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Ancient Egyptian Culture, Mummies, Statues, Burial Practices and Artefacts

Ancient Egyptian culture from the 1st Dynasty to the end of the 20th Dynasty,
the New Kingdom, in 1077 BC, at the end of the reign of Ramesses XI.



Egyptian Chronology


Date Culture Duration
11 000 BC Jebel Sahaba  
Before 8 000 BC - Palaeolithic in Europe and Northern Asia
8 000 BC - Nominal end of the Ice Age
8 600 - 4 400 BC Nabta Playa Neolithic 4 200 years
6 100 - 5 180 BC    Qarunian (formerly known as Fayum B)     920 years
5 200 - 4 200 BC Fayum A 1 000 years
4 800 - 4 200 BC Merimde 600 years
4 600 - 4 400 BC El Omari 200 years
4 400 - 4 000 BC Badarian 400 years
4 000 - 3 300 BC Maadi 700 years
4 000 - 3 500 BC Naqada I 500 years
3 500 - 3 200 BC Naqada II 300 years
3 200 - 3 100 BC Naqada III 100 years
3 100 - 2 670 BC Early Dynastic 586 years
2 670 - 2 181 BC Old Kingdom 505 years
2 181 - 2 025 BC First Intermediate Period 156 years
2 025 - 1 700 BC Middle Kingdom 325 years
1 700 - 1 550 BC Second Intermediate Period 150 years
1 550 - 1 077 BC New Kingdom 473 years
1 077 - 664 BC Third Intermediate Period 413 years
664 - 525 BC Late Period 139 years
525 - 404 BC First Persian Period 121 years
404 - 343 BC Late Dynastic Period 61 years
343 - 332 BC Second Persian Period 11 years
332 - 305 BC Macedonian Period 27 years
305 - 30 BC Ptolemaic Period 275 years
30 BC - 395 AD Roman Period 425 years
395 AD - 640 AD Byzantine Period 245 years
640 AD - 1517 AD Islamic Period 877 years
1517 AD - 1867 AD Ottoman Period
(French Occupation 1798-1801)
350 years
1867 AD - 1914 AD Khedival Period 47 years
1914 AD - 1922 AD Sultanate under Hussein Kamel,
as a British Protectorate
8 years
1922 AD - 1953 AD Monarchy 31 years
1953 AD - Present Day Republic  


Table of dates for the history of Egypt, adapted from various sources.



Date Dynasty Period Duration
(years)
3 100 - 2 890 BC First Dynasty Archaic/Early Dynastic Period 214
2 890 - 2 670 BC Second Dynasty Archaic/Early Dynastic Period 220
2 670 - 2 613 BC Third Dynasty Old Kingdom 57
2 613 - 2 494 BC Fourth Dynasty Old Kingdom - Golden Age 119
2 494 - 2 345 BC Fifth Dynasty Old Kingdom 149
2 345 - 2 181 BC Sixth Dynasty Old Kingdom 164
2 181 - 2 160 BC Seventh and Eighth Dynasties First Intermediate Period 21
2 160 - 2 025 BC Ninth and Tenth Dynasties First Intermediate Period 135
2 025 - 1 991 BC Eleventh Dynasty Middle Kingdom 34
1 991 - 1 802 BC Twelfth Dynasty Middle Kingdom 189
1 802 - 1 649 BC Thirteenth Dynasty
From Memphis, over Middle and Upper Egypt
Middle Kingdom 153
1 805 - 1 650 BC Fourteenth Dynasty
From Avaris, Nile Delta, over Lower Egypt
Second Intermediate Period 155
1 650 - 1 550 BC Fifteenth Dynasty
First Hyksos dynasty, ruled from Avaris,
without control of the entire land
Second Intermediate Period 100
1 649 - 1 582 BC Sixteenth Dynasty
Ruled the Theban region in Upper Egypt
The Hyksos ruled the delta
The Kingdom of Kush ruled Upper Egypt
Second Intermediate Period 67
1 580 - 1 550 BC Seventeenth Dynasty
Ruled Thebes, Hyksos ruled the delta
Second Intermediate Period / New Kingdom 30
1 543 - 1 292 BC Eighteenth Dynasty
Egypt reaches the peak of its power
New Kingdom 251
1 292 - 1 187 BC Nineteenth Dynasty
Conquests in Canaan
New Kingdom 105
1 187 - 1 077 BC Twentieth Dynasty End of the New Kingdom 110


Table of dates for the First to Twentieth Dynasties, from various sources, mostly via Wikipedia


Early Egypt timeline

Timeline for early Egypt, from 11 000 BC to 2 500 BC.

Photo: Poster, British Museum © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Rephotography: Don Hitchcock 2015



The First Dynasty

The First Dynasty of ancient Egypt covers the first series of Egyptian kings to rule over a unified Egypt. It immediately follows the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, possibly by Narmer, also known as Menes, and marks the beginning of the Early Dynastic Period, a time at which power was centred at Thinis.

The date of this period falls within the early Bronze Age. In a 2013 study based on radiocarbon dates, the beginning of the First Dynasty - the accession of Hor-Aha - was placed close to 3 100 BC.


Name Dates (uncertain, gaps exist, some overlap)
Narmer/Menes circa 32nd century
Hor-Aha starting 3 080 ± 30 BC
Djer  3 073 BC – 3 036 BC
Djet  3 008 BC – 2 975 BC
Merneith (mother of Den)  2 946 BC – 2 916 BC
Den  2 975 BC – 2 935 BC – 2 911 BC or  2 928 BC – 2 911 BC
Anedjib  2 916 BC – 2 896 BC
Semerkhet  2 912 BC – 2 891 BC
Qa'a (Kaa)  2 906 BC – 2 890 BC


Table of First Dynasty Rulers, adapted from Wikipedia


first dynasty tomb arrangement





Cemetery B, Umm el-Qa'ab. Tombs of the pharaohs of the first and second dynasty of Egypt.

Photo: http://www.wikiwand.com/hr/Merneit
Text: http://www.wikiwand.com/en/Merneith




Early Dynastic temples

First - Second Dynasty

3 100 - 2 670 BC


Temples in the Early Dynastic period seem to have been small places, accessible to all. There, people asked the gods for help, worshipped, and made gifts. Items they left ranged from interesting natural pebbles, to ornate palettes provided by kings. Because the offerings were carefully buried during rebuilding, deposits have been found at many sites. The objects on display are mainly from Abydos, and show the range of items used and donated in temples at this time.

Text above: Poster at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Burial in the First Dynasty

3 100 - 2 890 BC

First Dynasty kings were buried in large cedar shrines. Those of their subjects with sufficient means had small boxes made of native wood with just enough room to fit their contracted bodies. Most boxes were plain, like the one displayed here, but some were decorated to emulate shrines and became the prototypes for later coffins.

Grave goods now expressed status by their quantity, rather than their quality. In rich tombs numerous storage chambers were added both above and below ground to hold them all, The objects shown here are typical of the burial of a relatively wealthy person in the First Dynasty.

First Dynasty tomb
This is Walter Emery's reconstruction of the burial chamber of Saqqara 3503, a First Dynasty tomb of the highest elite. It may very well be a royal tomb belonging to Mer-Neith, who may have been the consort of Djer and could have even ruled Egypt for a short time. In this tomb, the substructure pit measures 1425 cm by 450 cm and was divided into five chambers. Again, the central one was the burial chamber, which measured 480 cm by 350 cm in size. When discovered, it contained fragments of a wooden sarcophagus and on its base was found a few human bones. Old (gold?) foil remains were found scattered about the chamber. The burial chamber also held the remains of a funerary meal, pottery vessels near the walls, traces of wooden and basketwork chests, and the fragments of wooden canopy poles.

The superstructure of this tomb contained nine niches on the longer side and three on the short ones, some of them still retaining traces of paint. Inside there were 21 magazines that were well preserved but plundered, though some were collapsed or had been set on fire soon after being plundered. Many of the stone vessels found in the tomb have been dated to the reign of Djer, and at least two seal impressions were found that alternated the serekh of Djer and a serekh-like device containing the name of Mer-Neith. This device was surmounted by a Neith standard rather than that of Horus.


This tomb was surrounded by an enclosure wall, and twenty to twenty-two subsidiary burials. Within the subsidiary burials, some boat models were found, and on the occupant of one was a copper blade that had apparently been strapped to the individual's ankle. Another subsidiary burial contained a wooden box that may have contained some sort of copper tool, perhaps for surgery. On the north side, a brickwork casing for a funerary boat was discovered beyond the subsidiary burials. Note that the boat containment was entirely above ground, rather than dug into a pit. The earliest burials of nobles can be traced back to the First Dynasty, at the north side of the Saqqara plateau. During this time, the royal burial ground was at Abydos. The first royal burials at Saqqara, comprising underground galleries, date to the Second Dynasty.

Photo: Poster, British Museum © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0, Courtesy of the Egypt Exploration Society, London
Rephotography: Don Hitchcock 2015
Text: poster at the Museum © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Additional text: http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/firstdynastysaqqara.htm




First Dynasty saqqara plan
First Dynasty tombs at Saqqara

Photo: http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/firstdynastysaqqara.htm




Early Egypt
The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Gallery in Room 64 of the British Museum illustrates the beginnings of ancient Egyptian civilisation among nomads in the Sahara desert and the distinctive agricultural communities along the Nile.

By 3100 BC these cultures merged, forming the basis for the world's earliest unified state. Unification brought rapid social and technological advances, leading to the creation of the monumental pyramid tombs in the Old Kingdom, 500 years later.

Photo: Poster, British Museum © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Rephotography: Don Hitchcock 2015
Text: poster at the Museum © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Early Egypt map






Map of the major sites and places in Early Egypt.

Photo: Poster, British Museum © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Rephotography: Don Hitchcock 2015
Text: poster at the Museum © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




The First Dynasty

3 100 2 890 BC


For the ancient Egyptians, human history began with the First Dynasty. This series of eight kings from Abydos ruled over a unified country. Much of what we know about them comes from their tombs at Abydos. These were situated in the desert near a wadi (valley) believed to give direct access to the afterlife.

Large mud brick enclosures at the desert's edge, about a mile away, served as funerary temples where rituals were enacted. These early kings ruled an increasingly urban society that was socially divided and spread over a large geographical area. Using a mixture of traditional and new ideology, effective management and brute force, they forged the world's first nation state. Their achievements in art, architecture, administration and religious doctrine formed the foundation for the future development of Egyptian civilisation.



label
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

The Kings of the First Dynasty

Seal of the Abydos royal necropolis listing the kings of the First Dynasty, courtesy of the German Archaeological Institute Cairo.

Photo: from the card at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Narmer: Egypt's first king

First Dynasty
3100 BC


Narmer inaugurated Egypt's First Dynasty by winning a battle in the western Delta and fully unifying the country.

Recording this victory on his magnificent palette, shown below, Naimer declared his control over all of Egypt by wearing the crowns of both Upper and Lower Egypt.

Then, turning his attention to Canaan, he made further conquests. Narmer's achievement in unifying the two lands brought prosperity to his subjects, and promoted the first great flowering of Egyptian civilisation.

Narmer Palette
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

The Narmer Palette

Cast of the palette of Narmer

Wearing Upper Egypt's White Crown, Narmer smites a ruler from the west Delta, sealing the final victory that unified Egypt. Narmer's patron god, Horus, presents him with a personification of the Delta lands, affirming his rule over the entire country.

This is a cast of the original which is now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo.

It is a plaster cast in two halves of a ceremonial palette. The original, executed in grey mudstone, was discovered by Quibell in 1894 in Kom el-Ahmar (Hierokonpolis). The decoration shows mythological and real animals.


Photo: Public Domain public domain tag

Permission: This is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art. The work of art itself is in the public domain for the following reason: This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 100 years or less. This file has been identified as being free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighbouring rights. Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Catalog: First Dynasty, EA 35715




Narmer Palette

Above, a detail from the palette's flip side, shown in full above, shows Narmer wearing Lower Egypt's Red Crown in a procession to view decapitated prisoners at Buto, in the western Delta.

Note the name of Narmer is shown as a catfish, his icon, along with the chisel, his other icon.

Photo: Public Domain public domain tag
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0



jar seal jar seal
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Jar sealing of Narmer

The name of Narmer, written as a catfish within a serekh (royal name box), has been impressed with a large cylinder seal several times onto this conical jar lid.

The chisel, the second element of Narmer's name and perhaps originally a title, appears as a decorative band between the two rows. The jar probably held wine, and three deep horizontal marks on one side of the lid may be an indication of its quality.

A conical jar-seal of brown clay with a red pottery lid adhering to the underside. The seal bears four impressed inscriptions, one of which is not very visible.


Four impressions, three of which show the repeated name of Narmer, whilst the fourth depicts a lion crouching before a shrine. The latter impression is very worn and only small parts can be distinguished. The lion motif is common on the Early Dynastic mud seal impressions.

Height 185 mm, width 230 mm.

Catalog: First Dynasty, Umm el-Qaab (Abydos), cemetery B, EA35522
Photo (right): Don Hitchcock 2015
Photo (left): Card at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




tags
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Narmer's ivory inlays and ebony label

Narmer was proud of his accomplishments and recorded them on many objects. Ivory inlays for a box depict bound prisoners and foreigners bearing tribute jars from Canaan. The same oil jar appears on the fragmentary ebony label. Above it is a representation of a walled town, which some believe housed Canaanite prisoners captured during Narmer's military campaigns.


tags

Catalog: First Dynasty, Abydos, Tomb of Narmer, EA35514, EA35515, EA35519
Photo (above): Don Hitchcock 2015
Photo (left): Card showing a line drawing of the ebony label, at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




stone jar fragment
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Narmer's stone jar fragment and ivory piece

Under Narmer the writing of the king's name became an art form. Depending on the available space, Narmer's name could be written with the catfish alone, as on the ivory carving, or in more detail with a catfish and a chisel, as on the jar fragment and his palette.

EA55587: Fragment of an ivory plaque with the name of Nar(mer) incised on one side. The inscription is well preserved, although the sides and back of the fragment are broken.

Length: 35 mm, width 18 mm.


EA32640: Part of a thick-walled cylinder jar of calcite. Bears the serekh of Narmer in low relief on the exterior surface. The bottom of the inscription is missing and the stone has been darkened by burning.

Length 90 mm, width 95 mm.

Catalog: Naqada, Tomb of Neith-hotep, First Dynasty. EA55587
Abydos, Tomb of Djet, First Dynasty, EA32640
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




jar seal jar seal
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Narmer's stone jar fragment and ivory piece

Part of a jar-seal of dark grey clay, bearing the repeated impression of the name of Aḥa, together with two signs. The clay is slightly cracked but the inscribed surface is well-preserved.

Length 85 mm, width 70 mm.

Catalog: First Dynasty, Abydos, tomb B19, EA35520
Photo (left): © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Photo (right): Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




wooden coffin
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Wooden coffin of a commoner

This coffin contains the skeleton of a young woman, originally in a tightly flexed position. Traces of linen are probably remnants of a shroud and not wrappings. In the First Dynasty, the practice of wrapping the body in linen strips was reserved for kings and the highest elite.

It is from Tarkhan, an Ancient Egyptian necropolis, located around 50 km south of Cairo on the west bank of the Nile.

Catalog: First Dynasty, Tarkhan 1955, EA52888
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9401textdrillingsm
Naqada III - First Dynasty (onwards): 3 200 BC and later

Stone vessels manufacture

Armies of workers must have been needed to extract and transport the amount of stone used during the first two dynasties. Harder still was turning the stone block into a highly polished jar or bowl fit for a king. This job required special tools and training.

In recognition of this skill, the drill for stone vessels became the hieroglyph for the word 'craft worker'. This was composed of a stout wooden shaft, weighed down by stones held in nets. At the top was a crank for turning, at the bottom a fork for attaching specific drill bits for different tasks.

Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Card, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9402drilledjarsm
First Dynasty (?): 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Drilled Jar

Small pear-shaped limestone jar with flat base and narrow mouth, the drilling of the interior has only just begun.

In order to create a stone vessel, a stone block was first hammered and chiselled into a vessel shape. The interior was then bored out. For this a hollow copper tube was attached to the drill.

Using the crank to move the copper bit back and forth, a circular cutting was made in the centre with the aid of abrasive sand.

Height 56 mm, diameter 60 mm (max), 30 mm (min).

Catalog: First Dynasty (?), EA68940
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9402drillcoressm
First Dynasty (?): 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Drill cores

EA37258: Calcite drill-core, tapering.

Height 53 mm, diameter 10 mm.


EA68943: Section of a calcite drill-core, tapering towards one end.

Height 66 mm, diameter 10 mm.<


EA68944: Section of a calcite drill-core, tapering towards one end.

Height 59 mm, diameter 9 mm.

Catalog: First Dynasty (?), EA37258, EA68943, EA68944
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9402flintscrapersmallersm
Predynastic (before 3 100 BC, probably Naqada III, 3 200 - 3 100 BC)

Flint scraper

Crescent-shaped chert tool, used for the boring out of stone vessels.

Length 55 mm, width 44 mm, thickness 22 mm.

( note that although this is labelled as Predynastic by the BM catalog, it was probably Late Predynastic, since the skills and the required organisation of labour in Northern Egypt to make stone jars were not fully developed until the Naqada Period, although there are even a few examples from the Badarian Period - Don )


Catalog: Predynastic, Abydos, EA37266
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9402doublesidedfigure8drillbitsm
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Figure-of-eight drill bit

Figure-of-eight drill bits of quartzite were needed for drilling harder stone and hollowing out the inside of stone vessels. Drilling with these bits left tell-tale grooves on the vessel walls and on the drill itself. Inhaling the fine dust produced during this process must have shortened many lives.

Drill-bit of hard crystalline sandstone with concave depressions on the sides for attachment to the shaft of the drill. Bears concentric circular marks from use, on both top and bottom, showing that the bit was used both ways up.

Length 80 mm, thickness 24 mm.

Catalog: First Dynasty, Abydos, Temple of Osiris, EA37278
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Stone Jar
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

First Dynasty stone vessels

Stone Jar

Stone vessels became an important part of burial furnishing during the First Dynasty The strength and durability of stone containers lent permanence to the provisions provided for the tomb owner's afterlife. Bowls and jars carved from easily worked travertine and greywacke were widely available. Exotic varieties were reserved for royalty and the high elite.

Cylinder jar of calcite (travertine) with slightly concave sides and a rounded rim, below which there is a raised ridge of decoration. Interior completely hollowed. Restored from fragments.

Height 342 mm, diameter 164 mm (rim), 139 mm (base), weight 4250 grams.

Catalog: First Dynasty, Akhmim, EA20934
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Stone Jar
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Stone Jar

Tubular vase of calcite with thin lug-handles on the sides. The lip is rounded, below which the sides are concave down to the level of the handles, then they taper straight down to the flat base.

Height 210 mm, diameter 94 mm (rim), 55 mm (base).

Catalog: First Dynasty, EA32159
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Stone vessels
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Stone Jar

EA35308: Large bowl of grey schist with a flat base and incurving rim. The base is countersunk on the interior. The side of the bowl bears two small areas which have been greatly scratched, no doubt deliberately, perhaps in order to remove an incised inscription. Restored from fragments.

( note that the stone used for this bowl looks very much more like fossiliferous limestone than schist. See the white cross sections of what are likely to be brachiopods in a dark limestone matrix - Don )

Height 135 mm, diameter 350 mm (rim), 98 mm (base), weight 2990 grams.


EA36359: Bowl of white limestone with darker veining, with a flat base and convex sides. The rim is plain and the interior of the base is smoothly rounded.

Height 88 mm, diameter 129 mm (rim), 40 mm (base)

Height 210 mm, diameter 94 mm (rim), 55 mm (base).

Catalog: First Dynasty, EA35308, EA36359
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




pots
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Pottery and palette

In contrast to earlier times, pottery and palettes in the First Dynasty were drab and utilitarian.

Cylindrical vessels for fats and oils and tall storage jars for food and drink were common within burials.

The small bowls were for serving or could be used as lids. Most of these objects come from one tomb at Mostagedda.


Catalog:
Hu H101, B407, First Dynasty, EA 30904, 30879
Mahasna H121, First Dynasty, EA 49050
Abydos, First Dynasty, EA 49300-1
Mostagedda 1726, First Dynasty, EA 56571, 56588-9, 62433, 62402
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




jar seal
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Aha's faience jar fragment

Narmer's successor was Aha, the 'Fighter', written with a mace and shield. Peace and prosperity followed Narmer's unification of the country, allowing Aha to develop the political capital at Memphis, near modern day Cairo. From here the two lands of Egypt were more efficiently administered, while the religious capital remained at Abydos.

The image shows part of the side of a large globular vase of glazed composition, consisting of three joined fragments. A small portion of the neck of the vessel is preserved at the top edge. On the exterior is the serekh of Aḥa, inlaid in a darker glaze than that of the rest of the surface. The present colour of the inscription is a dull brownish yellow, and the background glaze is white, but the original colours were probably dark brown or black for the inscription and green for the rest of the vase. The edges of the fragment are very worn and the surface is rather friable.


In order to keep the gods happy and ensure the state of 'maat' (roughly speaking, universal order), Egypt's ancient kings gave gifts to deities at their temples or shrines. On the walls of every temple are depictions of pharaohs before the gods offering wine, cloth, or small statues. The vase's find spot in a deposit of votive offerings indicates that its original purpose was as a gift to the temple at Abydos.

From the shape of the fragment we can tell that it was originally part of a large globular vase with a neck. Unfortunately no portion of its rim survived. At this early date virtually all objects made from glazed composition were small - such as beads, tiles, and statuettes - so that a glazed composition piece of this scale is unexpected and must have been rare. It is thus not surprising to find that the jar bears a king's name, making it a royal donation, probably to Khentiamentiu, the local deity.

Length 140 mm, width 114 mm.

Catalog: First Dynasty, Abydos, Osiris Temple, close to Chamber M69, EA38010
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




ivory box
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Aha's ivory box fragment

Aha built a large tomb complex for himself and his wives at Abydos. The name of one wife, Bener-ib meaning 'sweet heart', appears beside that of the king on this ivory box fragment.

His tomb complex also included graves for retainers (all young men) and one for seven lions possibly kept as pets.


A fragment of hippopotamus ivory, probably part of a box, bearing an incised inscription on one side giving the serekh of Aḥa and the name Ima-ib or Bener-ib. There are two holes through the fragment for fixing, as well as two holes in the bottom edge and one in each side, probably for dowels. The surface of the ivory is slightly cracked and the top right-hand corner is chipped.

Length 66 mm, width 31 mm, thickness 7 mm.

Catalog: First Dynasty, Abydos, cemetery B, Tomb of Aha, EA35513
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




ivory box
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Palette with ivory cover

This cosmetic palette set originally belonged to Aha's mother, Narmer's wife, Neith-hotep. Her name is etched on the cover's edge with her chief title as queen 'She who unites the two lords'.

Probably a royal gift, it was found with a female retainer buried within the tomb complex of King Djer, Neith-hotep's grandson.


EA35511: Rectangular mudstone palette: restored from two fragments, with a small amount lost from the edges of the break. One side is stained a dark violet colour from use. The surfaces have been carefully smoothed and the edges are rounded.

Length 89 mm, width 43 mm, thickness 8 mm.

This object bears an excavator's mark which was originally written as O .2 but altered to O .3. The same confusion applies to the ivory cover found with this palette, numbered 1901,1012.12. This type of well-finished rectangular palette is typical of the First Dynasty.

Catalog: Umm el-Qaab (Abydos), Tomb of Djer, tomb O .2 or O .3 subsidiary burial, EA35511


ivory box
EA35512: Rectangular cover for a mudstone palette, recessed on the underside. The top is very slightly convex and has a handle, now broken, in the approximate centre. On one end of the cover there is an incised inscription of Neitḥotep. Good condition.

Length 86 mm, width 40 mm, thickness 8 mm.
( note that I would have expected these dimensions to be reversed, that is that the cover would be longer and wider than the palette, particularly since the cover is recessed to accept the palette - Don )


Catalog: Umm el-Qaab (Abydos), Tomb of Djer, tomb O. 2 or O .3 subsidiary burial, EA35512
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9338tombofkingdjersm
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Tomb of King Djer surrounded by retainer burials.


Photo: Courtesy of the German Archaeological Institute, Cairo, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Poster, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




The King's retainers

First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

When a First Dynasty king died he took with him not only all the luxuries needed for a palace in the afterlife, but also the people to run it. Wives, officials, bodyguards and servants were interred around his tomb and funerary temple in long rows of connecting compartments, many sharing a common roof. This architecture, and the fact that most were adolescents or young adults, shows their deaths were not natural. Their sacrifice guaranteed the retainers their privileged positions in the afterlife, reaffirming the king's power for eternity.




img_9337stelessm
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Tombstones of retainers


Selected individuals were honoured with tombstones, or stelae, to mark their burial place. The stelae here were made for lai Neith and Sesher-ka, female members of the court of King Djer. More than 300 retainers surrounded Djer's tomb. Only 73 had tombstones, and 60 of these bear feminine names. This indicates the importance of women at court. Whether they were wives, priestesses or servants remains uncertain.

EA35612 (at back): Limestone stela, rough with a rounded top, chipped at the edges and extensively pitted by weathering. The stela bears an inscription in low relief giving a name which may be intended to read Iaineit, followed by a figure of a seated woman.
Height 355 mm, width 260 mm.

EA35613 (at front): Limestone stela, roughly-shaped stela of poor-quality limestone, rounded at the top and extensively pitted by weathering. The stela bears an inscription in low relief giving the name Sesherka below which is a figure of a seated woman.
Height 385 mm, width 250 mm.

Catalog: First Dynasty, Abydos, around Tomb of Djer, EA35612, EA35613
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9340copperaxe
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Copper Axe


Axes of copper were status symbols in the First Dynasty. Several were found with retainers buried around the king's funerary temples, who may have served as special guards. On this axe an inscription includes a drawing of an elephant, probably giving the name of the owner, but the reading is uncertain.

Broad rectangular axe-head with concave butt and gently convex sides, which turn out slightly at the corners of the cutting edge. As one of the sides is more convex and shorter than the other, the cutting end, which is moderately convex, is a little lop-sided. The blade has been cleaned since its acquisition; previously it was thickly corroded on one face, where the surface is now pitted. The same face has a number of fine cracks, which are probably the result of the process of manufacture. Except for small surface imperfections and a gash on one side, the other face is in excellent condition.

Marks of the original hammering are plainly visible on the cutting edge, which is quite sharp and shows distinct signs of wear. The better-preserved face of the axe bears a motif or inscription in hieroglyphs, executed in a punched pointille technique, consisting of three separate elements.

Length 153 mm, width 108 mm, thickness 11 mm, weight 1243 grams.


Catalog: Abydos, First Dynasty, EA30065
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9341toolssm
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Copper tools buried with a retainer of Djer

Skilled retainers accompanied the king in the afterlife to provide all the services required. One of Djer's retainers was probably a craftsman, since he was buried with a set of copper tools. These include two chisels and an adze, used in carpentry, and a long pointed tool possible for cutting leather. One chisel bears the owner's name, 'Hem', meaning 'servant'.

Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Djer, retainer burial O 31, First Dynasty, EA67564 - EA67567
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9319ea35530sm
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Furniture leg from King Djer's tomb

Beds, stools and boxes with legs in the shape of bulls' feet were home furnishings for the king and the elite. The power of the bull conferred protection on the user. High quality carving marks this ivory leg as a product of the royal workshops. It was probably attached to a chest or coffer. Such fragments are all that remain of once rich funerary equipment in the royal tombs.

A hippopotamus ivory leg in the form of a bull's foot, standing on a cylindrical, grooved pedestal. The detail of the carving is very good, the veins being depicted and the surface carefully modelled. At the back of the upper surface are the remains of a small tenon, pierced by a single hole for attachment. The top of this tenon is broken but the remainder of the object is in a good state of preservation.

Height 76 mm, width 52 mm (top).


Catalog: Abydos, First Dynasty, Tomb of Djer, EA35530
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9315boardgamesm img_9313gamepiecessm


img_9314gamesillustrationsm
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Board for the snake game.


Above left, the board for the snake game, and some of the pieces used.

The painting at left is of the playing pieces for the snake game depicted in the tomb of Hesy-ra, Saqqara, Third Dynasty.

Games were popular with the king and his court. This limestone board, carved in the shape of a coiled serpent, was for playing mehen, the snake game.


Two teams, with up to six players, raced marbles around the snake from tail to head and back again. From the tomb painting shown at the left, we know the game also involved ivory figurines of lions. Above right, these are probably some of the lion shaped pieces used in the game.

Many were found with retainers buried near the king, and might mark their owners as favoured gaming partners.

Playing mehen was not merely entertainment: victory at the game symbolised success in the afterlife.

Catalog: Possibly Abydos, Early Dynastic, EA66216
First Dynasty, EA65834, EA65835, EA66851, EA66852, EA30798, EA64093
Abydos, Merneith Enclosure, retainer burial S548, First Dynasty, EA52920
Abydos, Tomb of Djer, retainer burial O 29, First Dynasty, EA35529
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9320inlayssm
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Furniture inlays from the royal tombs.

Inlays of ivory were originally attached to wooden chests or other objects of furniture with resin or small gold or copper nails. Incised geometric patterns, filled with black paste, imitate basketry.

Pieces shaped like bundled reeds adorned the edges of boxes or stools.


EA32652: A piece of ivory inlay decorated on the face with vertical ribbing, broken off at the base. The back is cut into a dovetail tenon for secure fixing. One edge is rebated so that the decorated face extends beyond the rear of the tile, and the opposite edge is cut in the reverse manner, with the carved face inset, probably to allow a series of such pieces to be fitted together with overlapped joints. Length 45 mm, width 42 mm, thickness 10 mm. First Dynasty, Tomb of Den.

EA32654: A small piece of ivory inlay: decorated with deeply incised grooves running diagonally across the face to form a diamond pattern. Traces of dark pigment remain in the grooves. At one end there is a circular hole, bored through the strip. The reverse side is flat and smooth. Good condition, broken off at each end. Length 57 mm, width 20 mm, diameter of hole 3 mm. First Dynasty, Tomb of Den

EA32655: Rectangular fragment of ivory inlay, broken at each end, decorated with a pattern of incised diagonal lines. The pattern forms a series of diamond-shaped lozenges along the length of the piece, each bounded by three parallel lines and having a circular depression in the centre. Many of the grooves are filled with dark pigment. Length 59 mm, width 17 mm. First Dynasty, Tomb of Den

EA32657: Rectangular piece of ivory inlay, unbroken, decorated with incised lines in a diamond pattern. The piece is slightly curved and is pierced by a single hole, in the middle of the width. The edges and back are flat and smooth. Good condition. Length 24 mm, width 9 mm, diameter of hole 2 mm. First Dynasty, Tomb of Den

EA32661: Rectangular fragment of ivory inlay decorated with deeply incised lines running vertically and diagonally across the face. One end is broken away but the other end is preserved and is bevelled for inlaying. The grooves on the face still contain a small amount of dark pigment. First Dynasty, Tomb of Anedjib, length 56 mm, width 23 mm.

EA32663: Rectangular strip of ivory inlay, broken off at one end, decorated with vertical incised lines. The strip is pierced by two holes, 3 mm in diameter, at an interval of 35 mm. The reverse side is flat and smooth. Length 80 mm, width 16 mm. First Dynasty, Tomb of Anedjib

Note that some of these numbers do not appear in the catalog:

Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Den, First Dynasty, EA32552, EA32654, EA32655, EA32657
Abydos, Tomb of Anedjh, First Dynasty, EA32561, EA32562, EA32563
Abydos, Tomb of Queen Merneith, First Dynasty, EA32549
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9320towersm
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Label for gaming pieces.

Gaming pieces in the shape of towers provide important information about architecture at this time. This ebony label was probably attached to a box containing such tower shaped playing pieces, possibly for use in the board game, Senet.

Rectangular ebony label, pierced in the top right-hand corner. The front surface is incised with a design showing a tower with a crenellated top, almost certainly a representation of a game-piece, with faint traces of black paint in the outlines and red paint in the carving of the internal details. The top right-hand corner of the label has been broken and repaired.

Length 41 mm, width 48 mm.


Catalog: First Dynasty, Abydos, Tomb of Djer, EA35525
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9321cylindersm
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Cylinder

Almost all of the furnishings from the royal tombs were broken and burnt by robbers. This cylindrical jar is one of the few stone vessels to survive in one piece. Although burnt, the contents are still intact. It was found beneath a stairway in the tomb of Djer. Nearby, the wrapped arm with bracelets, illustrated elsewhere, was also discovered.

Cylinder, calcite jar, with concave sides and a rounded rim, below which there is a band of cord decoration. The entire jar has been blackened by fire and it is filled to the top with the charred remains of the original contents.

Height 140 mm, diameter 84 mm (base), 93 mm (rim)

Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Djer, First Dynasty, EA35546
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9323bead
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Ivory bead from a bracelet

Shaped like a falcon-topped serekh, the box for the king's name, this bead came from the tomb of King Djer. In the same tomb, a bracelet with identical beads made of turquoise and gold was found still in place on a linen wrapped arm, shown below. Whether it was the arm of the king or one of his queens is uncertain.

An ivory or bone bead in the form of a serekh, with the Horus falcon on the top, probably intended for use in a bracelet. The panels of the façade and the dots above are carved in sunken relief. The bead is pierced horizontally by two holes. The ivory is well preserved, although the object has been restored from three fragments, and the face of the hawk is missing.


A serekh was normally used as a royal crest, accentuating and honouring the name of the pharaoh. Its use can be dated back as early as the Gerzeh culture, circa 3 400 BC. The hieroglyphs forming the king's name were placed inside a rectangular extension atop the serekh, which represented the royal courtyard. Additionally, the falcon of the god Horus, or in a few cases the Set animal, topped the serekh, showing the celestial patron of the named king.

Height 16 mm, width 8 mm.

Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Djer, First Dynasty, EA35528
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Additional text: Wikipedia




falcon falcon


falcon falcon


falcon falcon


falcon
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Falcon figures as staff heads

Circa 3 100 - 3 000 BC.

