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Ahhotep’s Silver Ship Model: The Minoan Context

Shelley Wachsmann


The tomb of Ahhotep (I) contained two metal ship models—one gold, the other silver—and a four-wheeled carriage. The models are anomalous in time and material. While the gold model represents a typical papyriform wood- planked Nile vessel, the silver model finds its closest parallels with a contemporaneous Minoan/Cycladic vessel crewed by ten rowers, exemplified by the rowed ship in the Miniature Frieze from the West House in Akrotiri on Thera. This conclusion is further supported by a long tradition of metal ship models in the Aegean. The silver model may be a copy of an actual ship or of a model of a ship. Ahhotep’s models and carriage may represent booty captured by either Kamose or Ahmose during their battles against Avaris (Tell el-Dab’a) and subsequently interred with their mother. If this interpretation is correct, it could indicate a Minoan presence at Tell el-Dab’a during the Hyksos period.


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