one, was intended to be a solar barge that would transport Khufu with Ra, the sun god, to the heavens.