Catalog: Alabaster, Serpentinite, ÄS 7174, ÄS 7175, ÄS 7184
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München




jar
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Vessel with a frieze of birds, as well as depictions of bulls' heads and ships, symbolising the whole of the world.

Circa 3 000 BC.

Catalog: Alabaster, ÄS 7162
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München




img_9290arrowheads
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Ivory and ebony arrowheads

As supreme hunter and warrior, the king maintained cosmic order. Befitting this role his arrows were made of precious ivory and exotic ebony. Fitted into reed shafts, these aerodynamic arrows did not need feathers to stabilise them. Red ochre applied to the tips of some may represent poison or the blood of the victim, magically guaranteeing victory.

Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Djer, First Dynasty, EA35535 - EA35542
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9289armjewellerysm

First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Arm with jewellery


Colourised black and white photograph of an arm from Djer's tomb, courtesy of the Egypt Exploration Society, London, from a poster at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

There is an intriguing story to this photograph, which is all that now remains of the arm wrapped in linen, although the beads are preserved in the Cairo Museum.

The following is an extract from Cowie and Johnson (2001):

One early idea to preserve and mummify the body of the deceased was to wrap the body in cloth to protect it from the atmosphere and to coat the cloth with resin, which had two functions: as it dried it stiffened around the body, preserving its shape, and it also became airtight, like a shell.

One of the earliest attempts at mummification discovered to date was a First Dynasty King, discovered by Flinders Petrie at Abydos, some 150 km north of Thebes. Abydos was a sacred city, especially dedicated to the cult of Osiris. Petrie, with an assistant Mace, re-excavated the poorly performed first excavation of the site, at the tomb of King Zer (Djer), beginning in 1899.


Four workmen found a wrapped arm inside a small hole in the wall of the tomb, upon which they could see a gold bead, and it was brought to Mace and Petrie. When it was unwrapped, they found four bracelets of gold and faience.

Petrie records that when the arm, the oldest mummified piece known, and its marvellously fine tissue of linen, were delivered to what is now the Cairo Museum, the assistant curator, Brugsch, a German born Egyptologist, only cared for display, so from one bracelet he cut away the half that was of plaited gold wire, and threw away the arm and the linen.

Petrie commented 'A museum is a dangerous place.'

braceletsdjersm
The bracelets as they appear now, in the Cairo Museum.

Photo: http://www.touregypt.net/museum/braceletpage2.htm




gazelle gazelle


gazelle
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Handle of a vessel in the shape of a reclining gazelle

Circa 2 950 BC.

Catalog: Alabaster, Eastern Delta, ÄS 4200
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München, Wikipedia




frog
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Frog in Rock Crystal

Circa 2 950 BC.

Catalog: Rock Crystal, ÄS 5567
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München




frog
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Small pot in the form of a frog.

Circa 2 950 BC.

Catalog: Either alabaster or feldspar, ÄS 1588 or ÄS 1588
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München




img_9324goldbuttonandlidsm
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Gold button and gold jar lid

The king had the monopoly on gold for his personal use and as gifts and payment. Gold was generally hammered into shape from sheets, as shown by this jar lid. The decoration was then punched into the soft metal. Once plentiful in the royal tombs, little gold survived the plundering. The small rounded knob of thin gold may have been used to decorate clothing or a shroud.

EA35553: A small rounded knob of thin gold, with a tubular stem of the same material projecting 2 mm from the back. This stem is pierced on each side to allow for attachment. Length 9 mm, diameter 12 mm.

EA32152b: Gold lid, diameter 45 mm. This lid of sheet gold, decorated with punch marks, was acquired with the limestone vessel below. However it is not known whether the lid and vase originally belonged together, especially as the lid is a poor fit.


Catalog: Gold button, Abydos, Tomb of Den, First Dynasty, EA35553
Gold lid, First - Second Dynasty, EA32152b
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9328jarswithgoldsm
First - Second Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 670 BC

Stone Jars decorated with gold

Gold was applied to the rims and handles to heighten the beauty of stone vessels from Predynastic times into the Second Dynasty. Such jars were probably common in the royal tombs. The handles of the squat jars shown here have sheets of gold with cut out designs. Gilded copper wire, in the handle of one vase, was used to hang or carry it.


EA32152a: Barrel-shaped vase of grey and white striped limestone, with a flat base and two small tubular handles. The angular rim has been plated with gold, one strip of the metal being folded over the lip and another wrapped around the neck. A lid of sheet gold, decorated with punch marks, shown above, was acquired with the vessel, but it is not known whether the lid and vase originally belonged together, especially as the lid is a poor fit.

Height 103 mm, diameter 59 mm (max), diameter 45 mm (max, lid), diameter 38 mm (rim), diameter 30 mm (base).

Catalog: First Dynasty (?), EA32152a


porphyrygoldhandledpotsm Spheroidal vase of black and white andesite porphyry, with a rounded base and two tubular handles. The rim is thin, flat-topped and sharp on the outer edge. Both handles are covered with rectangular plates of thin gold, cut out into an openwork cross. The interior is well-hollowed.

Height 59 mm, diameter 60 mm (rim), diameter 86 mm (max).

Catalog: First - Second Dynasty, EA56843

Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




EA64653: Spheroidal vase of variegated limestone, with pink, white and black veining. The rim is flat-topped with a sharp outer edge and the interior is fairly well hollowed. On the shoulder of the vase are two tubular handles, both covered by rectangular gold plates with an openwork cross cut in the middle. The handles still contain loops of copper wire, covered with gold foil. The base was drilled right through for ease of hollowing, and would have been plugged by a separate piece of stone, now missing.

Height 45 mm, diameter 63 mm (max), diameter 46 mm (rim), diameter 26 mm (base)

The gold detail, and the colour and size of the vessel, suggest that it may well be identical with the vase described in the 'Macgregor Sale Catalogue' (1922), 145, no. 1094, second example. If this identification is correct then the provenance of the vase is known to be Abydos.

Condition good (lacks half of one suspension loop)

Catalog: Abydos, First - Second Dynasty, EA64653


EA20270: I can find no description of this online. It is barrel shaped, a smaller but similar version of EA32152a, and has gold sheet on its rim and two small tubular handles. It is well proportioned, and appears to be in veined red limestone.


Catalog: Possibly Abydos, Late Predynastic - First Dynasty, EA20270, EA32152a
Possibly Abydos, First - Second Dynasty, EA56843, EA64653
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9325malachitejar
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Malachite jar with gold handles

This jar was precious not only because of the gold on its handles, but also because of the material it is made of: malachite. Only one other example is known. It came from the tomb of Djer, making it likely that this example also comes from a royal tomb.

Vase of green malachite with a rounded, lenticular body and two small handles, both pierced vertically and covered with a rectangular plate of gold. The narrow mouth is surrounded by a rounded rim. The interior is moderately well hollowed. Rim chipped in places.

Height 56 mm, width 50 mm, thickness 36 mm, diameter 28 mm (rim)

Catalog: Probably Abydos, First Dynasty, EA36356
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9326sphericalpot
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Amazonite jar

Deep green ammonite was one of the ancient Egyptians' six most precious stones, on a par with turquoise and lapis lazuli. Enhancing its value, this jar originally had a gilded rim. The roughened area on the neck shows where a gold covering was once present.

Vase of green feldspar with a rounded, flattened body and a narrow neck. The rim was originally covered with gold, a band of unpolished stone shows the original position of the metal. Interior only partially hollowed, showing clear drill-marks.

Height 73 mm, width 70 mm, diameter 32 mm (rim)

Catalog: Abydos, Early First Dynasty, EA4711
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9327smallbasaltjarsm
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Miniature basalt jar

An unpolished area just below the rim of this jar shows where gold leaf was once applied. Originally, gold also adorned the handles and was fastened to them with fine wire laced through small holes. Such a tiny jar may have had a ritual function or held valuable oil.

( The roughness was only partly because it was going to be covered by gold, would not therefore be seen, and a little time was saved by not polishing it. A more important reason was that the roughness allowed the resin or glue used under the gold sheet to have good adhesion to the article - Don )

Miniature basalt vase with a small flat base and rounded rim, with wavy ledge-handles on sides, each pierced vertically by two holes. The area just below the rim exhibits a band of unpolished stone where a strip of gold-plating has been removed.

Height 56 mm, width 33 mm, depth 29 mm.

Catalog: Abydos, Royal Tomb (?), Early First Dynasty, EA36336
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9329flintknife
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Flint knife

As chief priest to all of the gods, in theory the king prepared their daily offerings. Animal sacrifices were traditionally made with flint knives. The quality of the workmanship here shows the importance of this object to its royal owner.


( note that the British Museum Catalog is not nearly so sanguine about the quality of the knife as the card on the display was - Don )

Complete bifacial knife of brown flint, roughly flaked but not finally sharpened. The blade has a convex cutting edge and a slightly concave back, and is equipped with the usual style of hook-shaped handle. Very thick and clumsy compared with the best First Dynasty work.

Width 52 mm, length 164 mm, thickness 14 mm.

Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Semerkhet, First Dynasty, EA68718
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9331arrowheads
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Arrowheads of flint and rock crystal

Finely crafted stone arrowheads were mass produced in the First Dynasty royal workshops. Some were made from special stones like rock crystal. After more than 3 000 years of use, the skill needed to make these carefully flaked stone arrowheads was beginning to die out.

Kings showed respect for the ancestors by preserving this ancient tradition.

Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Narmer, First Dynasty, EA68750, EA68751, EA68752.
Abydos, Tomb of Djer, First Dynasty, EA68755, EA68757, EA68758.
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9332scrapers
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Double ended scrapers

It is unlikely that the king did menial tasks using flint tools in real life, but all eventualities were covered for the afterlife. These broad rectangular blades were once called razors, due to their similarity to later metal tools. Now they are considered to be all-purpose implements for slicing and scraping, and have been described as the 'Swiss Army knives' of their time.

Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Djer, First Dynasty, EA68760
Abydos, Tomb of Den, First Dynasty, EA68703
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Sed festival: ruling forever

First - Second Dynasty

3 100 - 2 670 BC


During the First Dynasty, the ideology and duties of kingship were gradually defined in royal titles, regalia and rituals. These established the way kings presented themselves for the next 3000 years. After the coronation, the most important ceremony was the Sed festival, when the king renewed his relationship with the gods. He did this by proving his physical and spiritual ability to rule. Initially a Sed festival was held when rejuvenation was needed, even in the afterlife. Later it was celebrated 30 years into the reign, like a modern jubilee.

ivory box ivory box
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Statuette of a king and a label of Den

This ivory statuette shows a king in a short, patterned robe, the special garment worn during the Sed festival. At the top of the ebony label, King Den wears this same robe, as he undertakes one of the festival's most important activities: demonstrating his vitality by running around markers representing Egypt's borders. He was then re-crowned in a special pavilion, his rule and claim to the land reaffirmed.

On the upper middle left we can see the outline of a flying bee at an angle, which signifies the King of the North of Egypt, a symbol first used in this context by Den. Later versions of the bee symbol were more detailed, and horizontally oriented.

Abydos, Osiris Temple, Late Predynastic (Naqada III - First Dynasty, EA37996
Abydos, Tomb of Den, First Dynasty, EA32650


Catalog: Umm el-Qaab (Abydos), Tomb of Djer, tomb O. 2 or O .3 subsidiary burial, EA35512
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9312densm
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Label of Den

One of the king's principal duties was to defend and expand the borders of Egypt.

This ivory label, once tied to a pair of sandals, depicts King Den smiting a foreigner from the east. Rock carvings of Den near the turquoise mines in Sinai show the same scene, proving this label celebrates an actual military and mining expedition.

Demonstrations of strength were required before a Sed festival.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9317tombofden
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Tomb of King Den

Courtesy of the German Archaeological Institute, Cairo.

Photo: Poster at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




dentombplansm
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Floor plan of the tomb of King Den at Abydos.

Photo and text: http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/dentomb.htm




top of jar top of jar
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Signs on Jar

Older ways of communicating continued to be used even after the invention of the hieroglyphic script since few people could read it.

The marks on the left side of this fragment of a First Dynasty jar are part of a separate system that involved about 100 basic signs written in specific combinations. Archaeologists are still trying to decipher their exact meaning.


top of jar
Part of the shoulder and rim of a tall jar of light brown pottery, with a red slip on the exterior and black in the centre of the section. The outer surface bears an incised inscription of two signs.

( note that there is a very similar sign on the large intact wine jar with mud stopper in the image below - Don )

Length: 145 mm, width 200 mm

Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Den, First Dynasty, EA32687
Photo (top left and right): © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Photo (bottom left): Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9334winejarssm
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Wine jars of Den

Wine from the royal vineyards was bottled for distribution and storage in large tapered pottery vessels. Like modern wine labels, the conical mud stoppers used to close them were covered with the impressions from cylinder seals, naming the place of manufacture and the person responsible.

The fragment above the large wine jars names King Semerkhet's vineyard, written as a sloping trellis with wine jars below. Thousands of such jars were found in the royal tombs at Abydos. In Den's tomb alone there were more than 1 000 examples, containing nearly 250 000 litres of wine.

( note that the two jars on the right of this image are late predynastic, from the Tomb U-j at Abydos, the tomb of Scorpion I, the first of two rulers of Upper Egypt during the Naqada III period.  - Don )


EA27737: Tall jar of dull red pottery from the Tomb of Den with traces of a pale brown wash. The sides expand from the mouth to the shoulder, then converge to a narrow rounded base. Below the rim there is a raised ridge, close to which there are two incised marks.

The jar is sealed with a conical clay stopper, which bears the remains of four impressed inscriptions. Only one impression is now reasonably clear, the other three having disappeared except for slight traces.

Height 1000 mm, diameter 254 mm (max), height 310 mm (seal alone) diameter 240 mm (base of seal)

Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Semerkhet, First Dynasty, EA32670
Abydos, Tomb of Den, First Dynasty EA27736, EA27737, EA27741
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Tomb of King Den

Jars with distinctive red painted decoration were imported from the northern Levant and may have been made specifically for export to Egypt. They probably contained oils that were coveted by the Egyptian elite.

Such pottery is often called Abydos ware because it was found in the First Dynasty royal tombs before its original source was determined.

img_9336topsm
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Zigzag pattern fragment.


Fragment of a vase of pale brown pottery with decoration on the exterior in red paint, partly faded to orange. The paint has been applied over a smooth brown slip. Good condition.

Length 74 mm, width 41 mm.


Although registered as coming from the tomb of Semerkhet, this sherd bears the excavation mark T, probably indicating their true provenance as the tomb of Den.

Catalog: First Dynasty, Tomb of Den, EA68686
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


img_9336middlesm
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Bands and dots pattern fragment.


Fragment of a vase of lightly-baked clay: the section is mostly black in colour. The exterior surface is decorated with purple and red painted designs over a pale grey slip. Slightly cracked.

Length 54 mm, width 50 mm.


Although registered as coming from the tomb of Semerkhet, this sherd bears the excavation mark T, probably indicating its true provenance as the tomb of Den.

Catalog: First Dynasty, Tomb of Den, EA68683
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


img_9336lowersm
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Triangles, lines and points pattern fragment.


Fragment of a vase of pink pottery with painted decoration on the exterior in red. The designs include triangles, lines and points. There is a mark on the surface where a handle has been broken away. Good condition, decoration faded in places.

Length 87 mm, width 73 mm.

Although registered as coming from the tomb of Semerkhet, this sherd bears the excavation mark T, probably indicating their true provenance as the tomb of Den.


Catalog: First Dynasty, Tomb of Den, EA68684
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9333sealsm
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Wine jar seal

By Predynastic times the elite had already developed a taste for wine. As grapes were not native to Egypt, wine had to be imported from the Levant, making it rare and costly. To secure a supply, kings of the First Dynasty introduced the vines, and made their own wine on royal estates. Wine drinking soon spread, and by the end of the Old Kingdom the ideal funerary offerings included five different types.

Part of a jar-seal, of pale brown clay, with an impressed inscription giving the name of Semerkhet and the name of a building, possibly a wine-cellar. Good condition.

Length 110 mm, width 110 mm.


Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Semerkhet, First Dynasty, EA32670
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




ritual knife ritual knife



First Dynasty, 3 100 BC - 2 890 BC

Ritual knife

It became traditional to use flint knives to sacrifice animals, even after copper became widely available. Functional knives with built-in handles were part of temple equipment. Other blades too large or delicate ever to have been used were dedicated probably by elite patrons.

(left, EA74721) Bifacial knife of brown flint, with a short, integral handle. The broad blade is curved, with a convex cutting edge and concave back, and a pointed tip. The back of the handle ends in a sharp point.

Length 245 mm, width 56 mm.

Height 45 mm, length 76 mm, width 22 mm.

EA30752, right, is not listed in the catalog of the British Museum.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Catalog: EA74721, EA30752
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




palette
First Dynasty, 3 100 BC - 2 890 BC

Greywacke cosmetic palette

While rulers and kings donated large decorated palettes to the temples, smaller ones were rare, since they fell out of private use during the First Dynasty.

Typically rectangular in shape at this time, carved decorations at the corners were unusual. This palette might have been a treasured possession when offered, or even an heirloom.


Rectangular mudstone ( ? ) palette with projections at the corners, broken away in two instances. The sides are slightly convex and they are bordered by two parallel incised lines on the upper surface.

Length 128 mm, width 90 mm.

Incised border lines are common on palettes at the very end of the Predynastic period. Compare W. M. F. Petrie, 'Tarkhan I and Memphis V' (London, 1913), pl.XXIX; W. M. F. Petrie, 'Tarkhan' II (London, 1914), pl.XXIV.

( note that this palette is reminiscent in shape and decoration of an object made of wood or other organic material, but copied here in stone - Don )

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Catalog: Abydos, Osiris Temple, First Dynasty EA37273
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




venus in lead venus in lead
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Lead figurine of a woman

Lead was a rare material, and this figurine was probably dedicated at a temple by an elite woman. It portrays a woman in the pose of supplication wearing the long skirt typical in the Early Dynastic period. Details of a fringed apron and zigzags accentuating her long wavy hair have been etched into the soft lead. Lead female figure, left arm across breast, right arm lost. Reportedly from Abydos, First Dynasty, EA 32138

Height 59 mm, width 24 mm, thickness 15 mm, weight 75 grams.

Catalog: Abydos, First Dynasty, EA 32138
Photo (left): Don Hitchcock 2015
Photo (right): © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




hes jar
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Hes jar

Jars of this shape were used for pouring libations in purification rites, essential before approaching the gods' shrines.

The upper body was blackened in conscious imitation of pottery styles popular hundreds of years earlier. This showed respect for tradition and reverence of the ancestors.

Called hes by the ancient Egyptians, the jar's image also stood for the word 'honour' or 'praise' in the hieroglyphic script.

Tall pear-shaped red burnished necked vase with black top, flat base, and turned rim (chipped), exterior surface worn, slightly warped.

Height 359 mm, width 126 mm.

Catalog: Abydos, Osiris Temple, Chamber M69, First Dynasty, EA38065
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




faience models faience models faience models


First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Faience models

Models of the actual pottery used during rituals were probably donated when a temple was founded or refurbished.

They include model hes jars, which copy the blackened top of the original, and conical jar stands used to hold pots and trays during the daily feeding of the gods. Others depict sealed jars filled with provisions or objects in ritual use, like the model with two jars joined at the mouth.

Catalog: Abydos, Osiris Temple, Chamber M69, First Dynasty, EA38013 - EA38017
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




label label
Naqada III - Early First Dynasty: 3 200 - 2 890 BC

Labels with numeral and place name

Attached to commodities deposited in the kings tombs, these tiny ivory labels indicate quantity or place of origin. The spiral is the hieroglyph for the numeral 100, and may denote the length of a bolt of cloth. The falcon atop a rectangle refers to the place of manufacture or the institution providing the item. These labels may come from Abydos Tomb U-j, where identical labels were found.


label
EA35516: A small square label of pale ivory: pierced in one corner for attachment to some object. One side bears an incised spiral, the hieroglyph for the numeral 100, referring to the quantity of some item of burial equipment. Such labels are known to have been used to refer to quantities of oil or the number of beads on a necklace. Height 17 mm, width 17 mm

EA35517: A small ivory label with a hole in the top left-hand corner for attachment. The front surface bears an incised inscription. Good condition, repaired from two fragments. 1st Dynasty, Abydos, cemetery B. Length: 15 mm, width 13 mm. Incised. Consists of a figure of a bird above the hieroglyph for a canal.

Catalog: Naqada III - early First Dynasty, Abydos, B Cemetery, EA35516, EA35517
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




label label
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Labels of Queen Neith-hotep

These labels were attached to jewellery belonging to Neith-hotep, King Narmer's queen. The label on the left bears her name on one side and the numeral '135' on the other. This probably records the number of beads in a necklace. The label to the right includes a depiction of the beaded apron to which it was originally attached. According to the inscription, 1400 beads were used to make it.


label
Drawing of the symbols on the tags, including the reverse of the first tag with the queen's name on it.



Catalog: Naqada, Tomb of Neath-hotep. First Dynasty, EA55588, EA55589
Photo (upper left and right): Don Hitchcock 2015
Photo (lower left): From the card at the museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




label label
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Ebony label of King Aha

Gradually more information was placed on labels. This one was attached to a shipment of high quality oil, and records the year in the king's reign that it was received. The year was identified by major events: in this instance, the founding of a temple for Neith by King Aha, the Anis bull festival and a boat journey. Duplicate labels allow us to restore the missing pieces.


Four fragments of an ebony label joining to form two larger pieces. One side of the label is inscribed, and there was a perforation at the top right-hand corner for attachment. The upper part bears the remains of the incised serekh of Aḥa, opposite a scene showing boats and a religious sanctuary, perhaps the Temple of Neith at Sais. On the lower fragments are traces of another religious building, a row of boats and place names and the name of the type of oil to which the label referred, together with its quantity.

Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Aha, First Dynasty, EA35518
Photo (left): From the card at the museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Photo (right): Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




label label
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Label of King Semerkhet

By the middle of the First Dynasty labels were standardised, maximising the information they contained. Along the right side is an arching palm stick, the hieroglyph for 'year'. The palm frames the year's main events: a boat trip to collect taxes and the festival of a baboon god.

The central column contains the king's names, and to the left are the name and titles of the high official responsible for the oil that the label accompanied.


Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Sametkhet, First Dynasty, EA32668
Photo (left): From the card at the museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Photo (right): Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9294tombphotosm
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Tomb of King Qa'a

View of the tomb of King Qa'a at Abydos.

Courtesy of the German Archaeological Institute, Cairo.

Photo: Poster, British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9294tombplansm
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Tomb of King Qa'a

Plan of the tomb of King Qa'a and the graves of his 23 retainers at Abydos.

Areas indicated include the main burial chamber, the area where model vessels were placed, and the area which held stone vessels.

Photo: Poster, British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Text: Poster at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




jar sealing
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Jar sealing of King Qa'a

Large jars were secured with clay stoppers often impressed with cylinder seals. This prevented theft or tampering since the marked clay would be broken if the jars were opened. This stopper bears two seal impressions. One shows that the jar came from an agricultural estate established to fund the king's funerary cult. The other seal records the high official responsible for the quality and security of the jar's contents.

Height 163 mm, diameter at base 265 mm.


jar sealing

Reconstruction of the seal of King Qa'a on the top register, reconstruction of the seal of the high official responsible for the quality and security of the jar's contents on the lower register.

Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Qa'a, First Dynasty, EA32671
Photo (upper): Don Hitchcock 2015
Photo (lower): card, British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9342modelssm


img_9343modelssm
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Model vessels with retainer of Qa'a.


Qa'a was the last king to have retainers buried around him. One was interred with a wooden box containing these seven model vessels. All are solid, and the soft limestone has been painted to imitate harder stone. Reflecting the various types of vessels in use at the time, these small substitutes were believed to become full sized and useful in the afterlife.

Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Qa'a, retainer burial Q20, First Dynasty, EA32677 - EA32683
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9344basaltbowlandjarssm
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Stone vessels with retainer of Qa'a

The stone vessels below were found with a retainer buried around the tomb of Qa'a. the last king of the First Dynasty. Probably produced in the royal workshops, the vessels have an outward appearance of high quality. However, the hole in the base of the travertine bowl is a manufacturing fault caused by over-drilling. Originally, this was probably patched with plaster.

EA32674: Cylinder jar of calcite with concave sides and a rounded rim, below which there is a band of cord decoration. Interior completely hollowed.

Height 329 mm, diameter 147 mm (rim)

Catalog: First Dynasty, Abydos, Tomb of Qa'a, tomb Q.21 subsidiary burial, EA32674


EA32675: Veined calcite bowl with convex sides rising vertically to a plain rim. The base, although rather flattened, is still convex with ill-defined edges, and it is pierced by a hole caused by excessive hollowing in manufacture.

Height 74 mm, diameter 176 mm (rim)

Catalog: First Dynasty, Abydos, Tomb of Qa'a, tomb Q.21 subsidiary burial, EA32675


EA32676: Grey schist shallow bowl with flat base and incurving rim. The interior of the base is slightly countersunk. Height 51 mm, diameter 258 mm (rim), 76 mm (base).

Catalog: First Dynasty, Abydos, Tomb of Qa'a, tomb Q.21 subsidiary burial, EA32676

Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Qa'a, retainer burial Q 21, First Dynasty, EA32674, EA32675, EA32676.
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


basaltplatebsm

First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Grey schist shallow bowl with flat base and incurving rim.

( note the markings on the bowl at the left of this image. Albeit accidental, and part of the original stone, it changes an object which is rather ordinary, though well made, into a work of art - Don )

Catalog: First Dynasty, Abydos, Tomb of Qa'a, tomb Q.21 subsidiary burial, EA32676
Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9322porphyryjar
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Stone jar

Enormous varieties of stone vessels filled the tombs of the First Dynasty kings, carved from the greatest variety of stone types ever used in Egypt. In the royal workshop, an army of skilled workers must have laboured for thousands of hours to create them. This andesite porphyry jar is lightly incised with the name of King Qa'a.

Spheroidal vase of porphyritic diorite with a flat base and two tubular handles. The vase has a high shoulder and a broad flat-topped rim, the latter being chipped around the outer edge. The upper surface of the rim slopes slightly towards the mouth. Interior completely hollowed. On the polished exterior of the vessel is the very lightly incised serekh of Qa'a, only visible under close examination.


Height 184 mm, diameter 310 mm.

Catalog: Possibly Abydos, First Dynasty, EA22556
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




cylinder seal
Naqada III - First Dynasty: 3 200 - 2 890 BC

Cylinder seal with animals

Invented in Mesopotamia, cylinder seals were quickly adopted by the Egyptians. Rolled over lumps of clay stuck to doors or containers, they marked ownership or responsibility, and prevented theft. Early cylinder seals were carved with symbols or animals, with meanings that are now difficult to understand. The ostriches and antelopes here might refer to a person or place.


Cylinder seal of black steatite. Perforated through the centre, bearing an incised design in two registers. The upper register contains six figures of birds and the lower register four figures of animals. The exact identity of the types of birds and animals represented is uncertain. Good condition.

Length 21 mm, diameter 10 mm.

Catalog: Naqada III - First Dynasty, EA65891
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


cylinder seal
First Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 890 BC

Cylinder seal with shrine

The image of the wooden shrine guarded by a lion represents a temple, and this seal marked temple property. Hieroglyphs might spell the name of the person responsible for sealing the goods and protecting and accounting for them. He was called Nehty.

Wooden cylinder seal. Perforated through the centre, bearing an incised inscription which shows a figure of a lion and a primitive shrine. The wood has slightly split and a small piece has broken from the inscribed surface.


Length 21 mm, diameter 13 mm.

Catalog: Possibly from Abydos. First Dynasty, EA49018
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


cylinder seal
First - Second Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 670 BC

Cylinder seals with personal names

Seals with the names of individuals labelled personal property in life, but after death they were used as protective amulets. Writing the name was believed to keep the identity of the person alive The top seal of black steatite spells out the name Meri-ka, meaning 'The beloved of my spirit', while the lower seal of green feldspar belonged to Senet-Neith, meaning 'Neith is my sister'.

EA58436: A small cylinder seal of black steatite: perforated through the centre and bearing an incised inscription. Good condition. Height 11 mm, diameter 9 mm

EA65880: A perforated cylinder seal of green feldspar bearing an incised inscription. Good condition. Height 19 mm, diameter 14 mm


Catalog: First - Second Dynasty, EA58436, EA65880
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


cylinder seal
First - Second Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 670 BC

Cylinder seal of person before a table

This seal shows a person wearing a heavy wig sitting in front of a table laden with food offerings. Hieroglyphs spell out the name Itet-Neith, meaning 'Neith is my ruler'. Such seals were buried with the deceased, magically renewing the offerings made in their name.

Cylinder seal of black steatite: perforated through the centre, bearing an incised inscription containing a personal name. Good condition. Length 15 mm, diameter 13 mm.


Catalog: First - Second Dynasty, EA65872
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


img_9319_ea29433sm
First - Second Dynasty, 3 100 BC - 2 670 BC

Leg for a stool in hippopotamus ivory.

Stools were the most common pieces of furniture used in ancient Egypt. This ivory leg was probably attached to a frame by means of a leather thong lashed through the holes.

From its slender shape, it was likely to have been the front leg of a low stool.

From the BM website: An ivory leg from a bed or chair carved in the form of a bull's foot. The top is marked with scratches where the ivory has been sawn and there is a hole in the middle of the top surface for attachment. Two more holes, each 7 mm in diameter, are pierced horizontally through the upper part of the leg, from one side to the other.

The surface of the piece has been carved with care, details of the veins being shown on one side, and it has been polished. At the base, the hoof rests on a low pedestal with decoration in the form of narrow horizontal grooves. There is a shallow depression cut into the underside of this pedestal.


Height 115 mm, width 50 mm (top), depth 27 mm, weight 125 g.

Catalog: First-Second Dynasty, EA29433
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


( note that the curious grooves in the feet of the legs above and below may have served as 'roughening' for good adhesion when the leg was glued into a wooden circular block of wood, possibly carved to look like a hoof, which would have protected the precious ivory from damage and wear when the object was moved across the floor - Don )

img_9319__ea30465__ea30466sm
First - Second Dynasty, 3 100 BC - 2 670 BC

Set of hippopotamus ivory furniture legs.

These small legs carved with bull's feet are a matched set. One dowel for affixing a cross bar between them is still preserved.

Probably fitted to a gaming table, the legs raised it to a comfortable height for players seated on the ground.

(left, EA30466) An ivory leg in the form of a bull's leg, possibly from a game-board, with a tenon projecting 14 mm from the top. This tenon is in the front left-hand corner of the upper surface, and is pierced by a single hole for fixing. In the left side of the leg is a small hole for a dowel. This leg belonged to the same object as 1899,0314.17, but was intended to be fixed on the opposite side, so that the positions of the tenon and dowel are reversed.

Height: 65 mm, width 29 mm, depth 14 mm, weight 18 g.


(right, EA30465) A small ivory leg in the form of a bull's foot, possibly from a game-board. At the top of the leg is a tenon, 13 mm high, pierced horizontally by two small holes for fixing. This tenon is situated in the front right-hand corner of the upper surface, and is marked with saw cuts at its base. Small traces of wood adhere to the tenon. The leg is well carved but not completely polished, and the marks made by the tools are still evident. In the right side there is a small wooden dowel, projecting from a hole in the ivory. Good condition.

Height: 64 mm, width 27 mm, depth 16 mm, weight 19 g.

Catalog: First-Second Dynasty, EA30465, EA30466
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




 Stone jars
First - Second Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 670 BC

Stone jars of limestone breccia and andesite porphyry

Producing stone vessels was a huge investment in manpower and resources. The tools and skills needed to produce them were perfected in the Late Predynastic period, and contributed to the growth of other technologies. From extraction and transport to carving the logistics of their production influenced Egyptian art and architecture. Large stone jars, like the examples shown here, are some of the most impressive creations of Early Egypt. Such jars were restricted to temples and royalty.


(left) EA35699: Red breccia spheroidal jar, high in form with a rounded base and two tubular handles. The handles are concave on their outer surfaces. The raised rim has a flat top and a sharp edge, slightly chipped in parts. Interior fairly well hollowed.

Height 332 mm, diameter 267 mm (rim)

(right) EA35698: Very large spheroidal vase of porphyritic diorite: with a rounded base and two tubular handles. The vessel has a distinct shoulder, on which the handles are set, and a broad rim around the contracted mouth. The outer edge of the rim is rounded, although partly broken, and the flat top slopes towards the mouth. Only a narrow groove separates the rim from the shoulder of the vessel. The outer surfaces are extremely well finished and the interior has been fairly completely hollowed.

Height 299 mm, diameter 466 mm (rim)

Catalog: First - Second Dynasty, EA35698, EA35699
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




baboon
First - Second Dynasty, 3 100 BC - 2 670 BC

Baboon figurine

Small figurines made of Egyptian faience (a blue- green glass paste) are common at all early temple sites. Baboons appear most frequently, especially at Abydos, where more than a hundred were found. They are believed to represent deceased ancestors who could intercede with the gods on behalf of their relatives. Quality and details vary: one holds a jar on his knees as if making an offering himself.

A figure of a squatting baboon cut out of a thin sheet of glazed composition. The legs and neck are indicated by incised lines and the snout has been rounded at the top. The green glaze has partly decayed to brown, and has been chipped at the feet.

Length 46 mm.


Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Catalog: Temple of Osiris, Abydos, EA38023
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




baboon baboon baboon


First - Second Dynasty, 3 100 BC - 2 670 BC

Baboon figurine

(left) A glazed composition figure of a squatting baboon, with the details of the eyes, brows and nostrils indicated in the face. The legs are delineated, the hind legs being drawn up with the forepaws resting on the knees. The glaze has decayed to white with brown patches.

Height 70 mm.

Catalog: Temple of Osiris Abydos, Chamber M69 Subsidiary Chamber Deposit, EA38021


(centre) A glazed composition figure of a squatting baboon with a fairly large well-formed face, including details of the eyes and brow-ridges. The mouth is indicated by an incised line. All the legs are delineated, the forepaws resting on the lower part of the bent hind legs. The figure is covered with a pale green glaze, some areas of which have turned white.

Height 86 mm.

