Evidence of sea-going ships begins with king Sneferu, the tenth monarch of Dynasty I I I , about 2900 B . C . This king sent an expedition of forty ships across the Mediterranean to Syria to bring cedar to Egypt, for Egypt has always suffered from a lack of the more substantial forest trees and has been obliged to procure its wood from abroad. 3 Now i t is hardly likely that a royal expedition of forty ships sent to procure a considerable supply of timber was a first venture across the northern sea, so we may reasonably suppose that a sea-going trade had arisen and developed before this, though we are obliged to take king Sneferu’s enterprise as marking a definite stage in the evolution of navigation because i t gives our first evidence of such over-sea trade.