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ANCIENT MIDDLE EAST: AN OLD, OLD BOAT

MOTIVATION

TODAYS VOTING POLL:


Archaeological digs are extremely expensive and can cost millions of
dollars. However, digging up relics from the past can reveal important
details about an ancient civilization.
We should always try to answer questions from the past. What do you
think?

Agree
Disagree
Vote!

Explain why you voted the way you did.

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ANCIENT MIDDLE EAST: AN OLD, OLD BOAT


BEFORE READING
TODAYS READING GOAL:
Good readers specify a goal for reading and plan a reading process
Text Codes
Symbol
Circle
Underline
Question mark
Exclamation mark

_______
?
!

Meaning
Vocabulary words
Key ideas
Confusing ideas
Interesting ideas

TODAYS TRAVEL DESTINATION:


Giza, Egypt

ANCIENT MIDDLE EAST: AN OLD, OLD BOAT


READING RUBRIC
Criteria:

4 points

3 points

2 points

1 point

Accuracy

Reading is
The reading is mostly
meaningful and word accurate with some
recognition is
successful selfautomatic.
corrections.
Unfamiliar words are Occasionally, a word
quickly decoded and
may be misread
read accurately.
without correction.
( 96% accuracy)
(91-95% accuracy)

The reading
contains many
attempts to decode
words, several
unsuccessful self
corrections, and/or
complete stalls
during difficult
sections.
(86-90% accuracy)

Reading contains
many miscues and
multiple, unsuccessful
decoding attempts.
Substitutions can
typically be "guesses"
at words with little
attempt to maintain
meaning.
(less than 85%
accuracy)

Phrasing

Reading is generally
well- phrased with
large, meaningful
phrases. Punctuation
and sentence
structure are
interpreted
accurately.

Reading is naturally
phrased for the most
part, with careful
attention to some of
the punctuation.

Reading is primarily
choppy in small 2or 3- word phrases.
Some attention to
punctuation is
present.

Phrasing is
monotonous, with
little attention to
phrase boundaries.
Words may be
stressed incorrectly
and/or read word-byword.

Flow

Reading is
consistently smooth
with self-corrections
made automatically.

The reading may


have some breaks in
flow because of
pauses and difficulty
with specific words.

During difficult
sections, the
hesitations and
pauses are frequent
and disruptive.

Each word is read as a


single entity, severely
limiting the flow of
the passage. As a
result, meaning is
usually obscured.

Pace

Reading is
Reading is sometimes
consistently
conversational but
conversational and
may include portions
well-paced
that are moderately
throughout the entire
slow OR
passage.
inappropriately fast.

Reading is a bumpy
combination of fast
and slow with
minimal
consistency.

The reading is slow,


word-by-word, and
noticeably laborious.
Meaning and context
are obscured by the
difficult reading pace.

ANCIENT MIDDLE EAST: AN OLD, OLD BOAT


GIZA, Egypt (Achieve3000, August 14, 2008). More
than 50 years ago, boat pits were found next to the Great
Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. Entombed in the pits were
ancient wooden boats that experts believe were intended
to ferry Khufu, the pharaoh who built the Great Pyramid,
into the afterlife. Soon, archaeologists will excavate the
fragments of the second of these boats and try to
reassemble it. In doing so, experts hope to learn more
about the boat, which is one of the oldest vessels to have
survived from antiquity.
The 4,500-year-old vessel is the sister ship of a similar boat that was removed in pieces from a
pit in 1954. That boat was painstakingly reconstructed and is now on display in a museum built
above the pit. The unexcavated boat is thought to be of a similar design to its sister ship, a
narrow craft measuring 142 feet, with a rectangular deckhouse and long, interlocking oars that
soar overhead. The cedar timbers of the boat's curved hull are lashed together with rope. While
the unexcavated boat is believed to be smaller and less well preserved than the reconstructed
ship, the two boats are considered to be among the most significant finds on the Giza Plateau.
Excavation of the second boat will begin in November, said professor Sakuji Yoshimura of
Japan's Waseda University, who is helping to lead restoration efforts. He said that 600 pieces of
timber from Lebanese cedar and Egyptian acacia trees are expected to be removed from the pit,
and once the pieces of wood have been extricated, Yoshimura and Egypt's Supreme Council of
Antiquities will begin reconstructing the boat.
John Darnell, an Egyptologist at Yale University, said that new research into the second boat
could fill in some blanks about the significance of the two ancient vessels and could help to
resolve a debate over their true purpose, which has remained somewhat enigmatic. Experts have
been unable to determine whether the boats ever actually plied Nile River waterways or were of
purely spiritual, figurative import.
"In Egypt, almost everything real had its counterpart meaning or significance in the spiritual
world. But there's a lot of debate as to whether these vessels ever were used or not," Darnell
explained.
Some experts believe that the boats were used in the water. It is possible, they say, that these
were the funerary boats used to bring the pharaoh Khufu's embalmed remains up the Nile from
the ancient capital of Memphis for burial in the Great Pyramid, his mausoleum. As evidence,
they point to rope marks on the wood, which could have been caused by a rope becoming wet
and then shrinking as it dried.
Antiquities expert Zahi Hawass disagrees, purporting that the boats were symbolic vessels that
were never meant for the water. He said that solar symbols found inside the second boat pit offer
evidence that those who buried the boats believed that Khufu's soul would travel from his tomb
in the pyramid through a connecting airshaft to the boat chambers, and then the pharaoh would