Catalog: Temple of Osiris Abydos, EA37280

(right) A squatting figure of a baboon, not very well made. The facial detail is not clear and the mouth is not indicated. The hind legs are visible, but of the forelegs only that on the left of the figure is clearly shown. Good condition, with well-preserved pale green glaze.

Height 77 mm.

Catalog: Temple of Osiris Abydos, EA37281
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




baboon baboon baboon


First - Second Dynasty, 3 100 BC - 2 670 BC

Baboon figurine

(left) A green glazed composition figure of a squatting baboon, crudely made. The front of the body and top of the head are flat with almost angular edges, and the details of the face are summarily depicted by impressed points and incised lines. There has been little attempt to produce a lifelike form and only the hind legs are shown. Well-preserved pale green glaze.

Height 95 mm.

Catalog: Temple of Osiris Abydos, EA38019


(centre) A green glazed composition figure of a squatting baboon, from side on. The head is quite well done, but the rest of the figure is barely sketched in. The glaze has flaked off in parts. A small glazed composition figure of a squatting baboon without detailed modelling. The legs are not clearly shown, nor are the eyes, but the mouth and brows are indicated. Some of the pale green glaze has flaked off at the back of the figure.

Catalog: Temple of Osiris Abydos, EA38022

(right) A composition figure of a squatting baboon. It was originally glazed green, although this glaze has now decayed to white or brown. The figure is well modelled with the details of the legs and face clearly shown. The forelegs are extended to hold an object of uncertain nature on the knees, the top of the object reaching up to join the chin. Its conical shape suggests that it may represent a pot closed with a mud seal. Good condition, glaze slightly flaked in parts.

Height 102 mm.

Catalog: Temple of Osiris Abydos, EA38020
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




frog
First - Second Dynasty, 3 100 BC - 2 670 BC

Frog figurine

Objects donated at temples often expressed concerns over fertility and health. The frog was the symbol of the goddess Heket, who looked after women during childbirth. Made of red polished clay, this is an unusual frog figurine, as most were made of green faience simulating the colour of the animal.

A figure of a squatting frog in pale red-brown pottery, with remains of a polished red slip. All four feet have been broken, revealing that the pottery is black in the core owing to incomplete firing. The mouth and eyes are the only details shown.


Height 58 mm, length 105 mm, width 63 mm.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Catalog: Temple of Osiris, Abydos, EA38044
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




hippo hippo


hippo pig



First - Second Dynasty, 3 100 BC - 2 670 BC

Hippo and pig figurines

The pig and the hippopotamus were considered embodiments of evil. Such figurines might have accompanied requests to the gods for protection.

They could also be models of sacrificial animals. Bones from temple sites show that pigs and hippos were among the animals sacrificed in rites to maintain cosmic order.


EA38045: A dull brown pottery figure of a hippopotamus, repaired from two pieces with a large part of one side missing. The figure is crudely modelled with little detail, the eyes being shown by incised lines and the position of the ears being marked by two holes. Most of the mouth has been lost by the breaking away of the front of the face. The surviving parts of the figure are in good condition, and the missing portions have been restored in plaster.

Height 127 mm, length 245 mm, width 106 mm.

EA38018: A glazed composition figure of a pig, originally green, but now dull brown in colour because of the decay of the glaze. The modelling of the body and legs is rather summary, but a fair amount of detail is shown in the head, including the eyes, ears, mouth and nostrils.

Height 45 mm, length 76 mm, width 22 mm.

Photo (top left and right): Don Hitchcock 2015
Photo (bottom left) © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Photo (bottom right): Don Hitchcock 2015
Catalog: Early Dynastic, Temple of Osiris, Abydos, ?M64/M65/M69/M89?, EA38045
Catalog: Early Dynastic, Temple of Osiris, Abydos, Chamber M69, EA38018
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




 faience tiles
First - Second Dynasty, 3 100 BC - 2 670 BC

Faience Tiles

Blue-green glazed tiles may have decorated the temple's inner sanctum, where the god's statue resided. Piercings on the back allowed them to be wired together, imitating the reeds and matting used to build temples in the earlier, Predynastic, age. The palm-tree tile might have been a furniture inlay.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Catalog: Abydos, Osiris Temple, Early Dynastic. EA38025, EA37282, EA38011, EA38024
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




model boat
First - Second Dynasty: 3 100 - 2 670 BC

Model of a boat

Painted terracotta model boat.

This is a very rare example of a model boat from the time of the first Pharaohs.

Catalog: E 27136
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée du Louvre
Text: © Musée du Louvre




Twists of burnt clay
First - Second Dynasty, 3 100 BC - 2 670 BC

Twists of burnt clay

Hundreds of twisted strips of clay were recovered from a fire pit at the Abydos temple. They might be substitute food offerings thrown into the fire for cooking, or representations of enemies to be destroyed by burning. They are simple objects, but give insight into the types of rituals undertaken in early temples.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Catalog: Abydos, Osiris Temple, Early Dynastic. EA38055, EA38058, EA38059, EA38060, EA38063
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0






bracelets
First - Second Dynasty, 3 100 BC - 2 700 BC

Bracelets

13 to 17: Bracelets in shell.

18, 19: Bracelets in schist.


Catalog: Excavations at Maadi, E 13923 - E 13927, E 13921, E 13922
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée du Louvre




The Second Dynasty

2 890 BC - 2 670 BC

The seat of government was centred at Thinis.


Name Dates (very approximate)
Hotepsekhmwy 2 890 BC - 2 852 BC
Raneb/Nebra 2 852 BC - 2 840 BC
Nynetjer 2 840 BC - 2 800 BC
Senedj 2 800 BC - 2 730 BC
Peribsen/Seth-Peribsen 2 730 BC - 2 700 BC
Khasekhemwy 2 700 BC - 2 670 BC


Table of Second Dynasty Rulers, adapted from various sources.


Timeline

Timeline or chronology for various funerary practices

Rephotography: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Poster, British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0



img_9345bowlfragment1 img_9349bowlfragmenthetepsekhemwy
Second Dynasty: 2 890 BC - 2 670 BC

Bowl fragment of Hetepsekhemwy

A small piece of the rim of a dolomite bowl, with an incised serekh on the exterior surface. Good condition.

Hetepsekhemwy was the first king of the Second Dynasty. He was buried at Saqqara, near the capital Memphis, in a huge tomb imitating a royal palace.

Sprawling tunnels and chambers were cut out of the limestone. One room even resembles a latrine. The tomb was found practically empty, so little more is known about this king.


( the fact that the fragment with the serekh of Hetepsekhemwy was found at the Tomb of Khasekhemwy is evidence that stone vessels were valuable, and were reused by later kings - Don )

Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Khasekhemwy, second dynasty, EA35559
Photo (left): © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Photo (right): Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9345fragment2sm iimg_9349number2locustsm
Second Dynasty: 2 890 BC - 2 670 BC

Bowl fragment naming Raneb and Ninetjer

Stone vessels were precious and often reused by later kings, shown by the two royal names incised on this fragment of a greywacke bowl. Raneb was the second king of the Second Dynasty. He was followed by Ninetjer. Both were buried at Saqqara. During the reign of Ninetjer Egypt became divided, with different kings ruling in the north and south.

( note the hieroglyph of a bee, which was used for both 'honey' and 'king of lower Egypt'. Beside it is a sedge symbol, which was the hieroglyph used for 'king of upper Egypt' - Don )


Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Peribsen, Second Dynasty, EA35556
Photo (left): © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Photo (right): Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




 seal
Second Dynasty: 2 890 BC - 2 670 BC

Sealing of two scribes

The hieroglyphic sign for 'scribe' depicts the equipment used for writing: a rectangular inkwell, a bag of pigments for making the ink and a cylindrical case for holding reed pens. Two scribes, Depeh and Herty-ha-f, are named on the original seal, which was repeatedly rolled over the clay. Impressions on the back show it was affixed to twine, which may have tied shut a box, a pot lid, or a document roll.

A seal of black clay from the cord binding of some object, with the seal-impression of two scribes. Good condition. Length 45 mm, width 33 mm, thickness 17 mm.


 seal
Catalog: Second Dynasty, EA63815
Photo (top): Don Hitchcock 2015
Photo (bottom): Card at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




jarsealingsethsm img_9349jarsealsm



Second Dynasty: 2 890 BC - 2 670 BC

Jar sealing of Peribsen

After the country split, Peribsen ruled Upper Egypt, in the south. To stress his claim, he took as his divine patron Seth, the local god of Nubt, or 'Gold Town' (modern day Naqada). Represented by a mythological dog-like creature, Seth appears at the top of Peribsen's serekh, or name box.

On this seal, the standing figure of the god Ash, the protector of royal estates, is also depicted with the Seth animal's head.

Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Peribsen, Second Dynasty, EA35595
Photo (left): © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Photo (right): Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




jar sealing jar sealing
Second Dynasty: 2 890 BC - 2 670 BC

Jar sealing of King Peribsen

Writing was invented for administrative purposes and entries were short. Continuous speech was not recorded until the Second Dynasty. The hieroglyphs impressed into this mud jar stopper are from a cylinder seal carved with the first complete sentence known from early Egypt.

It reads:

'Seal of all gold things. The golden one (the god Seth) has joined the two lands for his son, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Peribsen.

Length 90 mm, width 80 mm.


jar sealing

Reconstruction of Peribsen's seal.

Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Peribsen, Second Dynasty, EA35594
Photo (upper left): Don Hitchcock 2015
Photo (upper right): Udimu, Permission: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Photo (lower left): card, British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




bowlfragmentsethperibsm img_9349jarsealingperibsensm
Second Dynasty: 2 890 BC - 2 670 BC

Jar fragments inscribed for Peribsen

On these stone jar fragments the god Seth is depicted with a human body and a dog-like face. He is offering strength and life to the king's name. Originally, Peribsen was called Sekhimib, a name which appears on the travertine fragment to the left. Why and when he changed his name is uncertain.


EA52862: A fragment of the side and part of the base of a travertine bowl, with the name Sekhemib-Perenmaat and a figure of a god incised on the exterior. The god holds a 'was' sceptre and an ankh. The upper part of the inscription is missing. Good condition.

Height 95 mm, width 94 mm.

Second Dynasty, probably from the Abydos Royal Tomb.


EA68689: Fragment of the body of a black-and-white mottled amphibolite bowl with an incised inscription on the exterior surface. On the right is a representation of a standing anthropomorphic deity, holding a 'was'-sceptre and ankh, probably Seth or Ash, with traces of other signs above.

To the left of the god is the lower portion of a serekh, accompanied by text. The word nbt, meaning Ombos, or, possibly, 'the Ombite' is possibly a name of Seth.

Height 79 mm.

Catalog: Second Dynasty, EA52862, EA68689
Photo (left): © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Photo (right): Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9350peribsenbanglesrockcrystalsm
Second Dynasty: 2 890 BC - 2 670 BC

Bangles and jar fragment of Peribsen

Peribsen was laid to rest at Abydos in a traditional mud brick tomb. Like other royal tombs, it was originally stocked with commodities and precious objects, such as greywacke bangle bracelets and rock crystal vessels. These were later broken, dispersed, or stolen by robbers.


EA32647: A small piece of a rock crystal vessel with an incised inscription of Peribsen. The text is cut on what is most probably the inner surface of the vase. Good condition.

Length 42 mm, width 23 mm


EA68620: Part of a bracelet of grey metasediment amounting to just under half the original circumference. The outer edge is rounded and the inner surface is flat, producing a semicircular section.

Length 63 mm, width 7 mm, bears the excavator's mark, P.

EA68621: Part of a bracelet of grey metasediment amounting to just under half the original circumference. The outer edge is rounded and the inner surface is flat, producing a semicircular section.

Length 67 mm, width 8 mm

Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Peribsen, Second Dynasty, EA68620, EA68621

Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Merneith, Excavator's mark Y. 19, Second Dynasty, EA32647
( note that this allocation to the Tomb of Merneith on the BM site appears to be in error. Merneith was the mother of Den, in the First Dynasty. It is difficult to work out how a Second Dynasty artefact could turn up in a First Dynasty tomb - Don )

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




khasekstatue
Second Dynasty: 2 890 BC - 2 670 BC

Egypt's first great builder

Statue of the Egyptian king Khasekhemwy.

Rival kingdoms in the late Second Dynasty brought strife to Egypt's two lands. In the south, King Peribsen broke with tradition and adopted the god Seth as his patron, instead of Horus, the falcon god. Order and unity were finally restored by the dynasty's ultimate king, Khasekhemwy, who took both Horus and Seth as his patron deities.

Leading the country to new cultural heights, Khasekhemwy consolidated his power with an intensive campaign of construction. Technological developments in his reign led to the first extensive use of dressed stone in Egyptian history, preparing the way for the Pyramid Age that followed.

Photo: Udimu
Permission: GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Original: Ashmolean Museum, Oxford




Monuments of King Khasekhemwy

Second Dynasty 2690 BC

King Khasekhemwy was Egypt's first great builder. From ancient records we know he was responsible for many structures in addition to his impressive tomb. Two of these still survive: his valley temple at Abydos where funerary rituals took place, and a ceremonial complex at Hierakonpolis. Today, these massive unroofed enclosures are the oldest full-standing mud brick buildings in the world. Lessons learned in the management of such projects, and experiments with stone construction, set the stage for the pyramid age that followed.
Text above: Poster at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

img_9365tomb1sm
Khasekhemwy's enormous 59 room tomb at Abydos had a stone-lined burial chamber. Above it was once a solid rectangular structure called a mastaba, also faced with dressed stone.

Courtesy of the German Archaeological Institute, Cairo.

Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Poster, British Museum
Text: Poster at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9366valleytemplesm
Khasekhemwy's massive valley temple at Abydos is nearly 134 metres long and 78 metres wide, covering the equivalent of one and a half football pitches. The niches on its walls copied palace architecture and symbolised royal power.

Photo: © Robert Fletcher for the Abydos Expedition of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
Source: Poster, British Museum
Text: Poster at the British Museum, Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9367ceremonialenclosuresm
The ceremonial enclosure at Hierakonpolis has five-metre thick walls that are over nine metres high. Khasekhemwy may have staged ceremonies here celebrating the reunification of the country.

Courtesy of the Hierakonpolis Expedition.

Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Poster, British Museum
Text: Poster at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9355jarsealsm jarsealingk
Second Dynasty: 2 890 BC - 2 670 BC

Jar sealing of Khasekhemwy

On this jar sealing, Khasekhemwy's name, meaning 'the two powers shine forth' is surmounted by both the falcon Horus and the god Seth, signifying a reunited Egypt. An additional epithet, reading 'the two lords are at peace with him' suggests that this union was achieved only through conflict.

Part of a jar-seal of grey clay, with an impressed inscription of the name of Khasekhem. This fragment is in good condition.

Length 100 mm, width 65 mm


Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Khasekhemwy, Second Dynasty, EA35590
Photo (left): Don Hitchcock 2015
Photo (right): © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9351modeljarssm
Second Dynasty: 2 890 BC - 2 670 BC

Model stone jars of Khasekhemwy

King Khasekhemwy was buried in an enormous tomb at Abydos. It had over 40 storage rooms filled with objects that were used in life and many that were only relevant after death, like these model stone jars. They were shaped and smoothed on the exterior, but only a shallow depression was hollowed out inside.

Abydos, Tomb of Khasekhemwy, Second Dynasty, EA35569, EA35570.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9352copperbowlsm
Second Dynasty: 2 890 BC - 2 670 BC

Model dish of copper


This dish was hammered from a thin sheet of copper. It is a model for use in the afterlife, but gives some idea of the type of luxurious metal vessels enjoyed by Khasekhemwy and his court. Metal working advanced considerably during this king's reign, and he is remembered for fashioning a copper statue of himself called 'High is Khasekhemwy'.

A model of a circular dish irregularly cut out from thin sheet copper, with a shallow depression in the middle. The shape of the vessel has been distorted by crushing and the metal is corroded.


Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Khasekhemwy, Second Dynasty, EA35573
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9357modeltoolssm
Second Dynasty: 2 890 BC - 2 670 BC

Model tools from Khasekhemwy's tomb


Model tools of thin copper were numerous in Khasekhemwy's tomb, perhaps reflecting his prolific building interests.

These examples came from a deposit of 194 models found below a collapsed wall. Tool types included axes, harpoons, chisels, adzes, needles and a knife. Most occur in multiples of eight, which may relate to the Egyptian working week of eight days.


Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Khasekhemwy, Second Dynasty, EA35575 - EA35578, EA35580, EA35583, EA67571
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9358axesm

Second Dynasty: 2 890 BC - 2 670 BC

Arsenical Copper axe


Functional tools were also placed in Khasekhemwy's tomb. Among them were many axes with a hole near the centre. This innovation allowed the blade to be more securely tied onto the handle than previously possible. This system for attaching handles continued throughout the Old Kingdom. Axes were used in woodworking and were also the main hand weapons for soldiers.


Broad, squat axe-head with slightly concave butt and rounded sides converging to form a convex cutting end. In the centre near the butt is a large round hole, which was cast into the blade during the original manufacture. The cutting end, which was hammered to a sharp edge, is cracked on both faces and shows other signs of heavy wear. The axe was once covered by corrosion product but has now been completely cleaned. There is considerable surface pitting.

Length 102 mm, width 127 mm (butt), thickness 8 mm, weight 546 grams.

This axe-head belongs to a group of two full-size and 15 model axes discovered by Petrie in 1901 in the tomb of King Khasekhemwy at Abydos. The second functional specimen from the group is now in Chicago (0I, 6240) and the other models are widely distributed among various museums. A large quantity of the same type (18 full-size and at least 17 models) was previously (1896-7) found by Amelineau in the same tomb.

The earliest copper alloy of the Bronze Age is arsenical copper, a material relatively short-lived in the archaeological record when compared with the succeeding tin bronze, but of no little importance when tracing the stages and progress of prehistoric metal working. Like tin, arsenic functions as a mild deoxidant and confers the useful property of work-hardening upon the metal. Copper-arsenic alloys need to be strengthened by cold working, and it was probably this requirement as much as any other that would have led to their eventual disuse and replacement by cast tin bronzes. The normal source of arsenic for such alloys is generally agreed as a constituent of the copper ore actually smelted, usually the grey tetrahedrite tennantite mineral.

Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Khasekhemwy, Second Dynasty, EA35574
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Additional text: McKerrel and Tylecote (1972)




img_9359knifesm
Second Dynasty: 2 890 BC - 2 670 BC

Flint knife


Tools of flint continued to be used for ritual and functional purposes, and many were found in Khasekhemwy's tomb. This knife was used for making ritual sacrifices. It was provided in the belief that the king would tend to the gods in the afterlife.


Complete bifacial knife of pale brown flint, with a rounded tip and projecting handle. The surfaces have been worked by pressure flaking and the edges have been sharpened. There is a small trace of white crust at the tip.

Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Khasekhemwy, Second Dynasty, EA68775
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9353bronzeewersm img_9354bowlsm


bronzeewersm
Second Dynasty: 2 890 BC - 2 670 BC

Bronze ewer and basin

This ewer and basin were used as a set in hand washing. Analysis shows they are made of bronze, an amalgam of tin and copper, and are the earliest examples of this alloy known from ancient Egypt.

Adding tin to copper made tools harder and kept them sharper, qualities that were important to Khasekhemwy during his building activities.


EA35571: A vase of thin copper with a flat base and convex sides, which turn inwards at the top. The spout is rounded and set at a lower angle into the body of the vessel. Traces of linen adhere to the corroded exterior surfaces. One side of the vase has been split by a combination of pressure and corrosion.

The analysis of the metal shows that the vase was made of a fine bronze alloy, certainly the earliest example of the use of bronze in Egypt known so far. The spout, however, consists of arsenical copper.

Height 114 mm, width 21 mm (spout), length 41 mm (spout), diameter 77 mm (base), diameter 102 mm (rim).


EA35572: A deep bowl with flaring sides and a flat base. The top of the rim has been hammered to a flat surface with a sharp outer edge. Remains of linen adhere to the corroded exterior and interior of the vessel. There is a vertical split in the metal running the full height of one side.

Height 116 mm, diameter 125 mm (base), 244 mm (rim).

Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Khasekhemwy, Second Dynasty, EA35571, EA35572
Photo (above): Don Hitchcock 2015
Photo (below): © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9362ovoidsm
Second Dynasty: 2 890 BC - 2 670 BC

Ovoid stone jar


Ovoid vessels are rare and were difficult to make. The rim of this dolomite jar had been broken off before it was deposited in Khasekhemwy's tomb, showing it had value even in an imperfect state. It was found hidden beneath a fallen wall with the metal dishes above.

An oval flat-bodied vase with lug-handles set high on the shoulders. The rim has been broken away. Interior well hollowed. Height 93 mm, width 84 mm.

Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Khasekhemwy, Second Dynasty, EA35566
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9347textplantombsm

Plan of Khasekhemwy's tomb showing the find spots of objects on display.

Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Card, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9363goldlids
Second Dynasty: 2 890 BC - 2 670 BC

Stone vases with gold lids


These dolomite vases are two from a group of six that were found beneath a collapsed wall in Khasekhemwy's tomb. The same rubble concealed from robbers the model tools above and the metal dishes. All six of the dolomite vases had lids of sheet gold tied on with fine gold wire and secured with small clay seals. A punched design decorates the lids.


EA35567: Squat magnesite jar with flat base and raised external rim. The mouth is covered with a thin gold cap, secured by a fine gold wire. The wire encircles the rim twice and is fastened with a small clay seal. The gold cover is decorated with punch-marks, made from the underside, and with impressed radial lines around the edge.

Height 50 mm, diameter 47 mm (rim).


EA35568: Squat vase of the higher type, made of magnesite. The mouth is very narrow and it has a raised external rim. It is closed by a thin gold cover, secured by two turns of gold wire, twisted together at the ends. The cover is decorated with punch-marks, made from the underside. The base has been drilled right through to facilitate the hollowing of the interior, and would originally have been closed by a separate piece of stone, now missing.

Height 57 mm, diameter 22 mm (base), 31 mm (rim).

Catalog: Abydos, Tomb of Khasekhemwy, Second Dynaasty, EA35567, EA35568
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9403splitjarsm stonejarcutintwosm
Second - Third Dynasty: 2 890 BC - 2 613 BC

Sawn Jars


To hollow out jars with small mouths and wide shoulders it was easier to make them in two parts. After initial shaping, the stone was sawn in half and then drilled. The two pieces were later glued together.

Squat calcite jar with a flat base and sharp-edged external rim. The vessel has been made in two sections, the division running horizontally just below the level of the shoulder.


Height 71 mm, diameter 60 mm (rim), 48 mm (base).

Catalog: Second - Third Dynasty, EA36353
Photo (left): Don Hitchcock 2015
Photo (right): © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0








The Third Dynasty

2 670 BC - 2 613 BC

The Third Dynasty is the first dynasty of the Old Kingdom. The capital city during the period of the Old Kingdom was at Memphis.


            Name                Personal Name    Consort Burial Years Dates
Netjerikhet Djoser Hetephernebti Saqqara 19 2 670 BC - 2 651 BC
Sekhemkhet Djoserty Djeseretnebti Saqqara: Buried Pyramid 6 2 651 BC - 2 645 BC
Zanakht Nebka   Abydos? 9 2 645 BC - 2 636 BC
Khaba Teti   Zawyet el'Aryan: Layer Pyramid 6 2 636 BC - 2 630 BC
Qahedjet? Huni Djefatnebti - Meresankh I Meidum 17 2 630 BC - 2 613 BC


Table of Third Dynasty Rulers, adapted from various sources, including Wikipedia.


steppyramidsaqqaradjersm
Third Dynasty: 2 670 BC - 2 613 BC

The Step Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara, Egypt.

This first Egyptian pyramid consisted of six mastabas (of decreasing size) built one on top of the another with what were clearly revisions and developments of the original plan. The pyramid originally stood 62 metres (203 ft) tall, with a base of 109 m × 125 m (358 ft × 410 ft) and was clad in polished white limestone. This step pyramid (or proto-pyramid) is considered to be the earliest large-scale cut stone construction.


Photo: Wknight94
Permission: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Catalog: Abydos, Step Pyramid of Djoser, Third Dynasty, EA2440, EA66826-EA66832
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9361tilessm
Third Dynasty: 2 670 BC - 2 613 BC

Faience tiles from the Step Pyramid


Khasekhemwy's successor, and probably step-son, was King Djoser, founder of the Third Dynasty. Benefiting from Khasekhemwy's advances in metallurgy and stone working, and the lessons learned in managing vast building projects, Djoser went on to build Egypt's first pyramid - the Step Pyramid at Saqqara. These tiles are from the underground corridors beneath that pyramid, where they were arranged on the walls to imitate matting.

Catalog: Abydos, Step Pyramid of Djoser, Third Dynasty, EA2440, EA66826-EA66832
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0






Technology and innovation

Predynastic - Third Dynasty


Technology played a key role in the development of Egyptian culture. From Early Predynastic times, artisans used hard stones to produce prestigious objects. Later advances in metallurgy turned stone vessel making into a major industry, supported by early kings. The techniques required were continually refined, and influenced the evolution of Egyptian architecture and statuary.

Text above: Poster at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

img_9361tilessm
Third Dynasty: 2 670 BC - 2 613 BC

Statue of Ankhwa

The skills and status of early Egyptian artisan are epitomised in this statue of the shipwright and metal worker, Ankhwa. He proudly holds a copper adze, which was both a symbol and a product of his professions.

One of the earliest statues of a private person, this red granite sculpture is the result of progressive innovations in stone and metal working within the royal workshops. This gift from the king assured Ankhwa's immortality, since both the statue and its inscription could serve as homes for his spirit, should his body be lost.

A red granite statue of an official, shown seated upon a cubical stool with hollowed sides and back. He holds an adze in the left hand; the right hand rests, palm downwards, on the lap. The figure wears a short kilt and a full wig, upon which the details of the curls are indicated. The face is full and heavy, but skilfully carved.

The broad mouth, with its rounded corners, dominates the frontal view of the face. The crisp carving of the lips contrasts with the modelling of the eyes, which lack any indication of the lower lids. On the kilt above the left knee is a vertical line of inscription in low relief.

The striations of Ankhwa's flaring coiffure undulate near the crown of his head; two ridges at the lower ends suggest crimping. The boat-hieroglyph has an animal head at the prow, possibly that of a bull.

Height 655 mm, length 390 mm (base), width 295 mm (base), height 134 mm (Top of head to base of wig (front)), height 150 mm (top of head to base of wig (back))

Catalog: Probably Saqqara, Third Dynasty, EA171
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




img_9402twodrillbitssm
Third Dynasty: 2 670 BC - 2 613 BC

Flint scrapers

To widen the interior space when making stone vessels, stone drill bits were attached to the drill. Rotary action with crescent drills of flint was used to hollow out soft stones like travertine (calcite).

(above) EA67626: Flint scraper, hollow, crescent-shaped, worked both sides.

Width 90 mm, length 52 mm.


(below) EA67627: Flint scraper, hollow and crescent-shaped, worked both sides.

Width: 90 mm length 55 mm

Catalog: Third Dynasty, Beit Khallaf, Tomb of Netjerkhet, EA67626, EA67627
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




kingrulingsm
Third Dynasty: 2 670 BC - 2 613 BC

Rock inscription of King Zanakht

This relief was originally carved into the cliffs at Wadi Magyar in Sinai.

It commemorates an expedition to the turquoise mines there by King Zanakht of the Third Dynasty. Emulating his royal ancestor Den, Zanakht smites an eastern tribesman, preserved here only by the lock of hair in the kings hand. To the right, hieroglyphs spell out one of the earliest examples of the word for turquoise, mefkat.

Catalog: Sinai, Wadi Maghara, Third Dynasty, circa 2 650 BC, EA691
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




kingrulingsm
Third Dynasty: 2 670 - 2 613 BC

Rock inscription of King Zanakht

Pink sandstone stele of Zanakht. King Zanakht is smiting a foreigner (no longer visible) who personified the tribes of the Eastern Desert. The sovereign, whose name is inscribed in a serekh surmounted by the falcon god Horus, is wearing the red crown, symbol of his power over Lower Egypt. In front of him on a pole was the emblem of the god Wepwawet, now lost. The few hieroglyphs surviving in the right corner of the fragment signify 'turquoise', a highly prized stone, which the Egyptians went to the mountains of the Sinai peninsula to extract.


Length 350 mm, width 47 mm, depth 210 mm, weight 75 kg.

Cut in low relief. This relief, a large stele, was executed in the cliff itself under difficult conditions, and exposed to the elements for more than four millennia. It does not display the same sculptural qualities as reliefs almost as old from Saqqara or Heliopolis. It belongs to a series of inscriptions with the names of kings Djoser, Sekhemkhet, and Sanakht that commemorate the first expeditions launched by the pharaohs to the so-called turquoise terraces. Distinguished from non royal inscriptions by their bellicose iconography, they magically mark the limits of the pharaoh's domain and immortalise his appropriation of the world. A text from the time of Djedkare-Isesi, a Fifth Dynasty pharaoh, reveals that royal troops also came to Wadi Magyar to seek another very precious resource, copper.

Catalog: Sinai, Wadi Maghara, Third Dynasty, circa 2 650 BC, EA691
Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




kingrulingsm

Turquoise mines at Wadi Maghara in Sinai.

Photo: © James A. Harrell, University of Toledo, USA
Source: Poster, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Hezi
Limestone panel of Hezi

Third - Fourth Dynasty: 2 670 - 2 494 BC

The ancient Egyptians fully recognised the beauty of their writing system. On this panel from a tomb, each hieroglyph is a work of art in its own right. The signs are arranged in eight columns, giving a funerary offering formula for a man called Hezi. By writing his name, the ancient Egyptians believed Hezi's immortality was secured, while the offering formula insured his provisions for eternity.

This is a rectangular slab of limestone bearing a standard offering-text for Ḥezi, arranged in eight vertical columns. The signs are cut in low relief with a considerable amount of detail. No colour survives.


Length 445 mm, width 280 mm, thickness 75 mm.

Catalog: Probably Saqqara, Third - Fourth Dynasty, EA1212
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0








The Fourth Dynasty

2 613 BC - 2 494 BC

The Fourth Dynasty is the second dynasty of the Old Kingdom. The capital city during the period of the Old Kingdom was at Memphis.

The Fourth Dynasty heralded the height of the pyramid-building age. The relative peace of the Third Dynasty allowed the Fourth Dynasty rulers the leisure to explore more artistic and cultural pursuits. Sneferu's building experiments led to the evolution from the mastaba styled step pyramids to the smooth sided 'true' pyramids, such as those on the Giza plateau. No other period in Egypt’s history equaled the Fourth Dynasty's architectural accomplishments. Most of the rulers of this dynasty commissioned at least one pyramid to serve as a tomb or cenotaph.

The pharaohs of the Fourth Dynasty ruled for approximately 120 years, from  2 613 BC to 2 494 BC. The names in the table are taken from Dodson and Hilton (2004).


Name Personal Name Consort Pyramid Years Dates
Sneferu   Hetepheres I Red Pyramid 24 2 613 BC - 2 589 BC
Khufu Medjedu Meritites I, Henutsen Great Pyramid of Giza 23 2 589 BC - 2 566 BC
Djedefre Kheper Hetepheres II, Khenetka Pyramid of Djedefre 8 2 566 BC - 2 558 BC
Khafra / Khafre Userib Meresankh III, Khamerernebty,
Hekenuhedjet, Persenet
Pyramid of Khafre 26 2 558 BC - 2 532 BC
Baka       1 2 532 BC
Menkaure Kakhet Khamerernebty II Pyramid of Menkaure 29 2 532 BC - 2 503 BC
Shepseskaf Shepseskhet Bunefer Mastabet el-Fara'un 4 2 503 BC - 2 499 BC
Djedefptah       5 2 499 BC - 2 494 BC


This period was marked by profound economic and social transformations. This is shown by an inscription from the tomb of the great magnate Metjen. It contains information about Metjen's career as an official and his social standing, and also about his property holdings - fields, gardens, vineyards, and fig groves. He inherited part of his property from his father and purchased another part. Ultimately he owned some sixty hectares of land. At the beginning of the Egyptian state the pharaoh was still the sole legal owner of everything - land, stone quarries, water, livestock, and, when he needed it, human labour. The inscriptions from Metjen's tomb show that as early as the end of the Third Dynasty, even a man who was not descended from the royal family could own property, including agricultural land.

Text above: Verner (2014)





akhtihotep
Fourth Dynasty: 2 613 BC - 2 494 BC

Akhtihotep


Fragment of a relief with offering scene from the tomb of Akhtihotep, Reign of Sneferu.

Limestone

Catalog: Sakkara, Mastabe of Akhtihotep, ÄS 4854
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München
Additional text: http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/543912




img_5251doorsm img_5252doorsm img_5255doorsm


img_5254doorsm
Fourth Dynasty: 2 613 BC - 2 494 BC

Rahotep


Fragments of a false-door stela from the tomb of Rahotep.

Prince Rahotep was probably a son of Pharaoh Sneferu and his first wife.

Limestone, circa 2 600 BC


Catalog: Fourth Dynasty, Meidum, mastaba of Rahotep, GL 102 a-d
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München
Additional text: Wikipedia




khafra statue
Fourth Dynasty: 2 613 BC - 2 494 BC

Standing - striding figure of the Court Musician Ipi.


Limestone, circa 2 600 BC.

Catalog: Dashur, ÄS 1600
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München
Additional text: Wikipedia




portrait portrait
Fourth Dynasty: 2 613 BC - 2 494 BC

Portrait head of a man, circa 2 550 BC

Catalog: Granodiorite, Assuan, ÄS 6932
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München, Wikipedia




img_2326metjen statue
Fourth Dynasty: 2 613 BC - 2 494 BC

Statue of Methen / Metjen

This portrait of Metjen, 470 mm high, in pink granite, was found by Karl Richard Lepsius in his tomb in Saqqara and brought to Berlin in 1845. It had been placed in a small, inaccessible room, the so-called Serdab, next to the cult chamber and connected to it only by a slit in the masonry. Thus, according to ancient Egyptian ideas, Metjen was involved in the sacrifices.

