CAIRO: French archaeologists have discovered a Pharaonic solar boat in an expedition in Abu Rawash, west of the Egyptian capital, the Antiquities Ministry said Wednesday.

The Egyptian antiquities minister, Mohammad Ibrahim, said the boat might be up to 5,000 years old.

“It goes back to the era of Pharaoh Den, one of the First Dynasty kings,” he said in a statement.

The six-meter-long and 1.5-meter wide boat “is in good condition,” he added. Its planks are now undergoing renovation before it is put on display in a museum.

The pharaohs believed that solar boats, buried close to them at death, would transport them in the afterlife.

In 1954 an Egyptian archaeologist discovered what may be the Pharaoh Khufu’s 43-meter-long solar ship in a Giza pyramid. Made of cedar and still intact, the 4,500-year-old vessel is on display near the pyramid.