ANCIENT MIDDLE EAST: AN OLD, OLD BOAT


use the boats to traverse the heavens, like the sun god, taking one boat by day and the other by
night.
While experts debate the boats' purpose, tourists to the Great Pyramid can peek into the past with
the help of a camera inserted through a hole in the ceiling of the underground chamber where the
second boat is entombed. The camera transmits a video image to a small TV monitor at the site,
showing layers of crisscrossing beams and planks on the floor of the dark pit.
For Zahi Hawass, it's the opportunity to explore history that excites him. "You can smell the
past," he said.
Dig Deeper
Since 2008, when "An Old, Old Boat" was published, scientists have continued to work at the
site of the second boat and have unearthed some information that increases their understanding
of ancient Egypt. In 2009, they started raising the boatbut it wasn't a matter of grabbing
shovels and starting to dig. There was lots of work to be done first. After creating detailed maps
of the area, archaeologists raised a large tent over the site to protect it from the weather while
they worked. This precaution was important because the boat is made of wood, which can warp
and split with fluctuations in temperature and humidity.
The boat pit was covered by stone blocks. Removing those blocks, a process that began in 2011,
wasn't going to be easy. According to Dr. Zahi Hawass, the biggest block was about 3 feet wide
and 12 feet long and weighed 16 tons.
The laborious removal process uncovered some important new information. The stones covering
the first boat had markings showing that Khufu's son, Djedefre, was king when the boat was
constructed, while markings on the stones covering the second boat refer to Khufu as king.
Although Djedefre's name appears in the markings, they make no mention of his kingship, so it's
very likely that the second boat was built before the first, at a time when Khufu was still alive
and ruling as king. Unknown until the second boat was raised, this discovery adds to our
understanding of the lives and times of the Egyptian rulers who built the pyramids.
Dictionary

enigmatic (adjective) secretive; mysterious


purport (verb) to claim that something is true

ANCIENT MIDDLE EAST: AN OLD, OLD BOAT


Math Word Challenge
Gary's favorite hobby is building wooden boats. Let's say that Gary builds two identical boat
hulls. One hull is made from cedar and the other is made from oak. The density of cedar is 24
pounds per cubic foot. If the oak hull is 83.3% heavier than the cedar hull, what is the density of
the oak that Gary uses? Round to the nearest whole number.
44 pounds per cubic foot
50 pounds per cubic foot
37 pounds per cubic foot
107 pounds per cubic foot

ANCIENT MIDDLE EAST: AN OLD, OLD BOAT


AFTER READING
1. According to the article, why do some experts think that the boats were actually used on the
water?
There are rope marks on the wood, which could have been caused by the rope becoming wet
and then shrinking as it dried.
The boats are made with a particular kind of wood that was valued by boat makers working
at the same time as Khufu's boat makers.
There are solar symbols that can be seen marking the inside of the pits in which the boats
were buried over 4,500 years ago.
The boats were found in pits that connected to the main chamber of the Great Pyramid via
fastidiously crafted airshafts.
2. Which of these happened before the first boat was reconstructed?
The boat's sister ship was extracted in 600 fragments from a pit in Giza.
Zahi Hawass expressed excitement at the smell of the boat pit.
King Khufu was embalmed and entombed in the Great Pyramid.
The boat's sister ship was proven to be a symbolic vessel never meant for the water.
3. Which is the closest synonym for the word purport?
Profess
Procure
Preclude