The figure was created around the turn of the 3rd to 4th dynasties. At that time, Metjen under King Snofru was a senior administrator (domain administrator). Metjen sits on a cubic seat. He wears a short wig and a kilt. Further iconographic details are missing. On the sides of the seat stands its name and its title.

Catalog: Abusir, Metjen (tomb) AM 1105
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Neues Museum, Germany
Text: © Card at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, http://www.smb-digital.de/




img_2328mentjentombchambersm statue
Fourth Dynasty: 2 613 BC - 2 494 BC

Sacrificial Chamber from the tomb of Metjen


The limestone burial chamber of Metjen, built around 2 600 BC, contains in its hieroglyphic inscriptions the oldest biography of Egypt. In the reliefs the animal world of the Nile Valley is presented as in a zoological manual.

Metjens' titles are varied and are listed on the walls, for example, he calls himself the administrator of several provinces, and of high priests. As the king's chief huntsman, he supervises hunting in the desert.


img_2354_2355_2356metjentombsm statue
The walls include depictions of a garden with figs and grape vines. Important sacrifices with differently dressed servants and sacrificer offer the deceased many  goods and sacrifices, which address the comforts needed in the underworld, including household articles, vestments, the equipment of the grave and animals for hunting.

Length x width x height, passage: 215 x 67 x 252 cm

Length x width x height, chamber: 75 x 265 x 325 cm

Catalog: Abusir, Metjen (tomb) AM 1105
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Neues Museum, Germany
Text: © Card at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, http://www.smb-digital.de/




img_2353wallsm  img_2357_2358sm
Fourth Dynasty: 2 613 BC - 2 494 BC

Offering Chapel of Metjen


This wall is part of Metjen's tomb, called the Offering Chapel.

On the right hand image we can see some of the animals of the hunt - the Nubian ibex, Capra nubiana, the Dorcas gazelle, Gazella dorcas, and the Desert hare, Lepus capensis.

Catalog: Abusir, Metjen (tomb) AM 1105
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Neues Museum, Germany




Egypt
Fourth Dynasty: 2 613 BC - 2 494 BC

Pyramid of Giza / Khufu / Cheops


The pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza pyramid complex bordering what is now El Giza, Egypt. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact.


Based on a mark in an interior chamber naming the work gang and a reference to fourth dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu, Egyptologists believe that the pyramid was built as a tomb over a 10 to 20-year period concluding around 2560 BC. Initially at 146.5 metres (481 feet), the Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for more than 3,800 years. Originally, the Great Pyramid was covered by casing stones that formed a smooth outer surface; what is seen today is the underlying core structure. Some of the casing stones that once covered the structure can still be seen around the base.

There have been varying scientific and alternative theories about the Great Pyramid's construction techniques. Most accepted construction hypotheses are based on the idea that it was built by moving huge stones from a quarry and dragging and lifting them into place.

There are three known chambers inside the Great Pyramid. The lowest chamber is cut into the bedrock upon which the pyramid was built and was unfinished. The so-called Queen's Chamber and King's Chamber are higher up within the pyramid structure. The main part of the Giza complex is a setting of buildings that included two mortuary temples in honour of Khufu (one close to the pyramid and one near the Nile), three smaller pyramids for Khufu's wives, an even smaller 'satellite' pyramid, a raised causeway connecting the two temples, and small mastaba tombs surrounding the pyramid for nobles.

Photo: Nina-no, Nina Aldin Thune
Permission: GNU Free Documentation License
Text: Wikipedia




Giza
Fourth Dynasty: 2 613 BC - 2 494 BC

Pyramid of Giza / Khufu / Cheops


Transparent view of Khufu's pyramid from the South East.

Photo: R.F.Morgan
Permission: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Text: Wikipedia




khafra statue
Fourth Dynasty: 2 613 BC - 2 494 BC

Statue of Khafra


Photo: Einsamer Schütze
Permission: GNU Free Documentation License




img_2294meribentrancemeribsm Egypt
Fourth Dynasty: 2 613 BC - 2 494 BC

Entrance to the Burial Chamber of Merib, circa 2 500 BC.

The Egyptian Museum in Berlin reopened the New Museum in 2009 with the offering chambers of Metjen (Abusir, Dynasties 3 to 4) and of Merib (Giza, Dynasty 4) displayed in a new and unique fashion. Rather than rebuilding the small chambers on their original floor plan, their walls are displayed at a distance, in an 'exploded' fashion. The blocks appear to rest on each other, while missing sections on their back sides were filled with cast modern blocks, into which the ancient fragments were set to supply structural support.

Extensive three-dimensional modelling was used in the process of developing the current display. Exhibited in a large gallery, the walls stand freely and visitors are able to view the blocks in the round and walk behind the original walls. This display offers a rare insight into the materiality of Egyptian architecture in a manner that was never anticipated in the ancient context, where only flat interior surfaces would have been visible.


Catalog: Giza, Ostfriedhof, Grab Nr 70 limestone, AM 1107
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Neues Museum, Germany
Text: Hartwig (2006)




img_2296othersideof2295sm
Fourth Dynasty: 2 613 BC - 2 494 BC

Burial Chamber of Merib, circa 2 500 BC.

This is the other side of the wall to the images above, with the other side of the entrance shown above on the left of this photograph.

Catalog: Giza, Ostfriedhof, Grab Nr 70 limestone, AM 1107
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Neues Museum, Germany




img_2298meribsm img_2299meribothersideof2295meribsm img_2300meribsm


img_2301meribsm
Fourth Dynasty: 2 613 BC - 2 494 BC

Burial Chamber of Merib, circa 2 500 BC.

Closeups of each of the panels on the other side of the main door.

Catalog: Giza, Ostfriedhof, Grab Nr 70 limestone, AM 1107
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Neues Museum, Germany




img_2297meribsm
Fourth Dynasty: 2 613 BC - 2 494 BC

Burial Chamber of Merib, circa 2 500 BC.

This part of the complex was off by itself. It is probably the rear wall of the chamber, and has two false doors.

The 'exploded' arrangement means that there is less pressure on the exhibits in terms of touching and damage, and there is more room for visitors to move around, and view the display from a comfortable distance, and more can view the exhibits at any given time.

Catalog: Giza, Ostfriedhof, Grab Nr 70 limestone, AM 1107
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Neues Museum, Germany








The Fifth Dynasty: 2 494 BC - 2 345 BC.

The Fifth Dynasty of ancient Egypt (notated Dynasty V) is combined with Dynasties III, IV and VI under the group title the Old Kingdom.

The names in the table are taken from Dodson and Hilton (2004).


            Name                Personal Name    Consort Pyramid Years Dates
Userkaf Irimaat Khenkaus I, Neferhetepes Pyramid in Saqqara 7 2 494 BC - 2 487 BC
Sahure Nebkhau Neferetnebty Pyramid in Abusir 12 2 487 BC - 2 475 BC
Neferirkare Kakai Neferirkare Khentaus II Pyramid in Abusir 20 2 475 BC - 2 455 BC
Neferefre Neferkau Khentakawess III Unfinished Pyramid of Neferefre in Abusir 3 2 455 BC - 2 452 BC
Shepseskare Shepseskare   Possibly in Abusir 8 2 452 BC - 2 444 BC
Nyusserre Ini Nyusserre Reptynub Pyramid in Abusir 24 2 445 BC - 2 421 BC
Menkauhor Kaiu Menkauhor Meresankh IV 'Headless Pyramid' in Saqqara 7 2 421 BC - 2 414 BC
Djedkare Isesi Djedkare   Pyramid in Saqqara 39 2 414 BC - 2 375 BC
Unas Wadjtawy Nebet, Khenut Pyramid in Saqqara 30 2 375 BC - 2 345 BC


Table of Fifth Dynasty Rulers, adapted from various sources, including Wikipedia.




Egypt
Fifth Dynasty: 2 494 BC - 2 345 BC.

Sarcophagus

Sarcophagus of Minnofer. Granite, location Saqqara circa 2416 BC - 2356 BC, Nioesserre-Djedkare, (Niuserre-Djedkare/Isesi), 5th Dynasty.

Minnofer was vizier (viceroy) in Egypt's capital Memphis. The walls of his sarcophagus show a palace facade with many windows and doors. The domed lid symbolises heaven.

The sarcophagus was in Minnofer's huge mastaba or tomb-house, but was removed around 1825. Then the tomb became covered again under shifting sands. Because the place where the finds were made was not recorded at the time, Minnofer's grave was found again only in 1987.


A mastaba (meaning 'house for eternity' or 'eternal house'), is a type of ancient Egyptian tomb in the form of a flat-roofed, rectangular structure with outward sloping sides, constructed out of mud-bricks (from the Nile River) or stone. Mastabas marked the burial sites of many eminent Egyptians during Egypt's Early Dynastic Period and Old Kingdom. During the Old Kingdom, kings began to be buried in pyramids instead of mastabas, although non-royal use of mastabas continued for more than a thousand years.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden.




Henka
Fifth Dynasty: 2 494 BC - 2 345 BC.

Henka

Scribe statue of Henka, chief of the two pyramids of Snofru in limestone, circa 2 450 BC.

Henka, a high official and head of the pyramids of King Snofru, who had died more than a hundred years before, sits with his legs crossed, and has on his knees the unrolled part of a papyrus. The left hand holds the blank part of the roll, the right hand holds the papyrus between the thumb and the index finger.

It is in some respects a portrait rather than a portrayal of a scribe at work, since Henka looks straight ahead, as we would now for a photograph.

Height x Width x Depth: 400 x 320 x 290 mm.


Catalog: Memphis, Meidum, AM 7334
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Neues Museum, Germany
Text: © Card at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, http://www.smb-digital.de/




Sabu family Sabu family


Sabu family
Fifth Dynasty: 2 494 BC - 2 345 BC.

Sabu and Family

Family group of Sabu, his wife Meritites, and their son Iseb. Meritites has her arm around the chest of her husband. Only the lower legs of their son remain.

Limestone, circa 2 400 BC.

Catalog: ÄS 7146
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München




Standing - striding figure of Perhernefret
Fifth Dynasty: 2 494 BC - 2 345 BC.

Perhernefret

Standing - striding figure of Perhernefret.

Wood, circa 2 400 BC.

Son of Renpetnefret. Mentioned on his mother's offering basin, identified as a carpenter.

Size: 1130 x 205 x 560 mm.

Catalog: (Tarkhan) Kafr Ammar, AM 10858
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Neues Museum, Germany
Text: © Card at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, http://www.smb-digital.de/
Additional text: http://www.gizapyramids.org/




Standing - striding figure of Perhernefret
Fifth Dynasty: 2 494 BC - 2 345 BC.

Hesy

Standing - striding figure of Hesy.

Overseer of officials, face partly restored.

Limestone, circa 2 400 BC.

Catalog: AM 7766
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Neues Museum, Germany
Text: © Card at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Additional text: http://www.griffith.ox.ac.uk/gri/3berlin.pdf




family group family group
Fifth Dynasty: 2 494 BC - 2 345 BC.

Family Group

Painted limestone, circa 2 400 BC.

610 x 270 x 355 mm

The common burial of husband and wife, as well as of mother and son, is extremely frequently documented. In the reliefs of the cult chambers of the tombs of the Old Kingdom there are numerous representations confirming this. Usually the parents, surrounded by the children, or only the man, on whose side his wife, sons and daughters can be found, are depicted.

But group sculpture as a long lasting image of the family has also been very popular since the Old Kingdom.


The partial family group shown here is dominated by the figure of the man. He is clothed only with a knee length kilt and a short wig, and sits erect on a stool. Beside his legs there is a crouching female figure on his right side. She wears an ankle-length garment and with her left arm she clasps the man's lower leg. Probably it is his wife, but it could also be his daughter. On the left is a son, who, as is the case with children and young people, is depicted naked and with the so-called 'Jugendlocke', the braided hairstyle for young people who were descendants of the king, and the hairstyle also marked connection to the young Horus. He also clasps the calf of his father.

The facial features of man and woman are typical for the 5th dynasty and without any attempt at any more detailed physiognomic formation and differentiation. The man's eyelids are of copper, the eyes of black and white stone. The painting on the statue is partly preserved.

Due to the lack of an inscription, the identity and the rank of the depicted persons can not be determined. Comparable pieces were found in mastaba graves at the official cemeteries in Giza and Saqqara.
(K. Finneiser)

Catalog: Saqqara, AM 10123
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Neues Museum, Germany
Text: © Card at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, http://www.smb-digital.de/
Additional text: Wikipedia




Scribe statues

The scribe sits cross-legged on the floor with his papyrus scroll open on his lap. He is one of the elite members of ancient Egyptian society. Historic figures who have made a name for themselves through their cultural achievements as poets, architects and artists are still venerated centuries on in the form of scribe statues which are publicly displayed on temple gates. This is also borne out by the portrayal of the signs of age in the corpulence of the upper body - a clear contrast to the otherwise prevailing ideal of eternal youth.

Text above: http://www.egyptian-museum-berlin.com/c51.php

Dersenedj and his wife Nefretka Dersenedj
Fifth Dynasty: 2 494 BC - 2 345 BC.

Dersenedj and his wife Nefretka

(left) Dersenedj and his wife Nefretka.

(right) Dersenedj in his role as scribe.

Pink granite, circa 2 400 BC.

Dersenedj was a scribe of the granaries and an administrator. Such people had high status, and were learned people.


Writers' statues have been documented since the fourth dynasty. In them, the person presented is portrayed as a civil servant and at the same time a literary man. Dersenedj sits with his legs crossed, holding with his left hand the papyrus leaf, which is spread on the scarf, on which he has placed his right hand, with the finger holding the writing pen (not shown) over the sheet. The upper body is muscular, the head sits directly on the wide shoulders and is surrounded by a shoulder-length wig. The oval, large-area face is left without any attempt at characterisation or individualisation. The titles and names of the 'granaries recorder and domain administrator' have been placed on the papyrus sheet in such a way that the person in front can read them.

The scribe of the granaries Dersenedj is seated, cross-legged, on the floor with an unrolled papyrus on his lap. His right hand is holding an imaginary reed pen. This statue type - the scribe - is known since circa 2 600 BC and represents an official of the Egyptian state with the ability to read and write.

Characteristic for the Old Kingdom is the muscular compressed body, the roundish face without wrinkles and the striated wig. This statue which was created for the grave of Dersenedj is not a portrait but instead presents an ideal 'type' which will continue to live in the netherworld.

Height x Width x Depth: 682 x 510 x 460 mm.

Catalog: AM 23720, AM 15701
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Neues Museum, Germany
Text: © Card at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, http://www.smb-digital.de/
Additional text: http://www.egyptian-museum-berlin.com/c51.php




Sarcophagus
Fifth Dynasty: 2 494 BC - 2 345 BC.

Sarcophagus

Sarcophagi (stone coffins) were reserved for royalty and the elite. The panel design depicts a palace facade. The side that faced east includes two false doors.

Red granite sarcophagus, circa 2 400 BC, decorated with palace-facade panelling. Slightly vaulted lid retains handling-bosses at either end.

Length 225 cm, height 105 cm, width 88 cm.


Sarcophagus
Most Egyptian tombs lie on the edge of the western desert, so the dead were buried facing east, towards the living — who brought them offerings.

An inscription on the same side, near the top, named the owner but was erased, perhaps to curse him. The bosses on the lid served to manoeuvre It into place.

Catalog: From Giza, tomb LG 98, Granite, EA71620
Photo (upper): Don Hitchcock 2015
Photo (lower): © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Unas column
Fifth Dynasty: Reign of Unas (about 2 375 - 2 345 BC)

Column of King Unas

This red granite column, 564 cm high, graced a colonnaded court in the mortuary temple at the foot of Unas' pyramid at Saqqara. The top is carved in the shape of palm leaves.

Many elements of Egyptian temples evoked the natural world and symbolised divine creation. Floors and painted ceilings replicated the earth and sky, while the columns and wall decoration represented vegetation. Some stone elements might mimic lighter building materials such as wood and matting.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Unas pyramid
Fifth Dynasty: Reign of Unas (about 2 375 - 2 345 BC)

Pyramid of King Unas

Each column in the Unas pyramid complex was carved from a single piece of granite, which was quarried at Aswan, near Egypt's southern border. In a rough hewn state, the columns were transported 800 kilometres down the Nile on special boats, only to be finished once they had been erected.

Photo: Poster, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Text: Poster at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Unas pyramid
Fifth Dynasty: Reign of Unas (about 2 375 - 2 345 BC)

Pyramid of King Unas

This wall scene from the causeway leading up to his mortuary temple shows the shipping of the granite columns for the pyramid complex.

Photo: Poster, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Text: Poster at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0








The Sixth Dynasty

2 345 BC - 2 181 BC.

The Sixth Dynasty of ancient Egypt (notated Dynasty VI) is combined with Dynasties III, IV and V under the group title the Old Kingdom.

The pharaohs of this dynasty ruled for approximately 164 years. These kings ruled from Memphis, since their pyramids were built at Saqqara, close by, which served as the necropolis for Memphis.

The names in the table are taken from Dodson and Hilton (2004).


            Name                Personal Name    Consort Pyramid Years Dates
Teti Seheteptawy Khent(kaus III), Iput I, Khuit Pyramid of Teti in Saqqara 12 2 345 BC - 2 333 BC
Userkare       2 2 333 BC - 2 331 BC
Pepi I Nefersahor/Merenre Ankhesenpepi I, Ankhesenpepi II,
Nubwenet, Meritites IV, Inenek-Inti,
Mehaa, Nedjeftet
Pyramid of Pepi in South Saqqara 44 2 331 BC - 2 287 BC
Merenre I Merenre Ankhesenpepi II Pyramid of Merenre in South Saqqara 9 2 287 BC - 2 278 BC
Pepi II Neferkare Neith, Iput II, Ankhesenpepi III,
Ankhesenpepi IV, Udjebten
Pyramid of Merenre in South Saqqara 94
(aged 6 to 100)
2 278 BC - 2 184 BC
Merenre II Merenre     1 2 184 BC
Netjerkare Siptah       3 2 184 BC- 2 181 BC


Table of Sixth Dynasty Rulers, adapted from various sources, including Wikipedia.


Life after death
The ancient Egyptians did not believe that life ended at death. The souls, the Ka and the Ba, went on living, but would die if the body disappeared. So around 2700 BC the Egyptians began embalming their dead. The technique was continuously improved, reaching its peak around 800 BC.

The internal organs were removed through an incision in the left flank, but the heart had to remain in position. Sometimes the brain was also extracted. Then the body was covered with natron, a naturally occurring mixture of sodium carbonate and bicarbonate, which dried it out. One month later the bone-dry body was covered in resin, and resin was poured into the body. The interior organs were dried and put back into the body, or separated into four Canopic jars, the lids of which were decorated with specific heads of gods.

The wrapping up of the mummy in linen lasted another month. Worn textiles were reused. Amulets were occasionally placed inside the linen bandages. The most important of these was the dung beetle, the so-called heart-scarab, which was supposed to protect the dead at the tribunal of Osiris. Finally the mummy was placed in one or more coffins, placed one inside the other, according to the means of the family.

Text above adapted from a display at the Københavns (Copenhagen) Museum, National Museum of Denmark

Tjeti
Sixth Dynasty: 2 345 BC - 2 181 BC

Tjeti


Fragment of a tomb wall.

Tjeti, the tomb owner, with insignia of rank.

Limestone, circa 2 321 BC - 2 184 BC

Catalog: Sakkara, Mastaba of Tjeti, GL 13
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München




img_2343_2344wallsm statue Sixth Dynasty: 2 345 BC - 2 181 BC

The door of the sacrificial chamber and the wall in the tomb of Manufer, circa 2 335 BC


Facing the entrance gate, a false door, approximately two metres high, stands at the top of a flight of three steps; it is part of the sacrificial chamber of Manufer, chief wig-maker to the king.

The two sacrificial chambers of Metjen and Manufer shown on this page were removed from the Neues Museum during WWII and were carried off to the Soviet Union at the beginning of summer 1945. In 1956 they were returned to the German Democratic Republic.

Catalog: Abusir, Manufer (tomb) AM 1108
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Neues Museum, Germany
Text: © Card at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, http://www.smb-digital.de/


img_2344_2345sm statue
Sixth Dynasty: 2 345 BC - 2 181 BC

Burial Chamber of Manufer, circa 2 335 BC


The chamber was never completed, so it gives a good idea of the process of creating such a tomb.

During restoration, dirt was removed with a laser device. Much meaning was revealed during the restoration when the tomb was cleaned and closely examined.

Catalog: Abusir, Manufer (tomb) AM 1108
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Neues Museum, Germany
Text: © Card at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, http://www.smb-digital.de/
Additional text: http://revistaryr.webs.upv.es/pdf/RyR_112_124-125.pdf, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSCKS2du2Sw




img_2344_2345sm statue
Sixth Dynasty: 2 345 BC - 2 181 BC

Burial Chamber of Manufer, circa 2 335 BC


In this image from the walls of the tomb, we can see the technique for milking a cow. The front and back legs were bound together first, then the cow was milked.

This method would have been used for a cow milked in the fields, rather than in a central milking shed.


Catalog: Abusir, Manufer (tomb) AM 1108
Photo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSCKS2du2Sw
Source: Original, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Neues Museum, Germany




img_2344_2345sm statue
Sixth Dynasty: 2 345 BC - 2 181 BC

The tomb of Manufer, circa 2 335 BC


The tomb is an authentic look at the lifestyle of ordinary ancient Egyptians 4 500 years ago. Animal slaughtering as an offering for the afterlife is depicted. It is a hand book of the old stone carving techniques.

The relief on the walls of the burial chambers of Manufer and Merib are so graphic that they need no detailed description. They serve to offer the prospect of an ideal world in the hereafter for the deceased and their families.


The images do not aim to make direct biographical references to the deceased- with the exception of the titles and names in the hieroglyphic writings. Some of the murals in Manuferts tomb remained unfinished and show the various stages involved in creating a relief.

The most important motif in the tomb reliefs is the sacrificial offering to the deceased, including the scenes of husbandry and slaughter They are substitutes of the actual sacrificial offering performed by the descendants. This theme also runs through the reliefs and stelae from the necropolises of Memphis, Abydos and Thebes covering the epochs from the old kingdom to the New Kingdom.

Catalog: Abusir, Manufer (tomb) AM 1108
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Neues Museum, Germany
Text: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSCKS2du2Sw Additional text: © Card at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, http://www.smb-digital.de/




img_2349closeupsm
Sixth Dynasty: 2 345 BC - 2 181 BC

The tomb of Manufer, circa 2 335 BC


In this closeup of part of the tomb wall above, we can see both the methods used for the initial mapping out of the images, never actually completed in this case, but with the dark lines used to show the basics of the final carving still visible on the left, as well as the finished carving on the right, showing a cow being cut up ready for sacrifice to the gods.


Above the man on the right holding up what may be a sacrificial knife, we see first a hand, a common icon, but above that is a rod with a curve or hook on each end. This is identical to a tool called a gambrel used in rural Australia when a lamb is prepared for the table. The legs of the beast are slit between the two lower bones, the tool is inserted, attached to a rope, and the animal is then suspended from a convenient tree branch or the rafters of a shed, to make 'dressing' (the removal of the internal organs) and skinning very much easier. These workers, however, seem to be completing the whole task on the abattoir floor.

Catalog: Abusir, Manufer (tomb) AM 1108
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Neues Museum, Germany




img_2350_2351_2352wall
Sixth Dynasty: 2 345 BC - 2 181 BC

The tomb of Manufer, circa 2 335 BC


Panorama of part of the wall of the Manufer tomb.

Waterfowl and cattle feature prominently in this section, and were both obviously of great importance to the people.

Catalog: Abusir, Manufer (tomb) AM 1108
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Neues Museum, Germany



qubbet el hawa
Qubbet el-Hawa is a site of a group of Rock-cut tombs known as the Princes' Tomb on the west side of the Nile, opposite Aswan. The Princes' Tombs date mainly from the Old Kingdom which provide important details of the lives of officials at this time - including the tomb of Harkhuf, a governor of Upper Egypt under the pharaoh Merenre I, third king of the 6th Dynasty. There are a few later tombs, from the Middle Kingdom and New Kingdom.

Between 1959 and 1984, Investigation and excavations at Qubbet el-Hawa were conducted by the Egyptological Seminar of the University of Bonn under the direction of Professor Elmar Edel (1914-1997) in more than 20 campaigns. The finds were given the abbreviation QH for Qubbet el-Hawa and numbered consecutively. The finds of more than 1000 artefacts from a total of 25 graves were shipped to Bonn. Today, the Ägyptische Museum der Universität Bonn has the world's biggest collection of objects from this necropolis outside Egypt.

Photo: Karen Green
Permission: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license
Text: Ägyptische Museum der Universität Bonn, Wikipedia




qubbet el hawa




Plan of the Qubbet el-Hawa site.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Ägyptische Museum der Universität Bonn




qubbet el hawa



Plan of a gravesite at Qubbet el-Hawa.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Ägyptische Museum der Universität Bonn




beads
Sixth Dynasty: 2 345 BC - 2 181 BC.

Beads


Qubbet el-Hawa, QH 25, Shaft III, Coffin Chamber ß: Burial of a 7-year-old boy.

Painted clay, Faience.

Old Kingdom, Sixth Dynasty, circa 2 300 BC

Catalog: 'Various numbers', (not detailed on the display)
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Ägyptische Museum der Universität Bonn







Jujubier
Sixth Dynasty: 2 345 BC - 2 181 BC.

Statuette of a man


Statuette of a man in Jujubier wood, Ziziphus jujuba

Circa 2 300 BC.

Catalog: E 10484
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée du Louvre
Text: © Musée du Louvre




Seated figure of Hetepne Seated figure of Hetepne
Sixth Dynasty: 2 345 BC - 2 181 BC.

Hetepni


Seated statue of the chamberlain of the king, Hetepni.

Painted limestone, circa 2 200 BC.

Catalog: AM 34428
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Neues Museum, Germany
Text: © Card at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin




Bead Necklace
Sixth Dynasty: 2 345 BC - 2 181 BC.

Bead Necklace

Necklace of beads of carnelian, circa 2 200 BC

Catalog: Excavations at Dara, E 25216
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée du Louvre




Bead Necklace
Sixth Dynasty: 2 345 BC - 2 181 BC.

Bead Necklace

Necklace of faience, circa 2 200 BC

Catalog: Excavations at Dara, E 17284 - E 17290
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée du Louvre




False-Door Stelae of the Old Kingdom

Towards the end of the Old Kingdom, the decoration of the tombs, more and more often made of mudbrick, was slowly reduced to a very few stone elements. Both of these reliefs (1) were originally inserted into narrow door niches in the eastern exterior wall of the tomb building of Eldest of the House Meni; the round beam just over the 'door' has survived. In a cramped space, small-scale scenes show Meni enjoying a boat trip with his family, with offering-bearers and the grinding of grain. The inscription on the left-hand relief incorporates a formula to repel tomb desecrators.

stela stela


Sixth Dynasty: 2 345 BC - 2 181 BC.

Stela of Meni


Fragments from the false-door stela of Meni.

Circa 2 200 BC.

Catalog: limestone, Gizeh, GL 24a - 24b
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München




stela
Sixth Dynasty: 2 345 BC - 2 181 BC.

False-door stela of Merit-itet-Teti

Equally characteristic for the late Old Kingdom is an extremely narrow door with multiple nested embrasures shown here, circa 2 340 BC.

Catalog: limestone, Sakkara, GL 108
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München








The Seventh and Eighth Dynasties

2 181 BC - 2 160 BC

The Seventh and Eighth Dynasties of ancient Egypt (notated Dynasties VII and VIII) are often combined together and regroup a line of poorly known short-lived pharaohs reigning in the early 22nd century BC, a troubled time referred to as the very end of the Old Kingdom or the beginning of the First Intermediate Period, depending on the scholar.

An important resource for dating the Dynasties of Egypt is what is known as the 'Turin Canon'. The Turin Canon is a list of kings written in hieratic script on a papyrus which dates to the reign of Ramesses II (1 290 - 1 224 BC. It is now housed in the Egyptian Museum in Turin, Italy. It contains some information which is also found in Manetho, giving the name of Menes as the first king of Egypt, and listing the gods and demigods as the rulers of the Predynastic Period. It supplies the complete years of each king's reign and any additional months and days, but since only fragments of the papyrus have survived, only 80 - 90 of the total of royal names are preserved.

Text above: David (2002)

Name Other names
or Identities
Attested by Burial Years Dates
Menkare   Possibly attested by a relief
from the tomb of Queen Neit
     
Neferkare II          
Neferkare Neby     Planned or started a pyramid
'Neferkare Neby is Enduring of Life',
possibly at Saqqara
   
Djedkare Shemai          
Neferkare Khendu          
Merenhor          
Neferkamin          
Nikare   Attested by the Abydos King List
and possibly by a cylinder seal
     
Neferkare Tereru          
Neferkahor   Attested by a cylinder seal      
Neferkare Pepiseneb       ≥1 (Turin Canon)  
Neferkamin Anu         - 2 170 BC
Qakare Ibi     Pyramid at Saqqara Two years, one month, one day 2 169 BC - 2 168 BC
Neferkaure   Date attested by a decree concerning the temple of Min   four years, two months 2 167 BC - 2 164 BC
Khwiwihepu Neferkauhor   Date attested by 8 decrees re the temple of Min, and an inscription in the tomb of the vizier Shemay   two years, one month, one day 2 163 BC - 2 162 BC
Neferirkare   Date attested by a decree re temple of Min, if he is identical to either or both Horus Demedjibtawy or Wadjkare   one and a half years 2 161 BC - 2 160 BC


Table of Seventh/Eighth Dynasty Rulers, adapted from various sources, including Wikipedia.






The Ninth Dynasty

2 160 BC - 2 130 BC

The Ninth Dynasty of ancient Egypt (sometimes notated Dynasty IX) is often combined with 7th, 8th, 10th and early 11th Dynasties under the group title First Intermediate Period. The dynasty that seems to have supplanted the 8th Dynasty is extremely obscure. The takeover by the rulers of Herakleopolis was violent and is reflected in Manetho's description of Achthoes, the founder of the dynasty, as 'more terrible than his predecessors', who 'wrought evil things for those in all Egypt'.

The 9th Dynasty was founded at Herakleopolis Magna, and the 10th Dynasty continued there. At this time Egypt was not unified, and there is some overlap between these and other local dynasties. The Turin Canon lists eighteen kings for this royal line, but their names are damaged, unidentifiable, or lost.



Above text: Wikipedia

Note that in the table below, a nomarch is the governor of an Ancient Egyptian nome, or a subnational administrative division of ancient Egypt. This is the Greek term, the Ancient Egyptian term was sepat.

Manetho was an historian of Egypt. Manetho is believed to have authored the Aegyptiaca of Manetho, or Manetho's Egyptian History, at the request of Ptolemy II Philadelphus. The work is of great interest to Egyptologists for evidence of the chronology of the reigns of the ancient pharaohs.


Name Comments
Meryibre Khety Horus name Meryibtawy, and Manetho's Achthoes, a nomarch who proclaimed himself pharaoh
Name lost  
Neferkare VII Might be the Kaneferre mentioned in the tomb of the nomarch Ankhtifi
Setut  
Name lost  
Mery(...)  
Shed(...)  
H(...)  
(three names lost)  
User(...)  


Table of Ninth Dynasty Rulers, adapted from various sources, including Wikipedia.


copper container copper brazier



Ninth Dynasty: 2 160 BC - 2 130 BC

Copper Container

Copper container with Meryibre Khety's royal titulary. Paris, Louvre. Some sources identify this as a brazier.

Height 5 cm, length 16 cm, depth 13 cm.

Catalog: E 10501
Photo (left): Guillaume Blanchard
Permission: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Photo (right): © Musée du Louvre
Source: Original, Musée du Louvre
Text: © Musée du Louvre, Wikipedia








The Tenth Dynasty

2 130 BC - 2 040 BC

The 9th Dynasty was founded at Herakleopolis Magna, and the 10th Dynasty continued there. At this time Egypt was not unified, and there is some overlap between these and other local dynasties. The Turin Canon lists eighteen kings for this royal line, but their names are damaged, unidentifiable, or lost.


Name Comments
Meryhathor Existence doubtful, known from a damaged graffito at Hatnub
Neferkare VIII Might be the Kaneferre mentioned in the tomb of the nomarch Ankhtifi
Wahkare Khety III May be the author of the famous Teaching for King Merikare.
The cartouches of Wahkare Khety were found on the outer coffin of the steward Nefri, (Cairo CG 28088)
Merykare Main opponent of the Theban pharaoh Mentuhotep II
(name lost) Successor of Merykare, lasted only a few months


Table of Tenth Dynasty Rulers, adapted from various sources, including Wikipedia.


nefri steward
Tenth Dynasty: 2 130 BC - 2 040 BC

Outer coffin of the steward Nefri


Wooden coffin of the ancient Egyptian steward Nefri. For unknown reasons, the cartouches of the earlier pharaoh Wahkare Khety of the 9th-10th Dynasty were painted on it in place of Nefri's name. From Deir el-Bersha, 12th Dynasty, Middle Kingdom, now in Cairo (CG 28088).


Catalog: Cairo CG 28088
Photo: Pierre Lacau
Permission: Public Domain
Source: Original, Musée du Louvre
Text: Wikipedia




green hippo
Glazed composition hippopotamus, provenance unrecorded.

Middle Kingdom, about 2055 BC - 1650 BC.

The destructive character of the hippopotamus led it to be regarded as a hostile force by the Egyptians. This model, decorated with marsh plants, including lotus patterns in black, evokes the pleasures and dangers of the marshland. It was probably placed in a tomb, its legs (now restored) possibly deliberately broken off to render it harmless to the deceased person.

Catalog: EA 35004
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at museum display, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0








The Eleventh Dynasty: 2 025 BC - 1 991 BC

The Eleventh Dynasty of ancient Egypt (notated Dynasty XI) is a well attested group of rulers, whose earlier members before Mentuhotep II are grouped with the four preceding dynasties to form the First Intermediate Period, while the later members are considered part of the Middle Kingdom. They all ruled from Thebes. The relative chronology of the 11th Dynasty is well established by contemporary attestations and, except for count Intef and Mentuhotep IV, by the Turin canon.


