Horses played an important role in Pi-Ramesse. They were mainly used as draft animals for wagons. Archaeological evidence of their particular importance can be found in various areas of the city.
Small horses, great efforts
Horses were probably first brought to Egypt from Western Asia during the period of the Hyksos, who ruled Egypt’s north from 1700 to 1550 BCE. The animals are not only attested in pictorial and textual sources, but archaeologically too, because stables and burials have been excavated.
During the New Kingdom, Egyptian horses were relatively small, with a size comparable to modern mules. They were primarily used to pull chariots, because horse riding was comparatively uncommon.
Bronze Age high-tech
Chariot troops represented the elite unit of the army throughout the New Kingdom. The king himself was often depicted as a victorious commander on a chariot, so it's no wonder that chariots made their way into the burial equipment of King Tutankhamun. Their complex design required a variety of precious raw materials, such as exotic wood, metal, and leather.
Weighing only around 30 kg, Egyptian chariots were extremely light – people or animals could even carry them on their backs when travelling over rugged terrain. During battle, chariots were ridden by at least two people: a charioteer and an archer. In contrast, Hittite chariots were much more massive and carried a team of three people: the charioteer, a person holding a shield, and one further soldier.
Horses for the pharaoh’s victory
Excavations in the Storeroom:
A Door Lintel from the Royal Horse Stables
Many of the objects found during the excavations in Qantir/Pi-Ramesse are first put into the storerooms, where they are kept safe and examined. Prof. Dr. Alexandra Verbovsek, Director of the Qantir/Pi-Ramesse Project, presents a fragmented door lintel from the royal horse stables, which will be reconstructed and published.
Another find throws even more light on how horses were kept at Pi-Ramesse. Not far from the workshops, horses ran around freely in a courtyard.
About 3,300 years ago, after a rain shower, these horses left hoofprints in the soft soil. To dry the ground, a layer of sand was put on top of the muddy soil, causing the prints to be preserved.
Pharaoh’s Horse Stables in LEGO Bricks
The Roemer- and Pelizaeus-Museum Hildesheim displays a model of a horse stable, which was designed based on a royal stable excavated in Pi-Ramesse. Using the model, Prof. Regine Schulz, the museum's scientific director, shows how we can imagine life with horses at Pharaoh’s court.
AN XXL CITY
CHRONICLE OF A CITY
A CITY OF TECHNOLOGIES
HORSES FOR THE PHARAO
PI-RAMESSE AROUND THE WORLD