Preface

4. In which paragraph would the author most likely place information about Professor Sakuji
Yoshimura's research specialty?
Paragraph 5
Paragraph 2
Paragraph 4
Paragraph 3
5. The best alternate headline for this article would be __________.
Antiquities Council Collaborates With Professor
Ancient Craft Appears Incongruous on Nile River
Antiquities Experts Generate Arguments, Factions
Ancient Craft Awaits Excavation, Reconstruction
6. The article states:
[Yoshimura] said that 600 pieces of timber from Lebanese cedar and Egyptian acacia trees
are expected to be removed from the pit, and once the pieces of wood have been extricated,
Yoshimura and Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities will begin reconstructing the boat.
Which would be the closest synonym for the word extricate?
Disregard
Dissipate
Discern
Disengage

ANCIENT MIDDLE EAST: AN OLD, OLD BOAT


7. Look at the following sentences from the article:
The unexcavated boat is thought to be of a similar design to its sister ship, a narrow craft
measuring 142 feet, with a rectangular deckhouse and long, interlocking oars that soar
overhead. The cedar timbers of the boat's curved hull are lashed together with rope.
Why did the author include this information?
To inform the reader that the reconstructed boat was built with a rectangular shape while the
unexcavated boat is probably rounded
To help the reader imagine the reconstructed boat's appearance and the unexcavated boat's
possible appearance
To inform the reader of an ongoing debate among experts who cannot agree on how ancient
boats were constructed
To help the reader imagine the exact appearance of all watercraft constructed in Egypt
through the years
8. Which of these is a statement of opinion?
Everyone should defer to Zahi Hawass in the matter of determining the two boats' purpose,
since he is an antiquities expert.
Excavation of the second buried boat is scheduled to commence in November and will be
led in part by Sakuji Yoshimura.
A camera has been inserted through a hole in the ceiling of the underground chamber where
the second boat is entombed.
An Egyptologist from Yale University said that research related to the second boat could
help resolve a debate over the boat's purpose.

ANCIENT MIDDLE EAST: AN OLD, OLD BOAT


WRITING RUBRIC
Criteria:

5 points

4 points

3 points

2 points

You clearly tell


about the topic.

You mostly tell


about the topic.

Your writing
needs to tell
more about the
topic.

Your writing
must tell about
the topic.

Your writing has


a clear
beginning,
middle, and
ending.

Your writing has


a beginning,
middle, and
ending, but one
or more parts
need work.

Your writing is
missing parts of
the beginning,
middle, or
ending.

Your writing
needs a clear
beginning,
middle, and
ending.

Your writing
uses many facts
and definitions.

Your writing
uses some facts
and definitions.

Your writing
uses few facts or
definitions.

Your writing
must use facts or
definitions.

Your writing is
clear. You use
joining words.

Your writing is
mostly clear.
You often use
joining words.

Your writing is
Your writing
sometimes clear. needs to be easier
You sometimes
to follow. You
use joining
must use joining
words.
words.

You have no
spelling
problems. You
use capital
letters, when
needed. You
always use
punctuation.

You have few


spelling
problems. You
often use needed
capital letters.
You often use
punctuation.

Purpose for
Writing
Do you inform, or
tell about, the
topic?
Organization
Does your writing
have a beginning,
middle, and
ending?
Details
Do you use facts
and definitions in
your writing?
Sentence
Structure and
Style
Is your writing
clear? Do you use
joining words to
link ideas?
Mechanics
Did you check your
spelling? Do you
use capital letters,
when needed? Do
you use commas,
periods, and other
punctuation?

You have some


spelling
problems. You
sometimes use
needed capital
letters. You
sometimes use
punctuation.

You have many


spelling
problems. You
need to watch for
capital letters.
You need to
check your
punctuation.

ANCIENT MIDDLE EAST: AN OLD, OLD BOAT


THOUGHT QUESTION
Writing Prompt: Which expert from the article do you agree with? Which argument was the
most convincing? Do you think the boats were used as ceremonial objects, or for transporting the
embalmed pharaoh up the Nile? Support your answer with evidence from the lesson.
Write an argument to support your claims in an analysis of this topic, using valid reasoning and
relevant and sufficient evidence.
Include in your answer:
Write five or more paragraphs.
Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from opposing claims, and create an
organization that establishes clear relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons,
and evidence.
Develop claims and counterclaims fairly, supplying evidence for each while pointing out
the strengths and limitations of both.
Use words, phrases, and clauses to link the major sections of text, create cohesion, and
clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims(s), reasons, and evidence.
Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone.
Provide a concluding statement that follows from and supports the argument presented.
Use the words afterlife and pyramid, if you can.

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