Name Personal Name Consort Burial Years Dates Comments
Intef the Elder           Iry-Pat, 'the Count', probably the same as 'Intef, son of Iku'. Theban nomarch serving an unnamed king
Mentuhotep I Tepya Neferu I     2 134 BC - Tepy-a, 'the ancestor'
Intef I Sehertaway   El-Tarif, Thebes    - 2 118 BC Son of Mentuhotep I
Intef II Wahankh   El-Tarif, Thebes 49 2 118 BC - 2 069 BC Brother of Intef I
Intef III Nakhtnebtepnefer Iah (queen) El-Tarif, Thebes 8 2 069 BC - 2 061 BC Brother of Intef I
Nebhepetre
Mentuhotep II
Smatawy Tem, Neferu II, Ashayet
Henhenet, Kawit,
Kemsit, Sadeh
Deir el-Bahari 51 2 061 BC - 2 010 BC Son of Intef III and Iah.
Reunifies Egypt, starting the Middle Kingdom


Table of Eleventh Dynasty Rulers, adapted from various sources, including Wikipedia.


magician magician
Eleventh Dynasty: 2 345 BC - 2 181 BC.

Hétépi, chief of the magicians.


Height 430 mm, length 183 mm, width 381 mm.

Circa 2 000 BC, the end of the 11th Dynasty.

Coniferous wood, acacia, and ficus were used in its construction.

Catalog: Sully, Rez-de-chaussée, Salle18, E 123
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée du Louvre
Text: © Musée du Louvre




model brewing butchery
Eleventh Dynasty: 2 025 BC - 1 991 BC

Broad collar of faience beads

Late 11th Dynasty, about 2000 BC, from Deir el-Bahri (Thebes / Luxor), funerary monument of King Mentuhotep II, tomb 3, width 240 mm, length 416 mm, diameter 183 mm

Items of jewellery, placed on the mummy, also provided magical protection. Some were personal possessions, others were made specifically for the tomb, and were often flimsy since they were not intended to be worn by the living.


An important category of funerary jewellery is that of collars. The wesekh, or 'broad' collar conferred protection on the deceased, the terminals are often in the form of falcon heads. This was found in the tomb of a female member of the court of King Mentuhotep II.

This 'wesekh' consists of five rows of beads, two semicircular terminals and seven mummiform pendants, all of glazed composition. Four of the rows are of vertically strung cylindrical beads connected only at the ends. The longer beads are in the centre of the collar, the shorter ones at the sides. The top row is of white glazed composition, the second of bright-blue, the third of white and the outermost row of purplish glazed composition. The last colour, not common until the Eighteenth Dynasty is produced from manganese oxide.

The fifth, topmost, row is composed of a single string of bright-blue and white cylinder beads strung lengthwise. In the centre of each of the five rows is a short loop of bright-blue glazed composition disc beads. The seven bright-blue glazed composition mummiform pendants are attached to the bottom row of beads. The two bright-blue semicircular terminals are undecorated. Each has a ridge along the underside which is pierced by six holes through which the threads holding the rows of beads are knotted.

Catalog: EA40928
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at museum display, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




inteftheeldersm
Eleventh Dynasty: 2 025 BC - 1 991 BC

Stele of Prince Intef

False-door shaped stele of prince Intef, nomarch of Thebes, here depicted receiving offerings from his servants.

Limestone, Height 104 cm, from Dra Abu el-Naga, proto-11th dynasty, First intermediate period. Cairo, Egyptian Museum

Catalog: Egyptian Museum CG 20009.

Photo: Gaston Maspero, 1914
Permission: Public Domain
Source: Original, Cairo Museum




beaded dress on black model beaded dress on black model beaded dress on black model


beaded dress on black model
Date uncertain: 2 033 BC - 1069 BC

Body of a goddess

The Egyptians used an alloy of copper and tin (bronze) which is easier to melt and harder than pure copper ore. Egyptian bronzes also contain lead, which lowers the melting temperature. Some bronzes have a black patina that highlights the gold inlays.

Gold is not uncommon in the desert, east of the Nile, in Egypt and Nubia. Electrum, a natural alloy of gold and silver also occurs. The 'black bronzes' are special alloys (copper, silver, gold) whose patina highlights the incrustations of metals in contrasting colours.

This inlay of yellow gold threads and red gold 'rivets', only visible in the full size images ( click on any image to zoom in ), imitates bead netting.

Height 12 cm.

Catalog: Sully, salle 7, E 27430
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée du Louvre
Text: © Musée du Louvre




model of a boat
Date uncertain: 2 033 BC - 1 710 BC (Middle Kingdom)

Model of a boat

This wooden model of a boat is from the Middle Kingdom, 2 033 BC - 1 710 BC.

Height 116 mm, length 503 mm, thickness 87 mm.


The decoration and the accessories for this object have disappeared.

Catalog: Sully, Rez-de-chaussée, Le Nil, Salle 3, E 5539
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée du Louvre
Text: © Musée du Louvre




magic baton in ivory
Magic Baton in ivory

Date uncertain: 2 033 BC - 1 710 BC (Middle Kingdom)

Carved into incisor of a hippopotamus, this stick is engraved with real or fantastic animals and demons.

On the reverse a text, shown in the reflection of the mirror below the object, is translated as: 'I bring the protection of life to the lady Mersenebès.'


Length 161 mm, width 60 mm, thickness 9 mm.

Catalog: Sully, Rez-de-chaussée, Les dieux et la magie, Salle 18, Vitrine 2: La magie, E 3614
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée du Louvre
Text: © Musée du Louvre




magic baton in ivory
Magic Baton in ivory

Date uncertain: 2 033 BC - 1 710 BC (Middle Kingdom)


Carved into incisor of a hippopotamus, this stick is engraved with real or fantastic animals and demons.

Catalog: Sully, Rez-de-chaussée, Les dieux et la magie, Salle 18, Vitrine 2: La magie, AF 6447
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée du Louvre
Text: © Musée du Louvre




magic baton in ivory
Magic Baton in ivory

Date uncertain: 2 033 BC - 1 710 BC (Middle Kingdom)


Carved into incisor of a hippopotamus, this stick is engraved with fantastic animals and demons.


Catalog: Sully, Rez-de-chaussée, Les dieux et la magie, Salle 18, Vitrine 2: La magie
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée du Louvre
Text: © Musée du Louvre




magic baton element
Part of a Magic Baton

Date uncertain: 2 033 BC - 1 710 BC (Middle Kingdom)


Material: Steatite, formerly enamelled.

Height 21 mm, length 62 mm, width 22 mm.


Catalog: Sully, Rez-de-chaussée, Les dieux et la magie, Salle 18, Vitrine 2: La magie, E 9940
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée du Louvre
Text: © Musée du Louvre




wax figures
Two female figures in wax, used in Magic

Eleventh - Twelfth Dynasty: Circa 2 000 BC - 1 900 BC (Middle Kingdom)


Height 227 mm (upper figure).


Catalog: Sully, Rez-de-chaussée, Les dieux et la magie, Salle 18, Vitrine 2: La magie, (upper figure) E 27250
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée du Louvre
Text: © Musée du Louvre




Dog devouring a man
Dog devouring a man, used in Magic

Date very uncertain, possibly: 2 033 BC - 1 710 BC (Middle Kingdom)


Figurine of enchantment: dog devouring a man.

Wax and linen, length 71 mm, height 37 mm.


Catalog: Sully, Rez-de-chaussée, Les dieux et la magie, Salle 18, Vitrine 2: La magie, (upper figure) E 27079
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée du Louvre
Text: © Musée du Louvre




bound prisoner
A bound prisoner

Date uncertain: 2 033 BC - 1 710 BC (Middle Kingdom)


Statuette of enchantment: a bound prisoner.

Material: alabaster

Height 107 mm, length 46 mm, thickness 26 mm.

Catalog: Sully, Rez-de-chaussée, Les dieux et la magie, Salle 18, Vitrine 2: La magie, E 27691
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée du Louvre
Text: © Musée du Louvre




Magic tablet with seven Wadjet eyes
Magic tablet

Date uncertain: 2 033 BC - 1 710 BC (Middle Kingdom)


Magic tablet with seven Wadjet eyes, in faience. The Eye of Horus is an ancient Egyptian symbol of protection, royal power and good health. The eye is personified in the goddess Wadjet

Length 92 mm, width 67 mm, thickness 14 mm.

One of the formulas of the Texts of the Sarcophagi (Coffin Texts) reads: 'on the drawing of seven Wadjet eyes, washed in beer and natron, and drunk.'


The Coffin Texts are a collection of ancient Egyptian funerary spells written on coffins and other objects beginning in the First Intermediate Period. They are partially derived from the earlier Pyramid Texts, reserved for royal use only, but contain substantial new material related to everyday desires, indicating a new target audience of common people. Ordinary Egyptians who could afford a coffin had access to these funerary spells and the pharaoh no longer had exclusive rights to an afterlife.

Catalog: Sully, Rez-de-chaussée, Les dieux et la magie, Salle 18, Vitrine 2: La magie, E 17358
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée du Louvre
Text: © Musée du Louvre, Wikipedia




sebekhetepi outer coffin
Eleventh Dynasty: 2 025 BC - 1 991 BC

Coffin of Sebekhetepi

This massive outer coffin of Sebekhetepi, also listed as Sobekhotep, circa 2040 BC - 1750 BC, is constructed from sycomore fig, a native Egyptian timber widely used for the making of objects for the tomb. The sparsely decorated exterior is inscribed with formulae requesting offerings from the gods Osiris and Anubis. A pair of eyes painted on the long side which faced east in the tomb enabled the dead man to look out towards the rising sun. ( note that this view shows the opposite, western side - Don ) The inner surfaces of the coffin are also painted with friezes of offerings and inscriptions.


Height 864 mm, width 635 mm, length 2038 mm.

Catalog: 41571
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




sebekhetepi outer coffin
Eleventh Dynasty: 2 025 BC - 1 991 BC

Coffin of Sebekhetepi

The outer coffin of Sebekhetepi is constructed from sycomore fig, a type of wood which was locally available. It is used extensively throughout this funerary equipment. Unlike other outer coffins, where the decoration is usually juxtaposed with the plain wood, the exterior of the Sebekhetepi's coffin is painted yellow. In ancient Egypt yellow was associated with the sun, and a substitute for gold.


The main features of the external decoration are the border in red, blue-green and white, and the wedjat eyes. These eyes were placed on one of the long sides of the coffin, which would have faced east. This was so that the deceased, placed on his side within the coffin, could watch the sun rise. The inscriptions are in pale blue, a colour often chosen for hieroglyphs, against a white background. They consist of the request for offerings from the funerary gods Osiris and Anubis, typical of the coffins of the Middle Kingdom (about 2040 BC - 1750 BC).

Catalog: 41571
Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: © https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/outer-coffin-of-sebekhetepi/cAF-9XfxmLucxg?hl=en




sebekhetepi outer coffin
Eleventh Dynasty: 2 025 BC - 1 991 BC

Outer coffin of Sebekhetepi

The decoration of the interior is also austere. It consists of friezes of offerings, and inscriptions taken from the Coffin Texts. However, it has no maps of the Underworld, which appear on the outer coffin of Gua (also in The British Museum, see below in the section on the Twelfth Dynasty).

Catalog: 41571
Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: © https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/outer-coffin-of-sebekhetepi/cAF-9XfxmLucxg?hl=en




sebekhetepi inner coffin
Eleventh Dynasty: 2 025 BC - 1 991 BC

Inner coffin of Sebekhetepi

Sebekhetepi's inner coffin is of finer construction than the outer case, and is constructed from the more expensive cedarwood, which was pre-eminent among imported timbers used by the Egyptians. The exterior is decorated with a pair of eyes and with inscriptions, which, like those of the outer coffin, request offerings from Osiris and Anubis. Similar texts are painted on the interior, together with images of offerings.


Height 458 mm, width 406 mm, length 1873 mm.

Catalog: 41572
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




sebekhetepi outer coffin
Eleventh Dynasty: 2 025 BC - 1 991 BC

Lid of the inner Coffin of Sebekhetepi

The lid of the inner coffin of Sebekhetepi, seen from above, and the end of the outer coffin.

Catalog: 41572
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum




sebekhetepi outer coffin
Eleventh Dynasty: 2 025 BC - 1 991 BC

Coffin of Sebekhetepi

Like many wealthy individuals of the Middle Kingdom (circa 2040 BC - 1750 BC), Sebekhetepi was buried in two rectangular coffins. The inner coffin was made of imported cedarwood, which was of much higher quality than that of local trees. The palm tree, the most common in Egypt, does not consist of wood as such, but coarse fibres, which are unsuitable for carpentry.


The decoration of the exterior of the coffin is cut into the wood, and painted. The inscriptions running down the centre of the lid and around the top of the case are written in blue on a white band. The edges of the lid and corners of the case are decorated with long striped bands separated by perpendicular short bands in the same colours. The large wedjat eyes on one side are similarly in blue against a white background, surrounded by a multicoloured border. These enabled the mummy, placed on its side so it faces the wedjat eyes, to see out of the coffin. The inside of the coffin is decorated with representations of offerings.

Catalog: EA41572
Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: © https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/outer-coffin-of-sebekhetepi/cAF-9XfxmLucxg?hl=en




sebekhetepi sandals sebekhetepi sandals
Eleventh Dynasty: 2 025 BC - 1 991 BC

Sandals of Sebekhetepi

These sandals, 253 mm long, were found lying on the lid of the inner coffin, above the feet of the corpse. They are made of cedar wood with leather straps, coated with white plaster.

This delicate constructional technique shows that they could not have been worn in life, and hence were made specifically for the tomb.


Catalog: 41578
Photo (left): Don Hitchcock 2015
Photo (right) © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card, British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




sebekhetepi headrest
Eleventh Dynasty: 2 025 BC - 1 991 BC

Headrest of Sebekhetepi

Headrest found in the tomb of Sebekhetepi. It is constructed of sycomore fig, and is made of three parts joined together.

Catalog: 41579
Photo (left): Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card, British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




sebekhetepi linen
Eleventh Dynasty: 2 025 BC - 1 991 BC

Linen sheet of Sebekhetepi

This large fringed sheet of linen was probably originally part of the household linen of Sebekhetepi's family. Linen items were sometimes included in burials, for use in the Afterlife. The fact that these are often threadbare and darned suggests that they had been heavily used before being placed in the tomb.

Few examples of textiles have been found in a domestic setting; most come from burials, either for use in the Afterlife, or torn up and used as wrappings on the mummy. Fragments of cloth can provide a great deal of information. Some bandages have been torn from loincloths, tunics and other items of clothing. One individual was even wrapped in a torn-up sail.


Catalog: 41580
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Text: http://www.bmimages.com/results.asp?image=00032897001, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum




sebekhetepi linen
Eleventh Dynasty: 2 025 BC - 1 991 BC

Linen sheet of Sebekhetepi

The fabric is woven of relatively coarse threads, which would not have been suitable for most items of clothing or ritual cloth. The cloth used in temples and for the garments of the king were of the finest weave.

The fringe is sewn on to the fabric, rather than being the loose warp threads, which are hemmed. The brown discolouration is probably staining from the cellulose in the flax plant, which bonded the fibres together so that it could be spun into thread.

Width 105 cm, length 137 cm.


Catalog: 41580
Photo: Google Arts and Culture Project, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Text: http://www.bmimages.com/results.asp?image=00032897001, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum




model brewing butchery
Eleventh Dynasty: 2 025 BC - 1 991 BC

Wooden model from the tomb of Sebekhetepi

Painted wooden model representing baking, brewing, and butchery, from the tomb of Sebekhetepi at Beni Hasan, Middle Kingdom, 2125-1795 BC.

A group of wooden servant figures, originally dressed in miniature linen garments, are shown engaged in the preparation of food and drink for the deceased. A man pounds grain in a mortar, while a squatting woman tends the bread oven, and a second woman grinds grain on a quern.


Catalog: EA41576
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at museum display © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


model brewing butchery
Eleventh Dynasty: 2 025 BC - 1 991 BC

Wooden model from the tomb of Sebekhetepi

One man strains mash into a vat to make beer, while another carries two jars suspended from a yoke. Lastly, a butcher slaughters a trussed ox with a knife.


Catalog: EA41576
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at museum display © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




model brewing butchery
Eleventh Dynasty: 2 025 BC - 1 991 BC

Wooden model from the tomb of Sebekhetepi

Six figures engaged in brewing and butchering from tomb 723 of Sebekhetepi at Beni Hasan, Middle Kingdom, 2125-1795 BC.

From the Middle Kingdom period.


Dimensions 496 mm x 243 mm.

Catalog: EA41576
Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Le chef des magiciens Hétépi vers 2000 avant J.-C. (fin 11e dynastie) bois de conifère, d'acacia et de ficus H. : 43 cm. ; L. : 18,30 cm. ; Pr. : 38,10 cm. Département des Antiquités égyptiennes bois de conifer, acacia, ficus E 123 Source: Original, Musée du Louvre
Text: Wikipedia, Musée du Louvre



The Twelfth Dynasty

1 991 BC - 1 802 BC


Name Horus (Throne) Name Consort Burial Years Dates Comments
Amenemhat I Sehetepibre Neferitatjenen Pyramid of Amenemhat I 29 1 991 BC - 1 962 BC Amenemhat I made Senusret his co-regent (around the twentieth year of his reign), and was later assassinated
Senusret I Kheperkare Neferu III Pyramid of Senusret I 45 1 971 BC - 1 926 BC Senusret was with his army fighting Libyans when his father was assassinated, and had to return quickly in order to ensure his succession
Amenemhat II Nubkhaure Kaneferu
Keminub
White Pyramid 34 1 929 BC - 1 895 BC  
Senusret II Khakheperre Khenemetneferhedjet I
Neferet II
Itaweret
Khnemet
Pyramid at El-Lahun 19 1 897 BC - 1 878 BC  
Senusret III
(also known as
Sesostris III)
Khakhaure Meretseger
Neferthenut
Khnemetneferhedjet II
Sithathoriunet
Pyramid at Dahshur 39 1 878 BC - 1 839 BC  
Amenemhat III Nimaatre Aat
Hetepi
Khnemetneferhedjet III
Black Pyramid
Pyramid at Hawara
46 1 860 BC - 1 814 BC  
Amenemhat IV Maakherure   Southern Mazghuna Pyramid
Pyramid at Hawara
9 1 815 BC - 1 806 BC  
Queen Sobekneferu Sobekkare   Northern Mazghuna Pyramid 4 1 806 BC - 1 802 BC  


Table of Twelfth Dynasty Rulers, adapted from various sources, including Wikipedia.




Ankhef
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Ankhef

Painted wooden coffin and mummy (not on display) of Ankhef.

Ankhef's coffin is made of tamarisk wood. The decoration includes hieroglyphic texts requesting funerary offerings, and a pair of eyes to enable the dead man to look towards the east. Squatting figures at the ends of the coffin represent the four sons of Horus, whose duty was to protect the internal organs. Coffins of this type are among the first to include such representations of gods among their decoration.


Catalog: EA46631
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at museum display © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Ankhef
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Ankhef

Ankhef was a mature adult at the time of his death. His teeth were well worn, and he suffered from osteoarthritis in the spine and left hip. The mummy originally lay in the coffin on his left side, the face aligned with the eyes painted on the coffin. A wooden headrest was placed inside the coffin to support the head.

Catalog: EA46631
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at museum display © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Ankhef
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Ankhef

The mummy is wrapped in strips and sheets of linen and a painted cartonnage mask has been placed over the head. This presents an idealised image of the dead man and, in the fashion of the early Middle Kingdom, a beard and moustache are depicted. The soft tissues of the body have not survived, and X-rays show that the bones are in disorder.

Aged 45 or upwards, this man suffered from osteo-arthritis of the spine and the left hip. The absence of lines of arrested growth suggests a healthy childhood. All soft tissues have vanished and the disorganisation of the skeleton is due to the disappearance of the ligaments, capsules, etc.

Skull, Thorax, Spinal Column, and Abdomen - These are completely disorganised. The lower jaw has been dislocated and is almost edentulous. One of the bones of the skull is in the region of the left iliac fossa. All the ribs are dislocated but not fractured. Many of the vertebrae appear to be missing but two lumbar vertebrae are still articulated. These show evidence of osteo-arthritis with gross lipping. Many loose teeth with worn caps lie amongst the bones. No evidence of viscera, packing material, or amulets. Complete dislocation of the sacrum and pubic symphysis. Well-marked osteo-arthritic changes involve the left hip. No fractures seen.


Arms - Extended, dislocated at the shoulder and elbow joints. Hands, with extended fingers, in pubic region. No fractures seen.Legs - The bones appear healthy and are free from fractures and lines of arrested growth. Both ankles are dislocated and the right os calcis is lying free at the foot end of the coffin.The mummy, lying in a deep, rectangular wooden coffin with painted gesso including hieroglyphic text, is wrapped in fine cloth, and the head and thorax are covered by a painted cartonnage mask and breast plate. A wooden headrest is placed by the side of the head.

Catalog: EA46631
Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Ankhef
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Bow and arrows, and a walking stick.

These were found on the lid of the coffin. The bow, 1691 mm long, is made from acacia. The arrows are made of reeds, and are circa 800 mm long.

( the arrows have 'chisel' tips, and were designed specifically for hunting birds in the marshes bordering the Nile - Don )

Catalog: (bow and arrows) EA47570
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0



flint points

Similar arrow tips to those above, known as trapezoid microliths, were used by ice age hunters in Denmark for hunting birds and small game.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Københavns (Copenhagen) Museum, National Museum of Denmark




Ankhef
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Ankhef

Interior of tomb 9 at Asyut. Reconstruction by Claire Thorne, based on the excavation records of David Hogarth. The coffin of Ankhef stands in a small rock-cut chamber reached by a steeply inclined shaft. Some of the offering bowls from the upper chamber are displayed in this case, as is the model grain silo which stood on the lid of one of the undecorated coffins.

The mummy of Ankhef was discovered by D.G. Hogarth in 1907, in a small rock-cut tomb (no. 9) in the necropolis of the city of Asyut. The tomb was discovered undisturbed, and contained four burials. Two of these, in plain uninscribed coffins were place end to end behind a screen of plaster, brick and stone. A third undecorated coffin lay in the area immediately behind the door of the tomb. The coffin of Ankhef was positioned at the south-east corner of the tomb, concealed by a partition made from parts of old coffins. A stick and bow and arrows lay on the lid of the coffin. Pottery vessels had been laid on the floor in front of the partition, perhaps representing Ankhef's funerary offerings.


The bodies had been searched for valuables at the time of burial, as indicated by disturbed werappings and in the case of Ankhef the displacement of the headrest in the coffin. Evidence of theft was found in many of the undisturbed tombs in this cemetery, and was probably carried out by those responsible for the burial.

Original artwork: Claire Thorne
Rephotography: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Poster, British Museum © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0






Coffin of Gua
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Coffin of Gua


Eastern side of the rectangular wooden outer-coffin of Gua.

Exterior: recessed and painted Hieroglyphic text and eye-panel. Interior: painted text and representations of offerings on walls. Painted plan of Underworld on floor. Part of head-end wall fragmentary.

Length 2605 mm, width 920 mm


For fragment M4/DD/8:

Length 275 mm, width 50 mm , depth 70 mm, weight 174 grams.

Catalog: Deir el-Bersha, EA30839
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Coffin of Gua
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Coffin of Gua


Western side of the rectangular wooden outer-coffin of Gua.

Catalog: Deir el-Bersha, EA30839
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Coffin of Gua Coffin of Gua
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Coffin of Gua


The north facing head of the rectangular wooden outer-coffin of Gua.

( note in particular the small pair of eyes painted on the inside of the coffin at the place where the mummy would have been placed on its left side so that it could look to the east. It would serve at the very least as a reminder for those preparing the burial of which way around to place the mummy - Don )

Catalog: Deir el-Bersha, EA30839
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Coffin of Gua Coffin of Gua
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Coffin of Gua


Interior walls of the rectangular wooden outer-coffin of Gua, looking from the northern, head end.

Eastern wall shown in the left hand image, Western on the right.

Catalog: Deir el-Bersha, EA30839
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




The coffins of Gua
The outer and inner coffins are made from large pieces of cedar wood. This imported timber was of superior quality to the native Egyptian woods, and its use for the main components of the coffin was a sign of the high status of the owner.

The coffins are similarly decorated. A pair of eyes on the east side enabled the dead man to look towards the rising sun. The horizontal and vertical inscriptions on the exterior request offerings and invoke the protection of various gods. The omission of a plastered or painted background allowed the distinctive grain of the costly cedarwood to be displayed.

The inner sides of the coffins symbolically represent the walls of the tomb, and are densely covered with religious inscriptions and images. Below an offering formula in coloured hieroglyphs comes a frieze of objects to equip the deceased for the afterlife. A large painted false door on the east side acted as a magical portal to enable Gua's spirit to pass in and out. The remaining areas contain extracts from the Coffin Texts.

These assisted Gua in his passage to the afterlife, and included a self-contained composition known as the Book of Two Ways. The texts of the outer coffin include one of the earliest known examples of the spell to activate shabtis, the funerary figurines.
Text above from a poster at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Coffin of Gua models
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Servant of Gua


Painted and gessoed wooden female figure with basket of loaves and meat on head.

This statuette is made from a native timber, probably tamarisk, and represents a servant carrying food offerings for the owner of the tomb. The basket on her head is filled with loaves and cakes, and the head and foreleg of an ox. In her right hand she probably carried a bird, now lost.

Height 380 mm.

Catalog: Believed to be from the tomb of Gua, EA30716
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Coffin of Gua model
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Statue of Gua himself


Although this figure is uninscribed, the pose and the costume and the use of an expensive wood, imported cedar, indicate that it represents the owner of the tomb, in this case Gua himself. In smaller Middle Kingdom tombs, without funerary chapels, statuettes of this type placed inside the coffin served as the vehicle by which the ka of the deceased could receive food and drink.

Wooden tomb statue of a man. The arms, fronts of the feet, and base were made separately. Both of the fists were drilled to hold implements now lost, probably a 'sekhem' sceptre in the right hand, possibly another baton or a rolled cloth in the left. Though the statue may have been entirely painted, all that survives is black on the hair, black and white on the eyes, and white on the finger- and toenails. The nipples were indicated by the inlaying of tiny bits of darker wood. His short curly hairdo was particularly popular during the Eleventh and early Twelfth Dynasties, for both men and women. His long kilt may be meant to indicate maturity here, despite the youthful hairstyle and body.

Circa 1 985 BC - 1 878 BC, height 340 mm, length of plinth 136 mm, width 105 mm.

Catalog: Believed to be from the tomb of Gua, EA30715
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Coffin of Gua headrest
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Ivory headrest


The majority of headrests which have been found in tombs were made of wood or stone. Ivory specimens such as this one are very rare, and its fragility suggests that it was probably made specifically for the tomb. The two sides of the central support are carved in the shape of the Tit (the girdle of Isis) which symbolises the protection of the goddess.

Ivory head-rest. Open-work shaft in the form of two tjet-symbols ('Isis knots').


Height 155 mm, length 184 mm, width 67 mm, weight 545 grams.

Circa 1 985 BC - 1 878 BC,

Catalog: Believed to be from the tomb of Gua, EA30727
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Coffin of Gua butchering model
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Model of butchering


Wooden model of butchers preparing meat for the deceased with seven figures, painted red, black and white.

The group shows two slaughtered oxen which are being cut up by men with large knives. The leg of one ox is on the butchers block, were it is being jointed.

Width 254 mm, length: 435 mm.

Circa 1 985 BC - 1 878 BC,

Catalog: Believed to be from the tomb of Gua, EA30718
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Model boat



Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Model boat


This painted wooden model boat carries, besides its owner, a crew of six oarsmen, a pilot, and a group of five soldiers. Shields and staves are also stored amidships. The post in the centre of the hull may have been substituted for an original mast. The paddles and steering oar have also been lost. The construction of the model illustrates the selection of different woods by the carpenter according to the task in hand.

The cloaked statuette of the owner, the most prestigious in the group, is carefully carved from cedar wood, as are the two posts and one of the staves - small components for which a wood with fine grain was required. All other figures, and the hull of the craft, are made from the less expensive and more coarsely grained indigenous sycomore.

This is a wooden model boat with paddlers and soldiers. The hull is narrow and shallow with a sheer-line curving sharply upwards at the stern, where there is a raised block notched for the steering-oar. The hull is painted red and the deck white with the usual deck-plan in red, though owing to the fading of the paint it is not possible to record the details with certainty. There may have been six pairs of spaces, but whether there was a mast-space remains doubtful. The deck has been hollowed from the original block of wood to leave gunwales on each side, but is so steeply cambered that amidships the longitudinal centre-line of the deck is above the level of the gunwales, which merge into the fore- and after-decks.

These decks are slightly raised and not cambered. In the case of the after-deck the line of the gunwales is continued by shallow grooves cut in the deck. The fore-deck may once have been painted red all over, and had a centre strip of which there remain only the mark where it once lay and a single peg-hole. About 13 mm to 25 mm has been lost from the bows. The after-deck also was once painted red all over. There is no mast or rigging; whether it was lost or originally non-existent is not clear. The place where a mast would normally stand is taken by a stout wooden post. There is a steering-post aft. The post is painted red and is circular in section on a square base and grooved at the top.

Amidships, where normally a mast would stand, is a second steering-post which certainly is misplaced; it is possible that the maker of the model substituted this post for the mast, perhaps because he was out of stock of masts. This second post is octagonal on a square base. The two side faces of the octagon are rounded off at the top of the post, which is deeply grooved. It is painted white on the shaft, red at the top, and white in the groove. At the foot the white paint has been partly overlaid with red. On either side of the steering-block the stern is pierced by two holes of uncertain purpose which may possibly have held lashings to hold the steering-oar in the notch.

There is another small hole on the starboard side of the after-deck which may once have held a peg for the helmsman, and there are others on the main deck with the stumps of pegs in them, though it is not clear what purpose they served. Amidships is a curious erection made of two long shields which are painted to represent oxhide with the stitching on the edges marked by black spots. The straight edges at the bottom rest against the gunwales and the rounded tops lean inwards on a thick post of circular section which rises a little above them. Each shield has two holes in it, perhaps for holding a thong for carrying. The post is painted to represent a covering of oxhide with two rows of stitching on the after side, with red on the top. It rises from a wooden object shaped like a small boat with a raised central portion. Around the flat surface of this object are nine holes with short wooden sticks in them, and there is one more in the raised portion. It shows traces of red paint on a white base and the posts were red with black tips, though but little paint now survives.

In the stern is a hole for the peg which once secured the figure of the missing helmsman. Forward of the steering-post is a group of five soldiers, of whom the aftermost is facing to larboard (left) while the other four look in the general direction of the stern. They carry a small shield on the left arm, which is sharply bent at the elbow with the fist close to the shoulder; the right arm of the aftermost soldier is missing. The middle figure on the larboard side holds his left arm straight down with the hand a little in front of the leg; it holds a thin straight object which may be intended either for a staff or a javelin. His opposite number on the starboard side has a short straight piece of wood in his right hand.

These men wear black wigs and white skirts extending just below the knee and white tunics covering their sides and meeting on the chest and back, though only on the aftermost figure is this garment indicated clearly; on the others the white paint partly has fallen away, leaving the red skin-colour beneath.

Between the curious erection amidships and the 'mast' is a seated figure of some dignity and most careful workmanship. It represents a squatting man covered completely except for his head in a long white cloak concealing his arms and wearing a short black wig. Despite the fact that this figure is on a smaller scale than the soldiers and crew, its fine execution and the all-enveloping cloak, as well as the squatting attitude, indicate that this is the owner of the vessel. His unwarlike garb and attitude, as well as the smallness of the squad of soldiers, suggest that the latter are merely an escort of armed retainers accompanying a magnate on his travels, and that this is not a war-boat. The relatively small size and the fine work of the figure of the owner show that it was carved independently by a skilled and sensitive craftsman, whereas the personnel of the boat give the impression of being just good-quality stock figures.

Forward of the 'mast' sit three pairs of paddlers with their handless arms sloping out and down at an angle of 45°-50°. The attitude is rather that of rowers, but the fact that the figures face forward indicates that they are paddlers - unless the maker of the model has blundered. The figures are red with black wigs and white skirts, but the legs are cut off below the knee, as if to suggest that the lower parts of the legs are hidden within the hull. In the bows stands the pilot with his arms stretched down and slightly forward and his legs slightly apart, facing to starboard (right). The features of the crew are only roughly indicated, but all of them, escort as well as paddlers, have their eyes painted on.

Length 1392 mm, depth 76 mm, width 222 mm.

Circa 1 985 BC - 1 878 BC.

Catalog: Believed to be from the tomb of Gua, EA35293
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Coffin of Gua
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Coffin of Gua


On the left, the the south facing foot of the rectangular wooden outer-coffin of Gua.

On the right, Gua's canopic chest.

Wooden canopic chest of Gua of cubical shape with lid. Base supported on two wooden bars. Interior divided at low level by wooden partitions into four compartments for jars. Exterior has blue painted border at edges of box and lid. Sunk relief blue-painted hieroglyphic inscriptions on all external surfaces. Two crossing lines of text on lid. Sides have a horizontal line at the top and a vertical line down the middle. The chest contained four calcite canopic jars with painted wooden stoppers, each in the form of a human headed deity. Pale beige faces with black details and blue-painted wigs. Jars vary in shape from narrow to shouldered. Three retain remains of linen packages inside.

Height 530 mm, depth 550 mm, width 530 mm.

Catalog: Deir el-Bersha, EA30839, EA30838
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Coffin of Gua
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Canopic chest containing four jars


The internal organs of Gua's body were placed in four calcite jars with lids of painted wood. These in turn were stored in the tomb inside a cubic cedarwood chest, divided internally into four compartments. Three of the four jars retain their original contents. These consist of resin soaked linen packages, at least one of which contains the remains of an unidentified soft tissue.


