The Greek historian Herodotus wrote that Egypt was "the gift of the Nile". The river was the main highway through the country and an important source of water. Papyrus rafts were probably the first vessels used on the river, but in a short time the ancient Egyptians were building huge boats used for trade and transportation of heavy materials. On land, trade routes to the remote oases and gold mines were established at an early date and by the New Kingdom the armies had left the confines of Egypt to create a vast empire. Chariots were used as the main striking force. Because of the dry climate some ships and chariots have miraculously survived and the authors draw upon these examples, as well as contemporary illustrations, to illuminate all aspects of transport over three thousand years ago.
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