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Dovetails in Ancient Egypt
Dovetails have been used in woodworking for at least 4,000 years. These examples and model tools were found in various tombs and burial sites in Egypt.
All images from The Egyption Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. See samples from the collection at
Whitewashed Chest
Outer Coffin of Hapyankhtifi
Coffin of Khnum-nakht      
XII Dynasty, ca. 1900–1800 BC
Possibly from Asyut

There is a single dovetail at the top and bottom of the mitered joint.

Whitewashed Chest
XVIII Dynasty, ca. 1498 BC

Storage boxes from the burial chamber of Ramose-Hatnofer. These dovetailed boxes originally held lengths of linen from the royal stores.

Small Cosmetics Box
Small Cosmetics Box Inset
Small Cosmetics Box
XII Dynasty,
ca. 1991–1783 BC

Ebony and ivory. The drawer is through-dovetailed with a false drawer-front overlay. This two-piece drawer-front technique is almost 4,000 years old.

Small model tool chest and tools
Small model tool chest and tools of Ankhef
XII Dynasty,
ca. 1991–1786 BC

These scale models of Egyptian tools include adzes, chisels and other bladed implements, perhaps saws.