The Canopic chests of this period closely resemble the rectangular coffins in form, construction and decoration. Symbolically, they served as coffins for the internal organs, which were preserved and wrapped as though they were miniature versions of the mummy. Divine protection for Gua's viscera is assured in the inscriptions on the four faces of the chest. These describe him as 'revered' by the four sons of Horus, and also by Isis, Nephthys, Neith, and Selkis. These four goddesses were believed to protect the sons of Horus, as a further assurance of the safety of the vulnerable organs.

Catalog: Deir el-Bersha, EA30838
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0






The Book of Two Ways
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

The Book of Two Ways - Map of the Netherworld

The Book of Two Ways

The rectangular wooden coffins from Bersha are a major source for the Coffin Texts, the main body of funerary literature used between about 2 000 BC and 1 600 BC. They are particularly notable for a distinct composition known to Egyptologists as the Book of Two Ways. The use of this text had probably spread to Bersha from the Residence cemeteries of Dahsur and Lisht.

This is a guide to the afterlife for the deceased, and includes the earliest known map of the netherworld. The map was usually painted on the floor of the coffin. The accompanying texts describe the inhabitants of the netherworld and provide instructions on how to avoid dangers and obstacles on the journey to the afterlife. Different versions of the Book of Two Ways were in use simultaneously, but the maps generally presented two paths consisting of earth and water.

In the version painted on the outer and inner coffins of Gua, the main goal of the deceased is to join the sun god Ra.





Mummification - Preserving the Body

poster on embalming poster on embalming


1. Washing - As soon as possible after death, the body was taken to the Tent of Purification, located close to the banks of the Nile, and was washed in a solution of natron in water.

2. Removal of internal organs - The brain was extracted via the nose, using a metal rod. A stone knife was used to make an incision in the left flank, through which the organs of the chest and abdomen, except for the heart, were removed. The organs were separately preserved.


poster on embalming poster on embalming


3. Drying - The chest and abdominal cavities were packed with bags of natron, a naturally-occurring compound of salts which absorbs fluids. Natron powder was packed around, beneath and on top of the body, which was left covered for about 40 days.

4. Packing - The skull was often plugged with linen or filled with resin and the chest cavity packed with woodshavings, linen, earth, or occasionally lichen. Sand, linen or mud was inserted under the skin to restore substance to the features.


poster on embalming poster on embalming


5. Anointing - The skin was coated with liquid plant resin to exclude moisture from the body.

6. - Wrapping - during wrapping the embalmers placed the limbs in the prescribed positions, and the body was wrapped in sheets and strips of linen, while prayers and magical spells were recited. Steps 4, 5, and 6 took another 30 days, making 70 days for the whole process.

Credits for the six photos and text above:
Photo: Poster, British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Rephotography: Don Hitchcock 2015
Text: Poster, British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0






Mummification - Methods and Belief Systems

The ancient Egyptians believed that preserving the body was crucial if the deceased was to have life after death. There are few records of how mummification was done. What is known is based mainly on accounts by Classical authors, and studies of the mummies themselves. The panels above explain the procedure as it was carried out in about 1 000 BC, the high point of Egyptian embalming.

After death, the body was taken to the ibu, or Tent of Purification, to be washed in a solution of natron in water (1). The antiseptic natron helped delay decomposition. Embalming took place at or near the tomb in the wabet (Place of Purification) or Per-nefer (House of Rejuvenation).

First, the internal organs were removed (2), the parts of the body which decayed most rapidly. The brain was usually extracted via the nose, and discarded. The other organs were removed through an incision in the left flank, and were set aside. Often these were interred separately in special Canopic containers. The heart remained, as it would be important in the judgement of the dead person before the gods.

The body was then dried out, to eliminate the possibility of bacterial activity and decay (3). The torso was filled with bags of natron and loose natron powder was packed around the corpse. It was left for about 40 days. This is the minimum time required for dessication of a body using this method.

After drying, the skull and chest cavities were filled (4). During the Twenty First Dynasty, and at other times, the liver, lungs, stomach and intestines were replaced inside the body, wrapped in separate linen packages. The body would have lost virtually all its fat, leaving the skin loose and wrinkled. Sometimes sand, linen or mud was inserted under the skin of the face and limbs to restore the shrunken features.

Resin was applied to the surface of the body (5), to exclude moisture and perhaps to confer divine status on the dead person. Before wrapping, artificial eyes were placed in the sockets, and finger and toe covers of gold or silver were put on. During wrapping (6) amulets, jewellery and sometimes a rolled funerary papyrus were placed on the body. As the mummy was wrapped in linen cloth, prayers and magical spells were recited. Steps four, five and six as in the diagrams above took another thirty days, making a total of seventy days for the whole process.
Text above: Poster, British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0



stela of Senusret I stela of Senusret I
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Stela of Senusret I

Red granite stela of Senusret I, 12th Dynasty, circa 1940 BC - 1950 BC, from Philae.

The scene at the top shows the Horus-name of the king between the figures of Khnum and Satet, deities of the First Cataract region.

Round-topped red granite stela; incised detail in two registers; upper: Horus-name of Senusret I between figures of Satis and Khnum; lower: seven rows of Hieroglyphic text.

Height 1092 mm, width 648 mm

Senwosret I (circa 1965 BC - 1920 BC) carried out a very active building programme all over Egypt. This stela stood in or near a chapel in Elephantine that he erected on Egypt's southern frontier. The chapel contained statues and offering tables, as well as decorated blocks. The stela was made of a slab of granite, roughly finished on the rear, indicating it may have been set into the wall of the chapel.


The stela shows the god Khnum offering life to the Horus name of the king, with Khnum's consort Satet, standing at the left. Khnum, Satet, and their daughter Anuket were the local deities of Elephantine and the region of the First Cataract. Below are the remains of six damaged lines of hieroglyphs.

The purpose of the stela, and the whole chapel, was to stress the presence and importance of Senwosret in the Elephantine area. It also emphasized his piety and the importance of his relationship with the deities of the region.

Catalog: EA963
Photo (left): Don Hitchcock 2015
Photo (right): Google Arts and Culture, https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Additional text: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/granite-stela-of-senwosret-i/8QEaVLW6KV-dng?hl=en




Physician Physician Physician


Physician
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Physician


Seated figure of the physician Sesheshen-sa-Hathor.

Granodiorite, circa 1 880 BC.

Catalog: Ezbet Rushdi, ÄS 5361 and ÄS 7212
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München




green head
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Pharaoh Amenemhat III


Upper half of a seated figure of Pharaoh Amenemhat III.

Ophicalcite, ophiolite or verde antique, the material of which this sculpture is made, is a serpentinite breccia popular since ancient times as a decorative facing stone. It is a dark, dull green, white-mottled (or white-veined) serpentine, mixed with calcite, dolomite, or magnesite, which takes a high polish.

Catalog: Fayum (?), ÄS 6762
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München




sphinx sphinx


sphinx
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Pharaoh Amenemhat III


Maned sphinx of Pharaoh Amenemhat III.

Catalog: Limestone, ÄS 7132
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München, Wikipedia




sphinx sphinx
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Pharaoh Senusret III, Khakaure, also known as Sesostris III.


Head from a sphinx of the pharaoh Sesostris III with youthful features.

Granite , circa 1870 BC.

Catalog: Granite, ÄS 7110
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München, Wikipedia




sphinx sphinx
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Pharaoh Senusret III, Khakaure, also known as Sesostris III.


Head from a statue of the pharaoh Sesostris III with aged features.

Quartzite , circa 1850 BC.

Catalog: Quartzite, ÄS 4857
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München, Wikipedia




Pakhetemhat
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Statuette of the woman Pakhetemhat.

Found during excavations at Antinoe, in the tomb of Pakhetemhat.

The cedar used in the statuette was imported to Egypt from the coasts of Syria and Lebanon, this trade occurring from 3 000 BC onwards.

Circa 1 900 BC.

Height 310 mm, width 70 mm, depth 147 mm.

Catalog: E 20576
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée du Louvre
Text: © Musée du Louvre




hes jar
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Hes-vase

A Hes-vase is a tall, slim, ritual vessel for libations.

( This appears to have been thrown in clay on a wheel, and fired to earthenware temperatures - Don )

Qurna, the site where this was found, is located on the West Bank of the River Nile opposite the modern city of Luxor in Egypt near the Theban Hills.

Catalog: Ceramic, Qurna, ÄS 5876, ÄS 4122
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München, Wikipedia




falcon god
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Falcon God

Limestone head of Horus, the falcon god, depicted here with human ears. The rest of the body is lost.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München, Wikipedia




Sopdu god
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Sopdu God

Quartzite head of the god Sopdu.

Circa 1 950 BC - 1 900 BC

Catalog: ÄS 7106
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München, Wikipedia




Models

In the Middle Kingdom, wooden models made up a number of individual figures, and depicting workshops, breweries, bakeries, slaughterhouses, ships, granaries and houses, accompanied the deceased in his tomb. They replaced the servant statuettes as well as the corresponding two dimensional images of the relief-decorated Old Kingdom tombs and were meant to guarantee the deceased's provisioning in foodstuffs and all objects of daily life.

Text above: © Ägyptischen Museum München

tomb models
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Cattle and cowherds.

Circa 1 950 BC

Catalog: ÄS 7144
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München, Wikipedia


tomb models
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Figures from various models.

Circa 1 900 BC

Catalog: ÄS 1565, ÄS 1566, ÄS 425,
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München, Wikipedia


tomb models
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Figures from a granary model.

Circa 1 900 BC

Catalog: ÄS 7258, ÄS 7259
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München, Wikipedia




Stelae of the Middle Kingdom

A stela's main function was to perpetuate the memory of the deceased in image and text. Next to formulaic prayers, stelae texts could also contain biographical notes on the donor, who was usually shown beside members of his family. Gods appear on stelae for the first time in the Middle Kingdom; the first to be depicted in a small pictorial section at the top of the stela were Osiris, god of resurrection and Lord of the Netherworld, and Anubis, the deceased's guide, in the form of a jackal. In their content and appearance, some Middle Kingdom stelae represent a continuation of the Old Kingdom false-door stelae.

stela
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Stela of Nofret

Stela of Nofret in the shape of a false-door stela.

Circa 1 900 BC.

Catalog: limestone, Memphis (?), GL 41
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München, Wikipedia




stela
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Stela of Iuseneb

Stela of Iuseneb, steward of the Fruit Cellar.

( note that the figures on this stela have been considerably deepened, with the base left unsmoothed after the chiselling. It may be that the figures were designed to be filled with, perhaps, faience, which was never done, or has disappeared since manufacture - Don )

Circa 1 900 BC.

Catalog: limestone, ÄS 36
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München, Wikipedia




stela
Eleventh/Twelfth Dynasty: 2 025 BC - 1 802 BC

Stela of Usekhu

Stela of the Overseer of the Cabinet, Usekhu

Circa 2 000 BC.

Catalog: limestone, Abydos, ÄS 33
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München, Wikipedia




stela
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Stela of Debi

Stela of Debi with his family, end of the 12th Dynasty.

Catalog: limestone, Memphis, GL WAF 21
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München, Wikipedia




stela
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Stela of Nefernay

Stela of Nefernay with his nurse and family, end of the 12th Dynasty.

Catalog: limestone, Memphis, GL WAF 34
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München, Wikipedia




Sepi coffin
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Cedarwood coffin of the army commander Sepi.

Middle to late 12th Dynasty, about 1850 BC - 1800 BC. From Deir el-Bersha, probably from the forecourt of the tomb of Djehutyhotep.

Sepi, like the physician Gua, was probably a member of the entourage of the governor Djehutyhotep.


The east side of his coffin is decorated with a pair of eyes to enable the deceased to see, and a false-door motif to allow the spirit to leave and re-enter the coffin. Inscriptions assure the provision of offerings and the protection of deities. The interior is undecorated.

Width 520 mm, length 2130 mm, height 785 mm.

Catalog: EA55315
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at museum display, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




flint dagger
Twelfth Dynasty: 1 991 BC - 1 802 BC

Flint dagger blade, Middle Kingdom, circa 1900 BC - 1800 BC, from Buhen.


The haft was attached to a handle by adhesive, traces of which remain.

( note that this item could well be the head of a spear or javelin, rather than a dagger - Don )

Catalog: EA65771
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at museum display, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Stela
Twelfth Dynasty or later: 1 991 BC - 1 200 BC

Stelae

Four stelae with prayers asking the gods - Anubis or Osiris - to let sacrifices offered to them benefit the dead person as well. Such prayers always begin with the same words.

A: Kaj sacrificing to the butler Ip and his father Sobek-nacht.
Limestone, Middle Kingdom, 1991 - 1785 BC.

B: The 'Chariot fighter at the garrison of Pharaoh', Inay, and his mother Duat-tawy sitting at a well-provided offering table.
Limestone, New Kingdom, 1550-1200 BC.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Københavns (Copenhagen) Museum, National Museum of Denmark








The Thirteenth Dynasty

1 803 BC - 1 639 BC

Ruled from Memphis, over Middle and Upper Egypt, contemporaneous with the Fourteenth Dynasty, which ruled from Avaris in the Nile Delta over Middle and Upper Egypt.


Name Horus (Throne) Name Consort Burial Years Dates Comments
Sekhemre Khutawy Sobekhotep           Referred to by some as Sebekhotep I
Sonbef           Perhaps a son of Amenemhat IV and brother of Sekhemre Khutawy Sobekhotep.
Nerikare            
Sekhemkare Amenemhat V         1 796 BC - 1 793 BC Dates according to Egyptologists Kim Ryholt and Darrell Baker
Ameny Qemau            
Hotepibre Qemau Siharnedjheritef           Perhaps identical with king Sehotepibre in the Turin Canon
Iufni           Known only from the Turin canon
Seankhibre Ameny-Intef-Amenemhat VI            
Semenkare Nebnuni            
Sehetepibre Sewesekhtawy            
Sewadjkare I           Known only from the Turin canon
Nedjemibre            
Khaankhre Sobekhotep II            
Renseneb Amenemhat            
Hor Awybre   Nubhotepi Buried in Dahshur near the pyramid of Amenemhet III      
Sekhemrekhutawy Khabaw           Possibly a son of Hor Awybre.
Djedkheperew           Possibly a brother of Sekhemrekhutawy Khabaw.
Sedjefakare Kay-Amenemhet VII            
Khutawyre Wegaf            
Userkare Khendjer   Seneb(henas?) Pyramid of Khendjer, South Saqqara     May also have borne the name Nimaatre
Smenkhkare Imyremeshaw   Aya(ly?)        
Sehetepkare Intef   Aya(ly?)        
Seth Meribre            
Sekhemresewadjtawy Sobekhotep III   Senebhenas, Neni        
Khasekhemre Neferhotep I   Senebsen Perhaps buried at Abydos      
Menwadjre Sihathor           Ephemeral coregent with his brother Neferhotep I
Khaneferre Sobekhotep IV   Tjan Perhaps buried at Abdydos: S 10 (Abydos)     Brother of Neferhotep I and Sihathor
Merhotepre Sobekhotep V   Nubkhaes?        
Khahotepre Sobekhotep VI            
Wahibre Ibiau            
Merneferre Ay     Built a pyramid whose location is unknown, possibly near Memphis. 23   Reigned 23 years, the longest reign of the dynasty. Last king to be attested in both Lower and Upper Egypt.


Table of Thirteenth Dynasty Rulers, adapted from various sources, including Wikipedia.




The Sothic cycle or Canicular period is a period of 1,461 Egyptian civil years of 365 days each or 1,460 Julian years averaging 365¼ days each. During a Sothic cycle, the 365-day year loses enough time that the start of its year once again coincides with the heliacal rising of the star Sirius on 19 July in the Julian calendar. It is an important aspect of Egyptology, particularly with regard to reconstructions of the Egyptian calendar and its history. Astronomical records of this displacement may have been responsible for the later establishment of the more accurate Julian and Alexandrian calendars.

Above text from Wikipedia

Fortress in Nubia
Thirteenth Dynasty: 1 803 BC - 1 639 BC

The Buhen Fortress

Buhen was an ancient Egyptian settlement situated on the West bank of the Nile below (to the North of) the Second Cataract. On the East bank, across the river, was located the ancient settlement of Wadi Halfa.

Photo: Franck Monnier (Bakha)
Permission: GNU Free Documentation License
Text: Wikipedia




Egyptian Fortresses in occupied Nubia

The series of fortresses built by the 12th Dynasty conquerors of Lower Nubia stretched from Elephantine to the new southern frontier at Semna. They include some of the most sophisticated examples of military architecture known from the ancient world. The mud brick fortresses were situated on the banks and islands of the Nile. No two were identical but standard features included defensive ditches, ramparts, bastions and massive gates with wooden drawbridges. Within the walls stood barracks, work- shops, administrative quarters and temples.

Egyptian troops were stationed in the fortresses as garrisons. Their role was to control the movements of the local population and to protect the annexed territory against possible attack. The fortresses also functioned as bases for gold mining and copper smelting operations and were collection points for trade goods and raw materials. When Egypt lost control over Lower Nubia during the 13th Dynasty, most of the forts were abandoned. A few were captured by Kushites, Nubians from Kerma, when they advanced from Upper Nubia to take over the lands vacated by the Egyptians.

Text above: Poster at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


Report from Nubia
Thirteenth Dynasty: 1 803 BC - 1 639 BC

The Semna Despatches

Circa 1 780 BC.

The Semna Despatches are part of a hieratic papyrus containing copies of reports by the commanders of Egyptian forts in Lower Nubia, sent to an official at Thebes. It reports the tracking by garrison troops of a group of thirty two Nubians and three asses.

From the Ramesseum, Thebes.


Catalog: EA10752, EA10753
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Shabti of Amun Iwy
Thirteenth Dynasty: 1 803 BC - 1 639 BC

Shabti of Amun Iwy


Gilded steatite shabti of the priest of Amun Iwy.

Circa 1 795 - 1 650 BC

From Abydos Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: © Card at the Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/ © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0,




stone panel
Thirteenth Dynasty: 1 803 BC - 1 639 BC

Pharaoh Sebekhotep I

Part of a chapel constructed by Sebekhotep I.

Circa 1770 BC.

The text makes an allusion to the myth of the eye of Horus.

Height 110 cm, width 32 cm, thickness 26 cm.

Catalog: limestone, Abydos, Sully Rez-de-chaussée Le temple Salle 12, C9, C10.
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée du Louvre
Text: © Musée du Louvre




img_6135amenemhatvsm
Thirteenth Dynasty: 1 803 BC - 1 639 BC

Pharaoh Amenemhat V

Head of a statue of Pharaoh Amenemhat V (?) with a khat headdress.

Second interim period around 1750 BC

Catalog: ÄS 7172
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München
Additional text: Wikipedia




amenemhatvviennasm
Thirteenth Dynasty: 1 803 BC - 1 639 BC

Pharaoh Amenemhat V

Head of a statue of Sekhemkare Amenemhat V of Egypt's 13th dynasty, in green slate, from Elephantine.

Upper part now in Vienna, Kunshistorisches Museum, 37, and lower part in Aswan, Aswan Museum, 1318

Photo and text: https://www.khm.at/
Source: Original, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien
Additional text: Wikipedia




squatting figure squatting figure


squatting figure
Thirteenth Dynasty: 1 803 BC - 1 639 BC

Figure


Upper part of a squatting figure.

Limestone, circa 1 750 BC.

Catalog: ÄS 4869
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München




striding figure
Thirteenth Dynasty: 1 803 BC - 1 639 BC

Figure


Standing-striding figure of a man wearing a long kilt.

Basalt, circa 1 750 BC.

Catalog: GL 14
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Ägyptischen Museum München
Text: © Ägyptischen Museum München




chapelle

Chapel and statue of Senwosret, Thirteenth Dynasty

Limestone and gabbro.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée du Louvre



chapelle chapelle
Thirteenth Dynasty: 1 803 BC - 1 639 BC

Chapel of Senwosret

Chapel of Senwosret, servant of the vizier. Circa 1780 -1700 BC 13th Dynasty

Reduced chapel model, decorated as were tombs of individuals in the Old Kingdom, (2700 - 2200 BC)

Dimensions of the centre panel are 54 cm x 44 cm, and it features the motif of protective eyes flanked by the jackal god Wepwawet. Below, Senwosret receives offerings from family members and servants.


chapelle
C 17, left hand panel: Meeting in honour of Senwosret: distracted by musicians and dancers, the guests drink and breathe the fragrance of flowers. Above, Senwosret receives food offerings, amongst which is a live ox.

C 16, centre panel: At the bottom, after the party. An offering formula promises to Senwosret the food 'which heaven gives, which the earth produces and which the gods make live.'

C18, right hand panel: Above, a hunter followed by two gazelles carries a small one in his arms. An ox is slaughtered. In the marshes, Senwosret harpoons fish and hunts birds with a throwing stick. In the middle, harvesting and transporting grain. Below, Senwosret and his wife supervise the work of the fields, the brewer of beer, the jars and the silos. To the right, the coffin is transported by water.



Catalog: Sully Rez-de-chaussée Crypte d'Osiris Salle 13 Vitrine 10: La chapelle d'un particulier à Abydos, C16, c17, c18
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée du Louvre
Text: © Musée du Louvre, http://metmuseum.org/




 Statue of Senwosret

Thirteenth Dynasty: 1 803 BC - 1 639 BC

Statue of Senwosret

Servant of the Vizier, height 532 mm, width 165 mm, depth 282 mm

Made of Gabbro, found in the interior of the chapel.

Catalog: Sully Rez-de-chaussée Crypte d'Osiris Salle 13 Vitrine 10: La chapelle d'un particulier à Abydos, A48
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée du Louvre
Text: © Musée du Louvre, http://metmuseum.org/








The Fourteenth Dynasty

1 725 BC - 1 650 BC

The Fourteenth Dynasty ruled from Avaris in the Nile Delta over Middle and Upper Egypt, contemporaneously with the Thirteenth Dynasty, which ruled from Memphis, over Middle and Upper Egypt,

The following is a truncated list from that in Wikipedia. The names of the kings and their dates of rule are not known with any certainty.


Name Dates Comments
Yakbim Skehaenre 1 805 BC - 1 780 BC or after 1 650 BC Chronological position is contested, may be a vassal of the 15th Dynasty
Ya'ammu Nubwoserre 1 780 BC - 1 770 BC Chronological position is contested
Qareh Khawoserre 1 770 BC - 1 760 BC Chronological position is contested
'Ammu Ahotepre 1 760 BC - 1 745 BC or after 1 650 BC Chronological position is contested, may be a vassal of the 15th Dynasty
Sheshi Maaibre 1 745 BC - 1 705 BC or after 1 650 BC Attested by over 300 scarab-seals, possibly married to Queen Tati who was a Kushite.
Chronological position is contested, may be a vassal of the 15th Dynasty
Nehesy Aasehre 1 705 BC Best attested king of the Dynasty, he left his name on two monuments at Avaris. His name means 'The Nubian'
Khakherewre 1 705 BC  
Nebefawre 1 704 BC Turin Canon: reigned 1 year, 5 months, 15 days
Sehebre   Turin Canon: reigned 3 years
Merdjefare ending 1 699 BC Attested by a single stela from Saft el-Hinna, in the delta
Sewadjkare III   Turin Canon: reigned 1 year
Nebdjefare ending 1 694 BC  
...webenre ending 1 690 BC  
Truncated, lack of reliable data
Nebsenre   attested by a jar bearing his prenomen. At least 5 months of reign
Truncated, lack of reliable data
Sekheperenre   With Nehesy, Nebsenre and Merdjefare, only undisputed king known from contemporary sources.
Truncated, lack of reliable data
Babnum ...kare    
Truncated, lack of reliable data
Apophis I    
Truncated, lack of reliable data


Table of Fourteenth Dynasty Rulers, truncated.








The Fifteenth Dynasty

1 650 BC - 1 550 BC

The Fifteenth Dynasty of Egypt was the first Hyksos dynasty, ruled from Avaris, without control of the entire land. The Hyksos preferred to stay in northern Egypt since they infiltrated from the north-east. The names and order of kings is uncertain. The Turin King list indicates that there were six Hyksos kings, with an obscure Khamudi listed as the final king of the Fifteenth Dynasty. Only five are listed here.


Name Dates Comments
Salitis    
Sakir-Har   Named as an early Hyksos king on a doorjamb found at Avaris. Regnal order uncertain.
Khyan    
Apophis 1 590 BC - 1 550 BC  
Khamudi 1 550 BC - 1 540 BC  


Table of Fifteenth Dynasty Rulers.








The Sixteenth Dynasty

1 649 BC - 1 582 BC

The Sixteenth Dynasty of ancient Egypt (notated Dynasty XVI) was a dynasty of pharaohs that ruled the Theban region in Upper Egypt for 70 years.

The continuing war against Dynasty XV dominated the short-lived 16th dynasty. The armies of the 15th dynasty, winning town after town from their southern enemies, continually encroached on the 16th dynasty territory, eventually threatening and then conquering Thebes itself. In his study of the second intermediate period, the egyptologist Kim Ryholt has suggested that Dedumose I sued for a truce in the latter years of the dynasty, but one of his predecessors, Nebiryraw I, may have been more successful and seems to have enjoyed a period of peace in his reign.

Famine, which had plagued Upper Egypt during late 13th Dynasty and the 14th Dynasty, also blighted the 16th Dynasty, most evidently during and after the reign of Neferhotep III.




Name Dates Comments
Unknown 1 649 BC - 1 648 BC Name lost in a lacuna of the Turin canon
Sekhemre-sementawi Djehuti 1 648 BC - 1 645 BC  
Sekhemre-seusertawi Sobekhotep VIII 1 645 BC - 1 629 BC  
Sekhemre-seankhtawi Neferhotep III 1 629 BC - 1 628 BC  
Seankhenre Mentuhotepi 1 628 BC - 1 627 BC  
Sewadjenre Nebiryraw I 1 627 BC - 1 601 BC  
Nebiriau II 1 601 BC  
Semenre 1 601 BC - 1 600 BC  
Seuserenre Bebiankh 1 600 BC - 1 588 BC  
Sekhemre Shedwaset 1 588 BC  
Unknown 1 588 BC - 1 582 BC Five kings lost in a lacuna of the Turin Canon.


Additional kings are classified as belonging to this dynasty per Kim Ryholt but their chronological position is uncertain. They may correspond to the last five lost kings on the Turin canon:


Name Dates Comments
Djedhotepre Dedumose I   May have tried to sue the Hyksos for peace.
Djedneferre Dedumose II    
Djedankhre Montemsaf    
Merankhre Mentuhotep VI    
Seneferibre Senusret IV   Left a colossal statue of himself in Karnak.


Table of Sixteenth Dynasty Rulers.








The Seventeenth Dynasty

1 580 BC - 1 550 BC

The Seventeenth Dynasty's mainly Theban rulers are contemporary with the Hyksos of the Fifteenth Dynasty of Egypt and succeed the Sixteenth Dynasty, also based in Thebes. In March 2012, French archeologists examining a limestone door in the Amun-Ra temple in Luxor discovered hieroglyphs with the name Senakhtenre, the first evidence of this king dating to his lifetime.

King Nebmaatre may have been a ruler of the early 17th dynasty.

The last two kings of the dynasty opposed the Hyksos rule over Egypt and initiated a war that would rid Egypt of the Hyksos kings and began a period of unified rule, the New Kingdom.

Kamose, the second son of Seqenenre Tao and last king of the Seventeenth Dynasty, was the brother of Ahmose I – the first king of the Eighteenth Dynasty.


Name Horus (Throne) Name Consort Burial Years Dates Comments
Rahotep Sekhemre-wahkhaw       circa 1 585 BC  
Sobekemsaf I Sekhemre-wadjkhaw Nubemhat   7 years    
Sobekemsaf II Sekhemre-shedtawy Nubkhaes Robbed during the reign of Ramesses IX      
Intef Sekhemre-wepmaat   Dra' Abu el-Naga'?      
Intef Nubkheperre Sobekemsaf Dra' Abu el-Naga'      
Intef Sekhemre-heruhermaat Haankhes        
Ahmose Senakhtenre Tetisheri   1 year    
Tao Seqenenre Ahmose
Inhapy
Sitdjehuti
Ahhotep I
  4 years circa 1 560 BC  
Kamose Wadjkheperre Ahhotep II?   5 years 1 555 BC - 1 550 BC  


Table of Seventeenth Dynasty Rulers.






nubkheperra intef nubkheperra intef
Seventeenth Dynasty: 1 580 BC - 1 550 BC

Intef Nubkheperre


Intef Nubkheperre (there were three kings with the name Intef) was an Egyptian king of the Seventeenth dynasty of Egypt at Thebes / Luxor during the Second Intermediate Period, from 1582 BC to 1570 BC when Egypt was divided by rival dynasties including the Hyksos in Lower Egypt.

This is a sycomore fig wood anthropoid coffin of Intef Nubkheperra. The lid of the coffin is covered with gold leaf on a base of gesso. The king is represented wearing a royal headcloth (nemes) of unusually large proportions. A uraeus serpent was originally attached to the brow, but it is now missing and only the socket is visible. A false beard, originally fitted to the chin, is also lost, although the painted beard-straps survive on each side of the face.

The face itself was originally gilded, and the eyes are made from black and white stone. On the upper body is a collar with falcon-head terminals, and a winged figure (now mostly destroyed) occupied the middle of the breast. The sides of the headdress and most of the body of the coffin-lid are covered with a design of stylised feathers, although the areas at the sides of the feet have a different motif, consisting of spherical and barrel shaped beads arranged in a net-pattern.

Catalog: EA6652
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Additional text: Wikipedia




nubkheperra intef nubkheperra intef
In the centre of the lid, from the collar to the level of the ankles is a single line of hieroglyphic text. The exterior of the coffin-case is painted a uniform blue and bears no decoration apart from a stylised representation of the queue of the king's wig in the centre of the back. On the base of the foot are figures of the goddesses Isis and Nephthys raising their hands in a gesture of lamentation.

A column of inscription between them contains their speech. The interior surfaces of both lid and case are thickly coated with a dark, shiny resinous substance. The mummy was apparently placed inside the coffin before this substance was dry, as substantial portions of the outer linen wrappings adhere to the inner surface of the case.

Some of these fragments of the linen shroud bear funerary texts on behalf of King Intef, written in black ink (other sections, removed from the coffin in the 19th century, are EA 10706). Several insects, identified as Dermestes beetles, are also visible, having become trapped in the sticky coating of the interior.

Among the inscriptions on the coffin is the hieroglyphic sign for an owl ('m'), which has been intentionally drawn without legs - such a symbolic 'disabling' of a potentially harmful creature was a common feature of Egyptian script in the Second Intermediate Period.

Length: 1932 mm.

Catalog: EA6652
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Additional text: Wikipedia




nubkheperra intef nubkheperra intef
Necklace and crown from the burial of Intef Nubkheperre, 1635 BC.

This Ancient Egyptian 17th dynasty inlaid diadem or crown, composed of silver with gold uraeus (serpent) ( out of focus at the back of this photo - Don ), and glass or faience inlays, is traditionally associated with the burial of the 17th dynasty Theban king Nubkheperre Intef. It is today in the collection of the Leiden Museum (or Rijksmuseum van Oudheden) in the Netherlands where its registration number is No. AO. 11a.


This rare crown, 18 cm in diameter was found in Dra' Abu el-Naga' on the West Bank of the Nile at Thebes / Luxor presumably from Intef Nubkheperre's royal tomb in the early days of Egyptology when record keeping was weak to non-existent. Nevertheless, this beautiful object was an important find from a time during the Second Intermediate Period when Egypt was divided into two between the Hyksos controlled north and the Theban dominated South.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden.
Text: Wikipedia


nubkheperra intef serpent nubkheperra intef serpent
Uraeus (serpent), gold, associated with the crown above, and shown here attached to it.

Photo: © http://www.rmo.nl/collectie/zoeken?object=AO+11a-2
Source: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden.




scarab amulet
Seventeenth Dynasty: 1 580 BC - 1 550 BC

King Sebekemsaf II


Green jasper and gold heart-scarab of King Sebekemsaf II, (also identified as Sobekemsaf II) 17th Dynasty, about 1590 BC.

This amulet, in the form of a scarab beetle with a human face ( inverted in this photo - Don ), was intended to ensure that the deceased passed safely through the judgement which could establish whether or not he was deserving of eternal life.

It is inscribed with an early version of Chapter 30B of the Book of the Dead, the magical text intended to prevent the heart from testifying against its owner. It is carved from green jasper, set in a gold mount, and is the earliest known example of such an amulet made for a king.

The human-headed jasper scarab is inset into a cloison in a hollow sheet gold plinth with a rounded back end. The rim of the cloison itself has been inset with an undulating strip of sheet gold to give the effect of granulation.


scarab amulet
The insect's legs, splayed out on the plinth's top, are made from individual sheet gold strips with roughly incised markings representing hairs.

The crudely formed hieroglyphs incised around the plinth, and in five horizontal rows across the underside, come from Chapter 30B of the Book of the Dead: 'Spell for preventing the heart from opposing the deceased'. In the inscription the legs of the birds are missing, a common feature in earlier magical texts to prevent them attacking the dead person.

Catalog EA 7876

Photo (upper): Don Hitchcock 2015
Photo (lower, at left) © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: © http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/ and card at the Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




 gilded mask
Gilded plaster mummy-mask

17th or early 18th Dynasty, circa 1600 BC - 1500 BC, from Rifeh.

Mummy-masks with very small faces and feathered decorations on the headdress were characteristic of the period before the beginning of the New Kingdom.

Catalog: EA69151
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0








The Eighteenth Dynasty

1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

The eighteenth dynasty of ancient Egypt (Dynasty XVIII) is the best known ancient Egyptian dynasty. It boasts several of Egypt's most famous pharaohs, including Tutankhamun, whose tomb was found by Howard Carter in 1922. The dynasty is also known as the Thutmosid Dynasty for the four pharaohs named Thutmosis (English: Thoth bore him).

Famous pharaohs of Dynasty XVIII include Hatshepsut (circa 1 479 BC - 1 458 BC), longest-reigning woman-pharaoh of an indigenous dynasty, and Akhenaten (circa 1 353 BC - 1 336 BC), the 'heretic pharaoh', with his queen, Nefertiti.

Dynasty XVIII is the first of the three dynasties of the Egyptian New Kingdom, the period in which ancient Egypt reached the peak of its power.




