Folding chairs from Europe which date back 3,500 years are remarkably similar in design to folding chairs found in Egypt prompting researchers to look into this as a case of ancient industrial espionage.
The fact that the design reached so far north led many scholars to posit that northern Europeans developed it independently and in parallel to the Egyptians. But that view has now been challenged. “The design and dimensions of the chairs are too similar,” says Bettina Pfaff, an archaeologist from Nebra, near the eastern German city of Halle, who specializes in prehistory. Her colleague Barbara Grodde also finds that there is “a remarkable similarity” between the Egyptian and Nordic models.
In other words, Pfaff says, “they were copied.” This, in turn, presupposes that there was contact between sunny Egypt and the swampy North some 3,400 years ago.
Story: Matthais Schulz, Spiegel | Photo: Nils Pamperin/ Archäologisches Museum Hamburg