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Senwosret III


In ancient Egypt, the pharaoh Senwosret III, also known as Khakaure, reigned for some nineteen years during the Middle Kingdom, around 1850 B.C., though the exact dates are difficult to establish. This was a very prosperous time for Egypt, as Khakaure led his people to great military victories and helped re-conquer the Upper Nile, where strife had significantly contributed to the decline and fall of the Old Kingdom.

In addition to the reunion of Upper and Lower Egypt, the Middle Kingdom is known for social and cultural growth, so it should come as no surprise that when Senwosret III died he was sent to the after life in grand style. Unfortunately, the pharaoh’s pyramid at Dahshur was a target for looting and grave robbing over the millennia. But excavations by French archaeologist J.J. De Morgan in A.D.1894 revealed great finds, including five, or possibly six small boats. The exact number of boats has been debated since the early 1900’s. De Morgan’s excavation report noted six vessels but mapped only five. Other contemporary records, letters and reports tend to place the exact number at five. Today, only four of the “Dahshur boats” can be located with certainty. Two are in the United States; one in the

Head of Senwosret III
Head of Senwosret III,
in the Luxor Archaeology Museum, Egypt.
Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh and one in the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, while two remain in The Egyptian Museum, Cairo (Figs. 1 and 2). The two boats in the United States made their way over by way of private investors. Andrew Carnegie himself was rumored to have purchased one boat for his own collection, but it was then delivered to the Carnegie Museum, an unexpected delight for the curator at the time. Since their excavation the Dahshur boats remained relatively inconspicuous until the 1980’s when the first scholarly works on those in the US appeared.




Names Commonly Used Through Time for the Dynasty XII Pharaoh :

Khakaure - Ancient times
Ousertesen III - by excavator J.J. de Morgan
Sesostris (Sestrosis) III - Greek. Used late 19th to mid 20th cy. AD
Senwusret III - recent, alternative spelling
Senusret III/ Senwosret III - current

Statue of the Pharaoh in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo.
While being known his great military campaigns (reconquering Upper Egypt), expansions of the known frontier, and growth of the middle class Senwosret III is now most commonly known for stern facial expression in many off his extant representations. This was a sharp change from the tradition of earlier pharaohs whom were shown with youthful expressions.

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From Accessed on 20th May 2005.

Insitute of Nautical Archaeology
Institute of Maritime Research and Discovery
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