Name Horus (Throne) Name Consort Burial Years Dates Comments
Ahmose I Nebpehtire Ahmose-Nefertari
Ahmose-Henuttamehu
Ahmose-Sitkamose
  25 1 549 BC - 1 524 BC  
Amenhotep I Djeserkare Ahmose-Meritamon KV39? or Tomb ANB? 21 1 524 BC - 1 503 BC  
Thutmose I Akheperkare Ahmose
Mutnofret
KV20, KV38 10 1 503 BC - 1 493 BC  
Thutmose II Akheperenre Hatshepsut
Iset
KV42? 14 1 493 BC - 1 479 BC  
Queen Hatshepsut Maatkare Thutmose II KV20 21 1 479 BC - 1 458 BC Hatshepsut ruled jointly with Thutmose III, who had ascended
to the throne the previous year as a child of about two years old.
Hatshepsut was the chief wife of Thutmose II, Thutmose III's father.
Thutmose III Menkheper(en)re Satiah
Merytre-Hatshepsut
Nebtu
Menhet, Menwi and Merti
KV34 54 1 479 BC - 1 425 BC  
Amenhotep II Akheperure Tiaa KV35 27 1 425 BC - 1 398 BC  
Thutmose IV Menkheperure Nefertari
Iaret
Mutemwiya
Daughter of Artatama I of Mitanni
KV43 10 1 398 BC - 1 388 BC  
Amenhotep III Nebmaatre Tiye
Gilukhipa of Mitanni
Tadukhipa of Mitanni
Sitamun
Iset
Daughter of Kurigalzu I of Babylon
Daughter of Kadashman-Enlil of Babylon
Daughter of Tarhundaradu of Arzawa
Daughter of the ruler of Ammia
KV22 38 1 388 BC - 1 350 BC  
Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten Neferkepherure-Waenre
Nefertiti
Kiya
Tadukhipa of Mitanni
Daughter of Šatiya, ruler of Enišasi
Meritaten?
Meketaten?
Ankhesenamun
Daughter of Burna-Buriash II, King of Babylon
Royal Tomb of Akhenaten 17 1 351 BC - 1 334 BC  
Smenkhkare Ankhkheperure Meritaten   1 1 335 BC - 1 334 BC  
Neferneferuaten Ankhkheperure Akhenaten?
Smenkhkare?
  2 1 334 BC - 1 332 BC  
Tutankhamun Nebkheperure Ankhesenamun KV62 9 1 332 BC - 1 323 BC  
Ay Kheperkheperure Ankhesenamun
Tey
KV23 4 1 323 BC - 1 319 BC  
Horemheb Djeserkheperure-Setepenre Mutnedjmet
Amenia
KV57 27 1 319 BC - 1 292 BC  


Table of Eighteenth Dynasty Rulers, data chiefly from Wikipedia




coffin of Taiuy coffin of Taiuy
Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Taiuy


Wooden anthropoid coffin of Taiuy.

Painted detail on plaster including rishi-pattern and hieroglyphic text.

Early 18th Dynasty, circa 1550 - 1500 BC. Sycomore fig coffin in the Rishi style, inscribed for the lady Taiuwy. From Birabi, Thebes / Luxor, intrusive burial in tomb 41.

This coffin was prefabricated, and the owner's name was inserted into a blank space in the central inscription. The large painted wings possibly represent those of protective godesses, or may derive from the decoration of masks of the Second Intermediate period.

In this late example of the Rishi style, the striped wig and transverse bands foreshadow the design of the classic 18th Dynasty coffins.

Catalog: EA54350
Photo (left): ©Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Photo (right): Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/ and card at the Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




   mask
Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Ahmose-Turi


Lower half of a sandstone seated statue of Ahmose-Turi from Kerma, Circa 1530 BC.

Ahmose-Turi was viceroy of Kush under Pharaohs Amenhotep I and Thutmose I.

The hieroglyphic inscription on the sides of the throne invoke the gods Osiris, Horus Lord of Buhen and Dedwen (a native Nubian god), and gives the names of Ahmose' s parents.

Abyssinia, or Ethiopia, was known as Kush to the ancient Egyptians.

Catalog: EA1279
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


   Kerma
Kerma was the capital city of the Kerma Culture, which was located in present-day Sudan at least 5500 years ago. Kerma is one of the largest archaeological sites in ancient Nubia. It has produced decades of extensive excavations and research, including thousands of graves and tombs and the residential quarters of the main city surrounding the Western/Lower Deffufa.

Around 3 000 BC, a cultural tradition began around Kerma. It was a large urban centre that was built around a large adobe temple known as the Western Deffufa.

Photo: Lassi via Wikipedia
Permission: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International, 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license
Text: Adapted from Wikipedia




sandstone stela
Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Amenhotep I


Sandstone stela dated to Year 8 of Pharaoh Amenhotep I, from Qasr Ibrim, circa 1 530 BC.

The scene shows the king making offerings to the god Horus of Miam (modern-day Aniba). He is accompanied by his mother, Queen Ahmose-Nefertary, and a second royal female, possibly his wife Queen Merytamun (whose name appears to have been excised and later inaccurately restored as Ahmose-Nefertary).

Below is a hieroglyphic text boasting of the power of the pharaoh over foreign lands.

Catalog: EA1835
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


painted stela
Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Thutmose III


Part of a painted limestone stela with Pharaoh Thutmose III making offerings to the god Horus, who will have been depicted on the missing left side of the stone.

From Wadi Halfa, circa 1 470 BC.

Catalog: EA1021
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


obelisk doorjamb
Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Queen Hatshepsut


(left) Pink granite obelisk of Queen Hatshepsut, early 1 400s BC, from Qasr Ibrim.

On one side it is inscribed with the names of the queen described as 'beloved of Horus, Lord of Miam (modern-day Aniba), living forever like Ra'. The names were later erased as an attempt to remove her memory from history.

Catalog: EA 1834


(right) Sandstone door-jamb with the name of Pharaoh Thutmose Ill, from Buhen, about 1 470 BC.

The door-jamb bears an incised hieroglyphic text on the front, including the name of the pharaoh, who is described as 'beloved of the god Horus Lord of Buhen'.

Catalog: EA1019


Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0, http://www.britishmuseum.org/




Sandstone stela of Usersatet
Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Usersatet from Kush


Sandstone stela of Usersatet, an Egyptian Viceroy of Kush, from Wadi Halfa, circa 1 430 BC. Abyssinia, or Ethiopia, was known as Kush to the ancient Egyptians.

Usersatet makes offerings to the god Thoth, Lord of Ta-Seti (Nubia). Below is a funerary prayer to Thoth. Usersatet served under Pharaoh Amenhotep IL

Catalog: EA623
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0






Shabtis: servants for the afterlife
The ancient Egyptian idea of the afterlife included the possibility that the dead might have to carry out agricultural labour. This could be avoided by having small mummy-shaped figurines of the deceased, known as shabti, shawabti or ushabti. These figures, made of stone, wood, faience, pottery and sometimes bronze, would magically perform work on behalf of their owner.

They were a regular feature of tomb equipment from the Middle Kingdom to the Ptolemaic period (about 2000-30 BC). Originally, the shabti acted as a substitute for its owner, but it later came to be regarded more as a servant, and its character as an agricultural labourer was highlighted by the representation of tools held in the hands. The magical spell which ensured the proper functioning of the shabtis was frequently inscribed on the figures.

The number of shabtis per burial gradually increased from one or two to 401. This total comprised 365 'worker' shabtis (one assigned for each day of the year) and 36 'overseers' to control each team of ten figures. Whereas earlier shabtis were often large and finely carved, the later increase in quantity brought a corresponding decline in size and quality.
Text above: Poster at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Limestone shabti of Nefer
Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Shabti of Nefer


Limestone shabti of the priest of Amun, Nefer, with a lappet-wig, a modelled face with a beard and arms crossed in relief over the chest. The leg section is inscribed with seven rows of Hieroglyphs.

Circa 1 500 BC.

Height 250 mm, width 80 mm, depth 69 mm.

Titles/epithets include: God's Servant of Amun.

Catalog: EA51819
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: © Card at the Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/ © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0,




Shabti of Renseneb
Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Shabti of Renseneb


Painted wooden shabti of Renseneb, circa 1 500 BC.

Eight rows of Hieroglyphic text. Height 242 mm.

Catalog: EA57342
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: © Card at the Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/ © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0,




Shabti of Lady Mes
Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Shabti of Lady Mes


Painted limestone, height 230 mm, circa 1 450 BC. Nine rows of Hieroglyphic text.

Catalog: EA27372
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: © Card at the Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/ © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0,




Shabti of Hatsherit

Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Shabti of Hatsherit


Wooden shabti of Hatsherit, Chantress of the Aten. Probably reign of Akhenaten, circa 1 352 - 1 336 BC

( note that this identification may be inaccurate. The information here including the catalog number of EA8644 is from the shelves of the British Museum in 2015, and it is at variance with the shabti shown in the online BM catalog, pictured immediately below, which depicts a quite different shabti. It is a possibility that this is also a shabti of Hatsherit, but in any case its catalog number is not EA8644, which is well attested for the shabti shown below - Don )

Catalog number given on card: EA8644
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: © Card at the Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/ © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0, Wikipedia




Shabti of Hatsherit

Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Shabti of Hatsherit


( this is the shabti from the BM online catalog, also with the catalog number of EA8644 - Don )

Ebony shabti of Hatsheret, Chantress of Aten. The number of Osiride attributes of the figures is striking, including the mummiform stance and the epithet 'true of voice', which translates as 'justified' in the traditional religion. The beautiful ebony shabti is inscribed with the conventional shabti spell from the Book of the Dead naming 'the Osiris, Hatsheret'.

Height 235 mm, width 65 mm, depth 47 mm, weight 350 grams.

Catalog: EA8644
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: © http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/ © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0, Wikipedia




shabti of a Royal Nurse
Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Shabti of a Royal Nurse


Calcite, height 206 mm, width 64 mm, circa 1 400 BC.

Inscribed with the 6th chapter of the Book of the Dead, in 11 horizontal bands of text.

Catalog: Abydos, EA66677
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: © Card at the Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/ © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0,




sandstone stela
Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Merymose


Sandstone stela of Merymose: describing the campaign of Merymose against the Nubians of Ibhet in thirteen lines of incised hieroglyphic text. Several lines from the beginning of the inscription are missing and the whole of the upper portion is badly mutilated and weathered. The greater part of the last half of the sixth and seventh lines is destroyed and the ends of many others are damaged.

Sandstone stela (stone slab) of the Egyptian Viceroy of Kush, Merymose, from Semna, circa 1 400 BC. Abyssinia, or Ethiopia, was known as Kush to the ancient Egyptians.

A hieroglyphic text describes his campaign against the Nubians of lbha Merymose served under Pharaoh Amenhotep III.


The text describing the campaign of Merymose against the Nubians of Ibhet is in thirteen lines of incised hieroglyphic text. Several lines from the beginning of the inscription are missing and the whole of the upper portion is badly mutilated and weathered. The greater part of the last half of the sixth and seventh lines is destroyed and the ends of many others are damaged.

Catalog: EA657
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




tomb painting
Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Sebekhotep


Wall painting from an Egyptian tomb showing the presentation of African products to the pharaoh during the 18th Dynasty, circa 1400 BC, from the tomb-chapel of Sebekhotep at Thebes, TT63, during the rule of Thutmose IV.


The two fragments formed part of a large scene in which Africans and people from Western Asia are shown presenting the products of their lands to the Egyptian king. The men of the south are painted brown or black, and wear large earrings and animal skin kilts. Their offerings include gold nuggets and rings, ebony logs, a monkey, a baboon, giraffe tails and a leopard skin. The last figure carries a tray of reddish objects, probably pieces of red jasper.

EA921: Part of tomb wall, made of plaster on mud. Painted representation of Nubians offering gold nuggets and rings to the king (not seen), with a cornice above.

Height: 710 mm, width 965 mm.


EA922: Part of tomb wall showing Nubians bringing tribute from the south to Pharaoh. The figure at the front carries interlocking gold rings over one arm; the man behind bears ebony logs on his shoulder and a giraffe's tail in one hand. The third figure carries a leopard skin and a basket full of chunks of red jasper; a monkey perches behind his head. All three wear earrings.

Height 740 mm, width 610 mm.

Catalog: EA921, EA922
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




map of Nubia






Map showing modern day Sudan, Egypt and Nubia.

Photo: Poster at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Rephotography: Don Hitchcock 2015
Text: Poster at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Egypt timeline

Timeline from prehistoric Sudan and Nubia to Sudan and Nubia today.

Photo: Poster at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Rephotography: Don Hitchcock 2015
Text: Poster at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0



 ebony mask  ebony mask
Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Ebony Face


Face from an anthropoid coffin

18th Dynasty, circa 1400 BC - 1300 BC. Provenance unknown. Length 228 mm.

The face is carved from East African ebony ( Dalbergia melanoxylon ), one of the most highly prized products of the lands to the south of Egypt. The use of such an expensive wood for this coffin-face suggests that the owner was a person of high status. The eyes and brows were originally inlaid.


Catalog: EA6885
Photo (left): Don Hitchcock 2015
Photo (right): © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: © http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/ and card at the Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Egypt
Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Amenhotep-Huy


Canopic chest of Amenhotep-Huy. It is made of a single piece of quartzite, and is thus an extremely expensive object. It came to Leiden in 1829 as part of the large collection of Giovanni d'Anastasy.

Amenhotep-Hoey was chief steward of Memphis, at the time of pharaoh Armenhotep III.

The box has the shape of a chapel. The canopenkist stands on a sledge foot frame, a shape inspired by the usual mode of transport during the funeral procession. On the sides are the four sons of Horus and the goddesses Isis, Nephthys, Neith and Selkis. The four vases (originally at least) contained the embalmed corpse entrails, but in any case they are not the original vases, which were probably broken and destroyed by grave robbers.


Under King Amenhotep III  (1 388 - 1 350 BC) he was, after the vizier or viceroy, the most important official in the capital of Memphis. His main task was that of manager of the royal estates. He was also active as a builder. In that capacity Amenhotep-Hoey supervised the construction of a new temple to the Memphite city god Ptah and the placement therein of a large image of his royal master. Additionally Amenhotep-Hoey was involved in the administration of the treasure house and granary.

Material quartzite and alabaster, location Saqqara, circa 1 370 BC.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden.
Additional text: http://www.rmo.nl/onderwijs/museumkennis/verhalen/canopenkist-van-amenhotep-en-canopen-van-ipy


Sekhmet
Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Sekhmet


Black granodiorite statue of the lion-headed goddess of healing, circa 1 370 BC. Probably from the French excavations in the temple of Mut at Karnak near Thebes or from the excavations of the British proconsul Henry Salt.

The following description is dependent on the identification of this statue as EA88, the card does not specify the Catalog number, and unfortunately there is no photograph of EA88 in the Catalog.

The description of EA88 in the Catalog tallies well with this statue, as does the findspot. The description is as follows:

Granodiorite seated statue of Sekhmet.

The sides of the throne are decorated with the motif of binding the plants of the Two Lands and the throne is also inscribed on the front edges with the names of Amenhotep 3. The left hand holds an ankh-sign; the right is much restored. The front of the plinth and the feet is all restoration, as is each side of the solar disk headdress. There is a join with some restoration at the base of the collar. Pink crystals are evident in the grey granite of the face.


Height 210 cm, width 55 cm, depth 104 cm.

Findspot: Karnak (Thebes), Temple of Mut)

Catalog: probably EA88
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: © Card with the display at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0, http://www.britishmuseum.org/




Egypt
Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Meryptah


Tomb stela of Meryptah, Late 18th dynasty, circa 1 360 BC, from Memphis.

This is only the upper half of the stele, the rest is located in London. Meryptah is pictured second from left. Like his brother Ptahmes beside him he carries the zijlok, the side lock of hair, and chest insignia of the high priests of Ptah. The brothers may be flanked by their proud parents. Djehoetymes' father wears the high-necked robe neckband of a vizier or viceroy. On the far right is another priest of Ptah.


Meryptah was the Chief Steward of the mansion (Temple) of Amenhotep III and brother of the High-priest of Ptah in Memphis Ptahmose, Martin (1991). A stela mentioning Meryptah and relatives is spread over two museums. The top part is on display in Leiden, as shown here, while the bottom part is in the Petrie museum. Depicted are the parents Thutmose (Vizier) and his wife Tawy, with the two brothers Meryptah amd Ptahmose between them. To the right is an additional priest.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source and text: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden.
Additional text: http://mathstat.slu.edu/~bart/egyptianhtml/tombs/Saqqara-Tombs-NK.html


Meryptah
Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Meryptah


Tomb stela of Meryptah, Late 18th dynasty, circa 1360 BC, from Memphis.

This is the lower half of the limestone stela of Meryptah, Chief Steward of the mansion (Temple) of Amenhotep III and High Priest of Memphis, Ptahmose, located in London at the Petrie Museum.

Rectangular frame and cavetto cornice.

Photo and text: Original, http://mathstat.slu.edu/~bart/egyptianhtml/tombs/Saqqara-Tombs-NK.html




   mask    mask
Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Mummy-mask


Painted wooden mummy-mask of an unidentified woman.

Late 18th Dynasty, circa 1 350 BC - 1 295 BC, from Thebes / Luxor.

The mask is made from the wood of the Sycomore fig. The outer rows of the collar are composed of lotus petals and fruits or berries. Perforations in the ear-lobes for the suspension of ear-rings have been carefully represented.

Height 410 mm, width 330 mm, diameter 215 mm.

Catalog: EA22912
Photo (left): Don Hitchcock 2015
Photo (right): © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/ and card at the Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




stela of Ipoe
Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Stela of Ipoe


Tomb stela of Ipoe (Ipu), cupbearer to the king, 18th Dynasty.

Circa 1 333 BC - 1 323 BC, during the reign of Tutankhamun

Dimensions 129 x 85 x 21 cm, circa 450 kg.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Catalog: AP 9
Source and text: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden.




Egypt


Egypt

Temple Wall panels from the private tomb of the Great Commander of the Army, Horemheb, showing him receiving 'gold of honour' collars.


Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Horemheb


Horemheb was the military force behind the throne in the aftermath of the Amarna Period. He was general in the army during the reigns of Tutanchamon and Aye, after this he himself became pharaoh and abandoned this tomb for a tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden
Text: adapted from http://ancientpeoples.tumblr.com/post/50495250530/saqqara-saqqara-is-the-most-important-cemetery






Horemheb

Close up of part of the panel above.

Dimensions: 860 x 1090 x 195 mm
Photo and text: Google Arts and Culture


Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Horemheb


Horemheb was the supreme commander of Tutankhamun’s armies. Four years after the latter’s death, he himself ascended to the throne as pharaoh. A magnificent tomb at Saqqara dates from his period as general. The National Museum of Antiquities owns two series of wall reliefs from the second courtyard of the grave complex. Here, Horemheb is being presented with gold gorgets in gratitude for his victories on the battlefield. On the left, Egyptian soldiers are bringing in some Asian captives. 1 333 BC - 1 319 BC. Size 860 x 1090 x 195 mm

Photo: Google Arts and Culture, https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/horemheb-grave-relief/-gHrFrcniOR5Ow
Source: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden
Text: Google Arts and Culture, https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/horemheb-grave-relief/-gHrFrcniOR5Ow


Maya and Horemheb

At the time of the young pharaoh Tutankhamun the true power was in the hands of two experienced officers. Treasurer Maya looked after domestic administration, and General Horemheb regulated foreign policy.

Both top officials built tombs in the desert at Saqqara. These graves were found around 1825 by art collectors. Through the art market the reliefs of Horemheb and the tomb statues of Maya and his wife Meryt were taken to Leiden.

Since 1975 the National Museum of Antiquities conducted excavations in the necropolis of Saqqara. Both the tomb of Maya as well as that of Horemhab have now been recovered. Thus we now know much more about these treasures.

Text above from a display at the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden.



Maya Maya
Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Maya


Maya was an important figure during the reign of the Pharaohs Tutankhamun, Ay and Horemheb of the eighteenth dynasty of Ancient Egypt. Maya's titles included: fan bearer on the King's right hand, overseer of the treasury, chief of the works in the necropolis, and leader of the festival of Amun in Karnak.

From: Sakkara circa 1 325 - 1 310 BC 18th Dynasty.
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source and text: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden
Additional text: Wikipedia




Egypt Egypt
Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Meryt


Meryt, shown here, was the wife of Maya. Like many significant women she carries the title 'singer of Amun'. In her hands she holds a menat: a necklace of many strings of beads with the counterweight, a figure of the goddess Hathor, normally worn on the back, shown here in her hands. This might be used also as a rattle in the supervision of temple hymns.

From: Sakkara circa 1 325 - 1 310 BC 18th Dynasty.
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source and text: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden
Additional text: Wikipedia




Egypt Egypt
Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Maya and Meryt


This Tomb statue shows Maya and Meryt side by side. Meryt (on the left) embraces her husband. These images are among the best created by Egyptian artists. The three sculptures shown here are all from Maya's tomb, where they stood on pedestals beneath the galleries around the inner court.

From: Sakkara ca 1325 - 1310 BC 18th Dynasty.
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source and text: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden
Additional text: Wikipedia




coffin of Katebet
Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Mummy of Katebet, circa 1 300 BC.


The mummy of the woman Katebet was discovered in the 1820s in a tomb at Thebes, together with the mummy of a man named Qenna, possibly her husband.


Catalog: Thebes, EA6665
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: © http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/ and card at the Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




mummy of Katebet
Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Katebet


Mummy of Katebet, circa 1 300 BC.

Her fine gilded cartonnage mask represents Katebet wearing wearing an elaborate wig with calcite ear-studs, a broad collar, bracelets and real finger-rings. Analysis of the surface decoration of the trappings has revealed almost pure gold leaf on the mask. The white metal of the pectorals is not silver, but pure tin. The shabti is of low-fired ceramic or clay, with applied gesso and gold leaf on the head, and copper foil on the torso. At the time of the discovery, the coffin also contained plaits of hair wrapped in linen, a pair of sandals and floral garlands, the last two items now lost.

Catalog: Thebes, EA6665
Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: © http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/ and card at the Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




mummy of Katebet
Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Katebet


Mummy of Katebet, circa 1 300 BC.

The mummy of the woman Katebet was discovered in the 1820s in a tomb at Thebes (Luxor), together with the mummy of a man named Qenna, possibly her husband. Like Katebet's wooden coffin, the two pectorals and shabti figure placed on her mummy appear to have been designed for a man and adapted for her burial.


Catalog: Thebes, EA6665
Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: © http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/ and card at the Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Thebes / Luxor / Luxor Poster
Eighteenth Dynasty or later: 1 550 BC - 1 069 BC

Theban Necropolis


The Theban necropolis in the New Kingdom, which lasted circa 1550 BC - 1069 BC.

Thebes (modern Luxor), a provincial centre in the Old Kingdom, produced families of rulers who reunified Egypt after the political decentralisation of the First and Second Intermediate Periods.


The city was a major royal residence on several occasions, and was the principal cult centre of Amun, the supreme deity of the Egyptian state. The cemeteries of Thebes / Luxor were used extensively from the 4th Dynasty to the Roman Period. They included the tombs of the kings of the 11th and 17th to 20th Dynasties, and those of administrators, craftsmen and priests of all periods.

Most of the private burials were in rock-cut sepulchres, those of the New Kingdom being renowned for the carved and painted wall-decoration of their funerary chapels. Although the majority of these tombs were robbed in antiquity, a substantial number of mummies, coffins and associated burial goods have been recovered from them since the early 19th century.

Photo: Steve F-E-Cameron
Permission: Multi-license with GFDL and Creative Commons CC-BY 3.0
Text: Poster, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Egypt
Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Panehsy


Canopic jars of Panehsy, 18th Dynasty, ca 1300 BC.

Material: limestone, 21 cm.


When someone someone was mummified lungs, liver, stomach and intestines were removed from the abdominal cavity. The bodies were mummified independently , and the organs placed separately in stoppered pots. These pots had lids that represent the four sons of Horus. They look after the mummified organs.

The liver went into a pot with a lid in the form of an Amset (man)
The stomach went into a pot with a lid in the form of a Duamutef (jackal)
The lungs went into a pot with a lid in the form of a Hapy (baboon)
The intestines went into a pot with a lid in the form of a Qebehsenuf (falcon)

Photo: http://www.rmo.nl/collectie/zoeken?object=AH+184-a
Text: http://www.dierenmuseum.nl/dierenliefde/dierenmummies-dierenbegraafplaatsen/




Egypt
Eighteenth Dynasty: 1 550 BC - 1 292 BC

Papyrus of Nakht


Agriculture in the afterlife, from the papyrus of Nakht, circa 1 300 BC.

The ideal state of existence, which the dead achieved after becoming akh, included and agricultural paradise known as the Field of Reeds. Here the blessed dead would plant and reap abundant crops, traverse the waterways of the netherworld, and worship the gods.

From: Book of the Dead of Nakht, frame 13, flax-harvesting vignette, and sixteen columns of Hieroglyphic text.


Catalog: Thebes, EA10471/13
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0








The Nineteenth Dynasty

1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

The Pharaohs of the 19th dynasty ruled for approximately one hundred and ten years. Seti I's reign is today considered to be 11 years and not 15 years by both J. von Beckerath and Peter Brand, who wrote a biography on this pharaoh's reign. Consequently, it will be amended to 11 years or 1290-1279 BC. Therefore, Seti's father and predecessor would have ruled Egypt between 1292-1290 BC. Many of the pharaohs were buried in the Valley of the Kings in Thebes (designated KV). More information can be found on the Theban Mapping Project website.




Name Horus (Throne) Name Consort Burial Years Dates Comments
Ramesses I Menpehtire Sitre KV16 2 1 292 BC - 1 290 BC  
Seti I Menmaatre (Mut-)Tuya KV17 11 1 290 BC - 1 279 BC  
Ramesses II Usermaatre Setepenre Nefertari
Isetnofret
Maathorneferure
Meritamen
Bintanath
Nebettawy
Henutmire
KV7 66 1 279 BC - 1 213 BC  
Merneptah Baenre Merynetjeru Isetnofret II KV8 10 1 213 BC - 1 203 BC  
Seti II Userkheperure Twosret
Takhat Tiaa
KV15 6 1 203 BC - 1 197 BC  
Amenmesse Menmire-Setepenre   KV10 3 1 201 BC - 1 198 BC  
Siptah Sekhaienre Meryamun/
Akhenre Setepenre
  KV47 6 1 197 BC - 1 191 BC  
Queen Twosret Sitre Meritamun None KV14 4 1 191 BC - 1 187 BC  


Table of Nineteenth Dynasty Rulers, data chiefly from Wikipedia




 ramesses statues  ramesses statues
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Ramesses I


Centre and right: Statue of King Ramesses I

Height 2007 mm.

The statue is made from the wood of the sycomore fig and was coated with black bitumen. It is one of two life-size statues found in the tomb of Ramesses I. The king wears the bag-like Khat headdress, and would originally have been depicted holding a staff and a mace. Headdress, kilt and other details were originally gilded over a thin layer of gesso, and the eyes and eyebrows were inlaid.

It can be seen from this statue that it is made from separate pieces, notably the arms and the front of the kilt. It is also likely that gilding was placed over certain parts of the statue, but this was stripped off when the tomb was robbed.


Far left: Statue of King Ramesses IX, (also written Ramses) (originally named Amon-her-khepshef Khaemwaset), 1129 BC – 1111 BC was the eighth king of the Twentieth dynasty of Egypt.

Statue from Tomb 6 in the Valley of the Kings. This figure is carved from sycomore fig and represents the king wearing the Nemes Headdress. The surface of this statue was finished using less costly materials than that of Ramesses I. Black paint took the place of resin, and polychrome paint was applied instead of gold leaf. The eyes and eyebrows were carved directly from the wood, instead of being inlaid.

Catalog EA 883
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: © Card with the display at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0, Wikipedia, http://www.britishmuseum.org/




Seti
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Seti I


Cast from the Tomb of King Sety I

Valley of the Kings, Egypt

Tomb carved 1 290 - 1 279 BC

Cast made by Joseph Bonomi 1824 - 1834

Catalog: Hay Collection AES
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Sandstone stela of Pharaoh Seti I
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Seti I


Sandstone stela of Pharaoh Seti I (also Sety I), from Buhen in Nubia, North Temple (?) Forecourt G (?).

The pharaoh is shown on the right of the scene with one arm raised and the other holding an incense burner. In front of him are two altars on which rest water pots cooled by lotus flowers. Facing him are the gods Amun-Rai Min-Kamutef and Isis.

The hieroglyphs describe the decision of Seti I to endow the temple at Buhen with offerings, priests and servants.

This fragmentary round-topped stela consists of twelve horizontal lines of text below a main scene. All texts are incised and all figures are in sunk relief. This stela has been broken into several fragments and has been restored in modern times. The surviving portions are worn and chipped in places. There are no traces of colour.


Incised in 12 lines. The text is dated to Year 1 of Sety I and commemorates temple endowments. For a closely related text see Louvre C57 in Kitchen (1993)

Height 1265 mm, width 830 mm.

Catalog: EA1189
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Egypt
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Stele of Huy


Stele of Huy, Limestone, possibly from the Sakkara site, circa 1 292 - 1 275 BC.

Huy was a scribe of the treasure house of Pharaoh, presumably in Memphis. On this stone he and his wife worship the god Osiris. On the left his parents and other family members do the same. Among them is included Huy's grandfather, who was still working in the Aten Temple at the time of Akhenaten's revolution. The stele is remarkable for its well-preserved colours.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source and text: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden.
Additional text: Wikipedia






 Ramesses II

Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Ramesses II


Statue of Ramesses II

About 1 280 BC

Temple of Khnum, Elephantine, Egypt, Granite

Dynastic rule began in Egypt in around 3000 BCE. Ramesses II was Pharaoh, King of Egypt, between around 1279 and 1213 BCE. He was an extremely successful ruler, presiding over a golden age of prosperity and imperial power across the kingdom. He founded a new capital city in the north called Pi-Ramesses, 'House of Ramesses II' Here he holds a crook and flail and wears a double crown, symbolising his rule over a united country: Upper and Lower Egypt.

Upper part of a red granite colossal statue of Ramses II: the middle part of the statue has not been found, and the left elbow is broken. Aside from the damage to the nose, the sculpture is in good condition and displays very good workmanship. The surfaces are smoothly polished, with the exception of the band on the forehead, the eyebrows, and the cosmetic bands around the eyes, which were left unpolished, probably to facilitate the application of paint.

Catalog: EA67, 1840, 1114.3, Elephantine, Temple of Khnum
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2017
Text: Card, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Exhibition by the British Museum at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra


 Ramesses II
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Ramses II


All the decorated elements of the king's attire are finely chiselled. Ramses II wears a double crown upon a curled wig. The royal uraeus (snake) is fixed at the forehead. A decorated fillet, tied in the back, encircles the wig and ends with two streamers falling on the sides, each supporting a uraeus crowned by the sun disk. A ceremonial beard is attached under the royal chin. A broad collar, fringed by a row of drop-like pearls, surrounds his neck, and a bracelet adorns each of his wrists, the one on the right decorated with an incised 'wedjat' eye, symbol of soundness.

The visage is almost round, with full cheeks. Under the wide forehead, the eyebrows, depicted in raised relief, form two symmetrical arches on the protruding brow-bone. A faint depression separates them from the heavy upper eyelids. The eyes, placed horizontally and framed by cosmetic bands, gaze slightly downward. The narrow root of the nose expands gently toward the base, which is broken. The mouth, slightly slanting, is articulated by well-defined edges. Two little hollows mark the corners of the lips. The rounded chin overlaps the top of the tapering beard. The neck is broad, the chest schematic, with large shoulders. On the arms of the sovereign are engraved his birth and throne names.

Catalog: EA67, 1840, 1114.3, Elephantine, Temple of Khnum
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2017
Text: Card, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Exhibition by the British Museum at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra


 Ramesses II  Ramesses II
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Ramses II


The statue of Ramesses II has two cartouches on the shoulders.
On the left shoulder: 'Ramesses-meryamun - 'Ra is his creator, beloved of Amuni'.
On the right shoulder: 'Usermaatra-setepenra' - 'Strong in Right is Ra, Chosen by Ra'.

The cartouches are surmounted by a double plume flanking a disk, and placed on the hieroglyphic sign for gold. The back pillar bears two vertical columns of a delicately incised hieroglyphic inscription that ends on the lower part of the statue.

Height 1580 mm (including plinth), width 680 mm, depth 520 mm.
Plinth: Height 150 mm, width 520 mm, depth 520 mm.
Weight 495 kilograms.

Catalog: EA67, 1840, 1114.3, Elephantine, Temple of Khnum
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2017
Text: Card, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Exhibition by the British Museum at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra




Titles/epithets include:
Mighty Bull beloved of Maat (Horus Name)
Who protects Egypt and subdues the foreign countries (Two Ladies' Name)
Rich in years and Great of Victories (Golden Horus Name)
'The perfect god, son of Khnum, and born from Anuket, Lady of Elephantine.'

Catalog: EA67, 1840, 1114.3, Elephantine, Temple of Khnum
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2017
Text: Card, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Exhibition by the British Museum at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra


Ramesses II


Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Ramesses II


Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum



Plaster cast of a relief from the temple of Belt el-Wall, Lower Nubia.

The cast depicts a military expedition by Ramesses II (left) and the presentation to the pharaoh of the produce of Nubia and the lands of tropical Africa (right).

On the left, Ramesses II (1279-1213 BC), followed by two of his sons, Amen-her-wenemef and Khaemwaset, is depicted charging against a body of Nubian bowmen, who are shown with black and brown complexions, dressed in leopard skin kilts, and wearing large earrings. A wounded warrior is escorted to a village. On the right, Ramesses II, enthroned beneath a canopy, receives the produce of the southlands, presented by the viceroy Amenemope. These include bags of gold, gold rings, incense, elephant tusks, ebony logs, ostrich eggs and feathers, pelts, bows, hide-covered shields, fans and chairs. The varied selection of live animals includes a lion, giraffe, ostrich, gazelle, leopard, monkeys, antelopes and dogs, as well as oxen with horns artificially deformed and decorated with miniature human heads and hands. Men, women and children are presented as servants and slaves.

The cast was made for Robert Hay by Joseph Bonomi in 1825. The colours were added by Bonomi and are based on the originals as observed by Bonomi and Arundale. The cast was repainted by Douglas Champion in 1952.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Ramses Frieze
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Temple of Beit el-Wali frieze


This is the earliest photograph of the Temple of Beit el-Wali frieze which celebrates the exploits of Ramesses II. It was taken at the very beginning of practical photography, in 1854, on salted paper, from a calotype negative. The original title is 'Bet-Oualli, Sculptures Historiques de la Paroi de Gauche'.

Dimensions: Height 230 mm, width 305 mm.

Photo: John Beasly Greene (American, born France, 1832 - 1856)
Permission: Public Domain
Text: adapted from Wikipedia
Made available by: Google Art Project




Salted paper technique
The salted paper technique was created in the mid-1830s by English scientist and inventor Henry Fox Talbot. He made what he called 'sensitive paper' for 'photogenic drawing' by wetting a sheet of writing paper with a weak solution of ordinary table salt (sodium chloride), blotting and drying it, then brushing one side with a strong solution of silver nitrate. This produced a tenacious coating of silver chloride in an especially light-sensitive chemical condition. The paper darkened where it was exposed to light. When the darkening was judged to be sufficient, the exposure was ended and the result was stabilized by applying a strong solution of salt, which altered the chemical balance and made the paper only slightly sensitive to additional exposure. In 1839, washing with a solution of sodium thiosulfate ('hypo') was found to be the most effective way to make the results truly light-fast.
Text above: Wikipedia

Sphinx Sphinx
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Sphinx


Sandstone falcon-headed sphinx from the 19th Dynasty, about 1250 BC.

One of a pair of sphinxes found in the Great Hall of the temple of Ramesses II.

Catalog: EA13
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Sphinx
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Sphinx


Sandstone falcon-headed sphinx from the 19th Dynasty, about 1250 BC.

Catalog: EA13
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Seti
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Merneptah


Cast from the Tomb of King Merneptah

Valley of the Kings, Egypt

Tomb carved 1 213 - 1 204 BC

Cast made by Joseph Bonomi 1824 - 1834

Catalog: Hay Collection AES
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Shabti   of Merenset
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Shabti of Merenset

Painted wooden shabti of Merenset with a black lappet-wig, a brown modelled face with traced features and a yellow, green and red collar that envelopes the parallel brown hands.

The front of the leg section is inscribed with a column of black painted Hieroglyphs upon a yellow ground outlined in black; the body is white and the back is decorated with a representation of a yellow seed-basket and a red yoke with two pendular nu-pots.

Height 178 mm, width 52 mm, depth 35 mm.

Catalog: EA30803

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: © Card at the Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/ © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Shabti   of Amenmose Shabti   of Amenmose
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Shabti of Amenmose

Blue glazed composition shabti with anthropoid coffin inscribed for Amenmose: the absence of glaze in the recesses indicates that it was self-glazed. Along the vertical band of the blue coffin, and similarly along the vertical band on the shabti's kilt, the owner's name and titles are painted in black (probably manganese). The style of Amenmes' linen dress, his curled duplex wig, and the position of his hands flat on the skirt date the figure to the Nineteenth Dynasty.

Unlike the coffin, the shabti is not in the shape of a mummy, and does not hold the usual agricultural implements for work in the Underworld. Instead he appears in the dress of daily life, perhaps to signal his rebirth as a 'sah'. Amenmose is equipped for eternity by the protective texts running around his coffin. Four horizontal bands of text, a format introduced in the New Kingdom, wrap around the coffin like mummy bandages and describe Amenmes as revered before a number of gods, including the Four Sons of Horus.

For eternal protection, his image on the coffin holds the 'tyt'-girdle of Isis in his right hand, and the 'djed'-pillar of stability of the god of the Underworld, Osiris, in his left. Nut, the winged goddess of heaven, is painted across the chest of his coffin.

Height 292 mm (coffin), width 112 mm (coffin)
Height 285 mm (coffin lid), depth 125 mm (combined)
Height 228 mm (shabti), width 75 mm (shabti) depth 45 mm (shabti)


Inscription Translation:

Words spoken by the Osiris, fanbearer on the right of the king, royal scribe, overseer of the Shrine [lit.: Great House], overseer of the treasury of the Temple of Amun, Amenmes of Thebes.
Revered before Imsety, the Osiris, overseer of the treasury, Amenmes of Thebes.
Revered before Anubis, foremost of the god's booth, the overseer of the treasury, Amenmes of Thebes.
Revered before Duamutef, the Osiris, overseer of the treasury of Amen, Amenmes of Thebes.
Words spoken: revered before Horus the mighty protector of his father, Amenmes of the Treasury.
Revered before Hapy, the Osiris, Amenmes.
Revered before Anubis the mighty who is in the place of embalming, the Osiris, overseer of the treasury, Amenmes.
Words spoken: revered before Kebehsenuef, (Amen)-mes of Thebes.
Words spoken: revered before Thoth,the seat of Ra, the Osiris (Amen)-mes.
Right line. Words spoken by Nut the great: He is (my) son, (the) Osiris, Overseer of the Shrine [Great House] in the Temple of Amen-mes of Thebes.
Left line. Words spoken by Geb: He is (my) son, the Osiris, Overseer of the Treasury, Amen-mese, (the) offspring of Geb, ruler of the two lands.

Curator's comments: The abundant tomb shabtis of the New Kingdom were often stored in wooden boxes, while other shabtis, of a type in vogue since the end of the Seventeenth Dynasty, were placed in their own miniature anthropoid coffins. Most such shabtis with coffins were made of wood or clay, but this exceptional example, belonging to a man of some administrative status, is in glazed composition.The meaning of this coffined shabti is probably to be distinguished from that of the standard shabti that served until the late New Kingdom as a double of the deceased. Neither figure nor coffin carry the usual shabti agricultural implements nor the typical shabti inscription, Chapter 6 of the 'Book of the Dead'. Since the provenance of these coffined shabtis is generally unknown, determining their meaning is difficult. Some examples have been found as votive deposits.

Catalog: Thebes(?) EA53892
Photo (left): Don Hitchcock 2015
Photo (right): © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: © Card at the Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Shabti   of Djehutymose

Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Shabti of Djehutymose


Limestone, height 242 mm, Hieroglyphic text on apron and kilt.

The Theban Tomb TT32 is located in El-Khokha, part of the Theban Necropolis, on the west bank of the Nile, opposite to Luxor. It is the burial place of the Ancient Egyptian official, Djehutymose.

Djehutymose (or Tuthmose) was a chief steward of Amun and overseer of the granaries of Upper and Lower Egypt during the reign of Ramesses II (19th Dynasty). His wife Esi (Isis) is shown in the hall and the passage of the tomb.

The British museum image of this shabti, in the online catalog, has printed on its base:

(57341)
Shabti of Thutimes, King's scribe and overseer of the cattle, wearing ordinary costume.

Catalog: EA57341 Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: © Card at the Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/ © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0, Wikipedia




Shabti   of Djehutymose

Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Shabti of Djehutymose


Painted limestone, height 228 mm, ordinary dress.

This shabti shows Djehutymose represented as a living individual, as in a portrait.

Catalog: EA9447
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: © Card at the Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/ © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0, Wikipedia




elephant ivory venus
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Female Figurine


Elephant ivory female figurine. Qau & Badari, III:XXXVI, 3f

Ivory female figurine from Qau, Dynasty 19, with no arms and legs below knees missing. Ivory in friable state, face chipped away. Short layered wig carved at side of head on front of figurine.

length 128 mm, width 37 mm

Catalog: III:XXXVI, 3f, U.C. 26084
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Petrie Museum
Text: Card at the Petrie Museum




Paser Paser
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Paser


Sandstone statue of the viceroy Paser presenting a vase with a ram's head, from the 19th Dynasty, about 1250 BC.

From Abu Simbel, the Great Temple.

Found in two pieces in the interior of the temple. Paser, the second viceroy of that name, held office in the middle years of the reign of Ramesses II. He left statues and inscriptions at Abu Simbel and was responsible for repairing structural damage at the Great Temple caused by an earthquake.

Catalog: EA1376
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Henutmehyt Henutmehyt
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Henutmehyt


Wooden inner-coffin of Henutmehyt with gilt and glass decoration from the New Kingdom, Thebes / Luxor.

Henutmehyt was the name of a Theban priestess, of Ancient Egypt who lived during the 19th Dynasty, around 1250 BC. The extensive use of gold, and the high quality and detail of her coffin indicates that Henutmehyt was a wealthy woman. On the front of the coffin are the figures of Isis and Nephthys, the protectors of the deceased.

Height 187 cm, width 46 cm.

Catalog: EA48001
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: © http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/ and card at the Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Additional text: Wikipedia


Henutmehyt
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Henutmehyt


Closeup.

Catalog: EA48001
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum


Henutmehyt
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Henutmehyt


Inner mummy-case (left) and inner coffin (right) of Henutmehyt.

The mummiform inner mummy-case was placed inside the inner coffin, directly over the wrapped body. It comprises a mask made of cedarwood, plastered, gilded and with inlaid eyes, and an openwork cover for the legs, made from the wood of the native sycomore fig.

The cover retains its backing of linen, originally coloured purple. It is decorated with a figure of the goddess Nut and scenes of the deceased adoring deities.

( The reddish colouring of the gold on both parts of the mummy-board may be the effect of the oxidation of impurities in the gold, most likely from copper, although red coloured gold may be created by a mixture of 75% gold and 25% copper, so it may have been deliberate - Don )

Henutmehyt was buried in a set of gilded coffins and a gilded mummy board. A wooden shabti box which was painted with a scene showing Henutmehyt adoring two of the canopic deities and receiving food and wine from the goddess Nut. There were four shabti boxes in total, containing shabtis made of both wood and pottery.

A funerary papyrus was included in her burial as well. The text is Spell 100 from the Book of the Dead and is written rather unusually in red and white ink. The papyrus was placed over the outer wrappings of the mummy. These types of texts became more common after the New Kingdom.

Magic bricks made of unbaked mud must have been placed in niches in the burial chamber. Henutmehyt's magic bricks were well preserved. They supported amuletic figures: a Djed pillar, the figure of Anubis, a wooden mummiform figure, and a reed. The bricks themselves were inscribed with magic spells.

A wooden box, painted black and containing fowl wrapped in linen and meat possibly from a goat may also belong to the funerary equipment of Henutmehyt. The box contains enough food for a meal.

Catalog: EA48001
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: © http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/ and card at the Museum, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Additional text: Wikipedia


Henutmehyt Henutmehyt
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Henutmehyt


Inner mummy-case of Henutmehyt, showing the complete mummy-case in the photo on the left.

Catalog: EA48001
Photo (left): Don Hitchcock 2015
Photo (right): Google Arts and Culture Project, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: © http://culturalinstitute.britishmuseum.org/ © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


Henutmehyt Henutmehyt

Left: Inner mummy-case and outer coffin of Henutmehyt from the left hand side.

Right: Outer coffin of Henutmehyt shown from the right hand side.

Catalog: EA48001
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum


Henutmehyt
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Henutmehyt


Close up of the face of Henutmehyt on the wooden inner-coffin.

Catalog: EA48001
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum


Henutmehyt
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Henutmehyt


Close up of the face of Henutmehyt on the inner mummy-case.

As noted above, the reddish colour of the gold may be the effect of tarnishing of impurities in the gold, or it may be deliberate by making a gold alloy with 25% copper.

Catalog: EA48001
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum


Henutmehyt Henutmehyt Henutmehyt
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Henutmehyt


Gilded outer coffin of Henutmehyt.

The coffins of Henutmehyt, originally placed one inside the other, were all anthropoid (human-shaped). Like tomb-statues, this type of coffin was believed to provide the spirit with a substitute body if the mummy should perish. The physical form, with crossed arms, together with the inscriptions and the figures of protective gods and goddesses all emphasised the identification of the dead person with the god Osiris. The implication was that, like him, they might experience resurrection.

Henutmehyt's outer coffin provides a magnificent idealised image of the dead woman, adorned with her full wig. A collar is spread over the breast, and below it hangs a pectoral (chest) ornament flanked by protective wedjat eyes. The sky-goddess Nut spreads her winged arms protectively across the body, and the hieroglyphic text immediately below invokes her.Vertical and horizontal bands divide the remainder of the lid into compartments which are occupied by figures of the Sons of Horus and the goddesses Isis and Nephthys. Further divine figures are painted along the sides of the coffin.

Height 206 cm, width 59 cm.

Catalog: EA48001
Photo (left and centre): Don Hitchcock 2015
Photo (right): Google Arts and Culture Project, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: © http://culturalinstitute.britishmuseum.org/ © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


Henutmehyt
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Henutmehyt


Painted wooden shabti-box containing eight painted shabtis (four in each compartment); Hieroglyphic text on sides and top naming Henutmehyt. The scenes on the sides depict Henutmehyt adoring Osiris and three of the sons of Horus.

In this view, Henutmehyt adores Duamutef and Qebehsenuef, two of the sons of Horus ( Imsety on the left and Duamutef on the right - Don ). The scene on the other side shows the deceased offering a tray of food to Hathor of the Sycamore Tree. This is returned by the goddess, who also supplies a libation (liquid offering), symbolic of purification. Henutmehyt wears the flowing robe, long wig and lotus flower that was fashionable when she lived.

Height 345 mm, width 180 mm, length 335 mm.

Catalog: EA41549 (EA41550 on the Museum card)
Photo : Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at museum display, http://culturalinstitute.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


Henutmehyt Henutmehyt
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Henutmehyt


On the other side of the box she receives food and water from a goddess (probably Nut) in a tree. ( note the difference of opinion by scholars as to the identity of the goddess, and whether Henutmehyt is giving or receiving (or both) food and water - Don )

This box, one of four made for Henutmehyt is in the form of two conjoined shrines, although it contains only one internal cavity. The four sides are inscribed and painted with scenes of a funerary character: on the front, Henutmehyt adores Duamutef and Qebehsenuef, two of the sons of Horus (Imsety and Duamutef on the left and right), and on the back she receives food and water from a goddess (probably Nut) in a tree.

This image, a version of the vignette of spell 59 in of the Book of the Dead, is common on shabti boxes, perhaps because the shabtis' agricultural labours were a stage in the process of procuring food for the dead.


Early shabtis were stored individually in the tomb inside miniature coffins, but in the New Kingdom these were superseded by specially designed wooden boxes, the shape of which reproduced the form of a shrine. The adoption of this type of container probably reflects the shabti's character as a hypostasis (the underlying or essential part of anything as distinguished from attributes; substance, essence, or essential principle) of its owner, who was supposed to have acquired divine attributes after death. This box, one of four made for Henutmehyt (see cat nos. 15, 38, 54 and 134 ) is in the form of two conjoined shrines, although it contains only one internal cavity.

The four sides are inscribed and painted with scenes of a funerary character: on the front, Henutmehyt adores Duamutef and Qebehsenuef, two of the sons of Horus (Imsety and Duamutef on the left and right), and on the back she receives food and water from a goddess (probably Nut)in a tree. This image, a version of the vignette of spell 59 in of the Book of the Dead, is common on shabti boxes, perhaps because the shabtis' agricultural labours were a stage in the process of procuring food for the dead.

Catalog: EA41549 (EA41550 on the Museum card)
Photo : Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Taylor (2010)


Henutmehyt Henutmehyt Henutmehyt
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Henutmehyt


Shabti from the tomb of Henutmehyt.

Catalog: EA41549 (EA41550 on the Museum card)
Photo : Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum


Henutmehyt Henutmehyt Henutmehyt
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Henutmehyt


Shabti from the tomb of Henutmehyt.

Catalog: EA41549 (EA41550 on the Museum card)
Photo : Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum


Henutmehyt
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Henutmehyt


The complete shabti box and the eight shabti.

Catalog: EA41549
Photo : © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum




The shabti figure emerged as an important item of funerary equipment in the early Middle Kingdom. A spell to activate these images as substitutes to work on behalf of the dead is first attested in the Coffin Texts, as spell 472.

In the New Kingdom this text was incorporated into the book of the dead as spell 6, and was often inscribed on the body of the figure. This group, EA41549, is part of a set of forty shabtis that was provided for the Chantress of Amun, Henutmehyt.

They are typical of their period in representing the owner holding agricultural tools for use in the process of food production in the afterlife. An abbreviated version of the spell is written on the body.

Originally each person possessed only one or two shabtis, but during the New Kingdom the number gradually increased, the forty belonging to Henutmehyt reflect not only this trend, but also her high status.

Text above: Taylor (2010)


Henutmehyt Henutmehyt
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Henutmehyt


Another shabti box made for Henutmehyt.

Catalog: EA41548
Photo : Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum


Henutmehyt
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Henutmehyt


This large black-varnished wooden chest of sycomore fig wood with two lids was made to hold the four canopic jars of Henutmehyt.

The canopic jars contain a bundle of organs within a coffinette.

Height 482 mm (chest), length 432 mm (chest), height 406 mm (each jar)

Catalog: EA51813
Photo : Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum


Henutmehyt
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Henutmehyt


Another shabti box made for Henutmehyt.

During the New Kingdom (about 1550-1070 BC), the number of shabtis to be included in a tomb increased considerably. The miniature coffins in which they had been kept became large boxes, decorated with funerary scenes. One of the scenes on the box of Henutmehyt shows her adoring the sons of Horus, who protected the internal organs of the deceased. This motif is perhaps more suited to the decoration of canopic chests.

Faience is the material most commonly associated with shabti figures, though Spell 6 of the Book of the Dead specifies that they should be made of wood, as these are. Although all the figures are similar, there are small differences in details such as the treatment of the necklaces and bracelets. Some are inscribed with the full version of the spell to activate the figures to carry out agricultural work, while others have only an abbreviated version.


Dimensions of the box: height 350 mm, width 192 mm, length 340 mm, weight 2 kg.

Catalog: EA41548
Photo : © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0, http://culturalinstitute.britishmuseum.org/




Henutmehyt Poster



Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Henutmehyt


Text of the poster at left:

New Kingdom, circa 1279 BC - 1213 BC.

Burial assemblage of the lady Henutmehyt

This rich assemblage of objects was found by inhabitants of the Theban West Bank in or before 1904. The majority of the pieces were purchased for the British Museum between 1905 and 1913. From the style of the individual items the burial can be dated to the 19th Dynasty, probably to within the reign of Ramesses II (about 1279-1213 BC).

The inscriptions entitle Henutmehyt 'Lady of the House' (i.e. married woman) and Chantress of Amen-Ra in the temple of Karnak. This was a common title, but Henutmehyt's comprehensive burial outfit, and the fine craftsmanship and rich gilding of her coffins indicate that she was of very high status. The surviving fragments of her mummy indicate that Henutmehyt had a maximum height of 158 cm, and wore her own hair, which was reddish-brown in colour.

Studies of lung tissue from the jackal-headed canopic jar revealed that Henutmehyt suffered from several illnesses including emphysema, indicating that she died at an advanced age. She also suffered from anthracosis (a build-up of carbon deposits in the lung), an ailment prevalent in ancient Egypt, where open hearths polluted the living environment with smoke.

Photo on the poster: Interior of the inner coffin of Henutmehyt showing hair and soft tissue from the mummy.

Photo: Poster, British Museum
Rephotography: Don Hitchcock 2015
Text: Poster, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Magical Bricks
During the New Kingdom (about 1550-1070 BC), magic bricks with sockets were placed in tombs, in order to protect the deceased from the enemies of the god Osiris. They were positioned at the four cardinal points of the tomb (north, east, south and west). An amulet was set in each socket, standing so it faced the opposite wall. Each brick was inscribed with a portion of Spell 151 of the Book of the Dead. This spell identifies the deceased with Osiris, Isis and Nephthys.

The four sons of Horus offer their protection; the amuletic figures of the magic bricks specifying the ways in which they will defend the deceased from attack. The brick beside the west wall contains a faience djedpillar, representing the backbone of Osiris. It was thus an amulet which promoted stability and endurance. The brick by the east wall is surmounted by a clay figure of the jackal god Anubis. He presided over the mummification process, and protected the necropolis (cemetery). The mummiform figure by the north wall is identified in the spell as a shabti. This amulet offers to perform agricultural tasks on behalf of the deceased. The brick by the south wall contains a reed to hold a torch, burning the path of those who wish the deceased harm.
Text above: Taylor (1999)

Henutmehyt
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Henutmehyt


All bricks are of unfired clay, only practical when they are in the sealed environment of a dry tomb, not exposed to the weather.

EA41544: Clay magical brick with a reed. Height 40 mm (brick), width 108 mm, length 165 mm. Reed height 195 mm.

EA41545: Clay magical brick with a representation of Anubis. Height 25 mm, width 92 mm, length 145 mm

EA41546: Wooden shabti on a brick, 145 mm high.

EA41547: Clay magical brick with a djed-pillar amulet, height 43 mm (brick), width 95 mm, length 110 mm. Amulet height 58 mm.


Catalog: EA41544, EA41545, EA41546, EA41547
Photo : Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at museum display, http://culturalinstitute.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


Sandstone stela of Pharaoh Seti I
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Setau


Sandstone stela of the Egyptian Viceroy of Kush, Setau, from Wadi Halfa, 1200s BC (19th Dynasty).

Abyssinia, or Ethiopia, was known as Kush to the ancient Egyptians.

Setau is shown on the right pouring a libation over an altar and offering incense to the goddess Renenutet, represented as a serpent seated upon a 'neb' basket on a stand.

The cartouche with the name of Ramesses II is inscribed behind the goddess.

Behind her on the extreme left is a cartouche with the prenomen of Ramses II. All figures are in sunk relief and the texts are deeply incised. The relief is well preserved and there are no traces of colour.

Height: 530 mm, width 470 mm, thickness: 155 mm

Catalog: EA1055
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Sandstone stela of Pharaoh Seti I
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Setau


Sandstone stela of the Egyptian Viceroy of Kush, Setau, from Wadi Halfa, 1200s BC (19th Dynasty).

Abyssinia, or Ethiopia, was known as Kush to the ancient Egyptians. Setau is shown on the right pouring a libation over an altar and offering incense to the goddess Renenutet, represented as a serpent seated upon a 'neb' basket on a stand.

The cartouche with the name of Ramesses II is inscribed behind the goddess.

Behind her on the extreme left is a cartouche with the prenomen of Ramses II. All figures are in sunk relief and the texts are deeply incised. The relief is well preserved and there are no traces of colour.

Height: 530 mm, width 470 mm, thickness 155 mm.


Catalog: EA1055
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Sandstone stela of Pharaoh Seti I
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Amunerhatef


Limestone stela of Amunerhatef showing adoration of Osiris.

On this stela from a chapel at Abydos, the god Osiris is depicted seated before a table of offerings. The hieroglyphic text in the lower section contains Amunerhatef's request to the god to provide funerary offerings for his own ka.

(Limestone stela inscribed with 2 registers of hieroglyphs mentioning Imn-r-hat-f, circa 1 250 BC.)

Height: 280 mm, width 190 mm.


Catalog: Abydos, EA345
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




Egypt
Nineteenth Dynasty: 1 292 BC - 1 187 BC

Rama


The Stele of Rama, Limestone, Thebes / Luxor site, ca 1225 -1200 BC (19th Dynasty)
Rama was the high priest of Amun in the Karnak Temple. He is pictured below left in an attitude of prayer.

Above in the centre are the seated gods Re-Harakhty (with a falcon head, one of the forms of the god Horus) and Osiris. On the far left is the goddess Isis, with the goddess Maat on the far right.

Seated in the middle are the gods Horus (with the head of a falcon) and Anubis (with a jackal head) on the right, with Pharaoh Amenhotep and the queens Ahmes-Nefertiti and Anhotep on the left. These deified rulers were considered the guardians of the Theban cemetery.

Photo: Don Hitchcock 2014
Source and text: Original, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden.
Additional text: Wikipedia








The Twentieth Dynasty

1 187 BC - 1 077 BC

The Pharaohs of the 20th dynasty ruled for approximately 110 years. The dates and names in the table are mostly taken from 'Chronological Table for the Dynastic Period' in Erik Hornung, Rolf Krauss & David Warburton (editors), Ancient Egyptian Chronology (Handbook of Oriental Studies), Brill, 2006. Many of the pharaohs were buried in the Valley of the Kings in Thebes (designated KV). More information can be found on the Theban Mapping Project website.

Background

Pharaoh Setnakhte was likely already middle aged when he took the throne after Queen Twosret. He ruled for only around 4 years when he was succeeded by his son Ramesses III. Egypt was threatened by the Sea Peoples during this time period, but Ramesses III was able to defeat this confederacy from the Near East. The king is also known for a harem conspiracy in which Queen Tiye attempted to assassinate the king and put her son Pentawere on the throne. The coup was not successful in the end. The king may have died from the attempt on his life, but it was his legitimate heir Ramesses IV who succeeded him to the throne. After this a succession of kings named Ramesses take the throne, but none would truly achieve greatness.

Tomb robberies

The period of these rulers is notable for the beginning of the systematic robbing of the royal tombs. Many surviving administrative documents from this period are records of investigations and punishment for these crimes, especially in the reigns of Ramses IX and Ramses XI.

Decline

As happened under the earlier Nineteenth Dynasty, this group struggled under the effects of the bickering between the heirs of Ramesses III. For instance, three different sons of Ramesses III are known to have assumed power as Ramesses IV, Ramesses VI and Ramesses VIII respectively. However, at this time Egypt was also increasingly beset by a series of droughts, below-normal flooding levels of the Nile, famine, civil unrest and official corruption – all of which would limit the managerial abilities of any king.

The power of the last king, Ramesses XI, grew so weak that in the south the High Priests of Amun at Thebes became the de facto rulers of Upper Egypt, while Smendes controlled Lower Egypt even before Ramesses XI's death. Smendes would eventually found the Twenty-First dynasty at Tanis.
Text above from Wikipedia.


family tree

Family tree of the Twentieth dynasty of Egypt, which was the last of the New Kingdom of Egypt, from Wikipedia.



Name Horus (Throne) Name Consort Burial Years Dates Comments
Setnakhte Userkhaure Tiy-merenese KV14 3 1 187 BC - 1 186 BC  
Ramesses III Usermaatre-Meryamun Iset
Ta-Hemdjert
Tiye
KV11 31 1 186 BC - 1 155 BC  
Ramesses IV Usermaatre (later Heqamaatre)
Setepenamun
Duatentopet KV2 6 1 155 BC - 1 149 BC  
Ramesses V
Amenhirkhepeshef I
Usermaatre Sekheperenre Henutwati
Tawerettenru
KV9 4 1 149 BC - 1 145 BC  
Ramesses VI
Amenhirkhepeshef II
Nebmaatre Meryamun Nubkhesbed KV9 8 1 145 BC - 1 137 BC  
Ramesses VII
Itamun
Usermaatre Setepenre Meryamun   KV1 7 1 136 BC - 1 129 BC  
Ramesses VIII
Sethhirkhepeshef
Usermaatre Akhenamun     1 1 130 BC - 1 129 BC  
Ramesses IX
Khaemwaset I
Neferkare Setepenre Baketwernel KV6 18 1 129 BC - 1 111 BC  
Ramesses X
Amenhirkhepeshef III
Khepermaatre Setepenre Tyti KV18 4 1 111 BC - 1 107 BC  
Ramesses XI
Khaemwaset II
Menmaatre Setpenptah Tentamun KV4 30 1 107 BC - 1 077 BC  


Table of Twentieth Dynasty Rulers, data chiefly from Wikipedia




Egypt
Twentieth Dynasty: 1 187 BC - 1 077 BC

Osiris


Painted wooden statue of Osiris, circa 1 170 BC.

The figure depicts the god wearing his characteristic feathered crown and grasping the royal crook and flail sceptres. The green colouring of the skin reflects the god's associations with vegetation as a metaphor for rebirth. This statuette contained the rolled funerary papyrus of the lady Anhai.

Height 635 mm.

When this uninscribed Osiris figure was examined, the funerary papyrus of Anhai (registration no. 1888,0512.222.7) was found in a recess in the base. Figurines of this type are the forerunner of the more common and later Ptah-Sokar-Osiris figures, and take the form of a mummiform figure of the god of the dead; the presence of this deity in the tomb would help ensure resurrection and new life after death.

This example is particularly elaborate and wears the feathered atef crown, a floral collar, and an elaborately decorated red covering on the upper body, with a decorated white covering from the waist down. This bright colouring can also be seen in depictions of Osiris in tomb paintings from the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Dynasties. As in many other depictions, Osiris' face is green - the colour of vegetation, another symbol of new life associated with this deity. Some other figurines of this type are painted black, symbolising the fertility of the earth with which Osiris was associated. He carries the crook and flail of kingship.

Catalog: Thebes, EA20868
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/, © Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0




obelisk door lintel
Twentieth Dynasty: 1 187 BC - 1 077 BC

Hori


Sandstone lintel of the viceroy Hori, a fragment of a large lintel consisting of the torus roll and cornice with incised scenes and texts. In the centre of the lintel are the cartouches of Ramses III. On the left side the viceroy of Kush Hori and the mayor of Buhen, Harmose kneel in adoration.

Several columns of text are inscribed with a prayer to the king on their behalf. The lintel is battered about the edges, with the loss of the upper left corner and the right side which was recovered separately. The surface is worn in places so that the text is difficult to interpret. There are no traces of colour. The Egyptian Viceroy of Kush, Hod, and the mayor of Buhen, Harmose, kneel in adoration. A similar scene would have been carved on the right side.


A portion of the right side of the lintel was discovered separately and is now unlocated (Smith, 2006)

From Buhen, early 1100s BC (20th Dynasty) ( i.e. during the reign of Ramesses III, now thought to be March 1186 to April 1155 BC - Don )

Statements of adoration for the pharaoh are given in the columns of hieroglyphs flanking the royal cartouches.

Height 534 mm, length 965 mm (max).

Catalog: EA66667
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, British Museum
Text: Card with the display at the British Museum, http://www.britishmuseum.org/,© Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Additional text: Wikipedia




Sarcophagus of Pharaoh Ramesses III
Twentieth Dynasty: 1 187 BC - 1 077 BC

Ramesses III


Sarcophagus of Pharaoh Ramesses III, from his tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

Granite, 18 tons. Height 180 cm, length 305cm, width 150 cm.

This pink granite cartouche-shaped box once contained the nest of coffins of Pharaoh Ramesses III. The lid is now in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. The outside of the box is engraved with the seventh and eighth chapters of the 'Book of Amduat', and the inside with the first chapter of the 'Book of Gates.' Certain parts of these texts were very carelessly engraved.


Catalog: Sully Rez-de-chaussée Crypte d'Osiris Salle 13, D 1
Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée du Louvre
Text: http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/sarcophagus-box-ramesses-iii




Sarcophagus of Pharaoh Ramesses III
Twentieth Dynasty: 1 187 BC - 1 077 BC

Ramesses III


The decoration of this monolithic cartouche-shaped block is organised around the large winged figure of Isis at the feet of the deceased (on the flat front of the sarcophagus) and that of Nephthys at his head (on the rounded back of the box).

Both long sides are engraved with scenes taken from the "Book of Hidden Chambers" (the Amduat). The decoration begins near the figure of Nephthys at the king's head, with the seventh hour of the Amduat along the right side (looking from the head to the feet), and continues with the eighth hour along the left side.

Around the base of the coffin is the palace façade motif - a relic of Old Kingdom sarcophagi (cf. sarcophagus of Abu Roach, Room 14). The inside of the box features large figures of deities from the first hour of the 'Book of Gates'.


Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée du Louvre
Text: http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/sarcophagus-box-ramesses-iii


Sarcophagus of Pharaoh Ramesses III
Twentieth Dynasty: 1 187 BC - 1 077 BC

Ramesses III


The Egyptians imagined the sun to travel underground in a boat during the twelve hours of night. The nocturnal sun was represented as a man with a ram's head. Every 'hour' (i.e. every stage of his journey) was marked by a particular event: at the seventh hour, for example (right-hand side of the coffin), the sun confronts the snake Apophis, the 'evil serpent' of Egyptian texts, who tries to stop him on his course.

The sun-god is portrayed armed with knives to destroy him. The left-hand side represents the eighth hour: on the lower register, the creatures of the Underworld are depicted, sitting on the ideogram for fabric (one of the essential funerary offerings). The texts referring to the sun's night-time journey ('Litanies of the Sun', 'Amduat', 'Book of Gates', 'Book of Night', etc.) were composed during the New Kingdom for the exclusive use of the king.

As the pharaoh was associated with the sun god and his perilous journey through the night, the royal tomb featured representations of this recurrent event. After the New Kingdom, some of these texts (especially the Amduat) were also used for the benefit of priests and soldiers who were at the peak of their influence at that time (see the papyri in vitrine 4).


Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée du Louvre
Text: http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/sarcophagus-box-ramesses-iii




Sarcophagus of Pharaoh Ramesses III Sarcophagus of Pharaoh Ramesses III
Twentieth Dynasty: 1 187 BC - 1 077 BC

Ramesses III


Slapdash work

Only two scenes from the Amduat are illustrated on the sarcophagus of Ramesses III, which is characterised by extraordinary carelessness on the part of the scribe who engraved the introductory text to the seventh hour (to the right of the figure of Nephthys).

The phrases (and even individual words) are cut up into incoherent elements that cannot be understood without referring to the correct version featured in other tombs. This poor reproduction, without subsequent checking, suggests that, in the late New Kingdom, the monarchy was no longer treated with the respect it had once inspired.


Photo: Don Hitchcock 2015
Source: Original, Musée du Louvre
Text: http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/sarcophagus-box-ramesses-iii









References

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  2. Anderson W. , 1989: Badarian Burials: Possible Indicators of Social Inequality in Middle Egypt During the Fifth Millennium B.C., Department of Anthropology McGill University, Montreal April, 1989, a thesis submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts
  3. Breasted J. , 1903: Jewellery from the Tombs of Egypt, The Biblical World, Vol. 22, No. 1 (Jul., 1903), pp. 64-66, published by The University of Chicago Press, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3140533.
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  8. David R., 2002: The Experience of Ancient Egypt, Rutledge, 9 Sep. 2002 - Social Science - 216 pages
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