(I) OBJECTS FROM THE TOMB OF A PRE-DYNASTIC
(II) SOME EARLY EGYPTIAN SEAL-CYLINDERS
By A. Sayce.
[Extracted from PSBA, 22, 278-80.]
Last winter I purchased the contents—or rather what the Luxor dealers had left of the contents—of a tomb which had been found by a couple of fellahin at Tukh, a little to the north of the tomb of Menes at Negada, and near the prehistoric cemetery excavated by Prof. Petrie and Mr. Quibell. The contents include the characteristic polished red and black ware which survived into the epoch of the First Dynasty. One of the vases is 51½ cent, high, with a circumference of 68 cent, at the rim and 39 cent, at the foot, and inside it there has been incised, while the clay was still soft, two trees or plants, running the whole length of the vase and facing one another, one of which was pronounced by Dr, Schweinfurth to represent a palm. On the exterior of another vase of the same ware a strange-looking animal, which may be intended for a lion, has been scratched. Along with the red and black ware was found a globular vase of coarse grey potter covered with holes, as well as alabaster vases and a red and black bowl. Among the smaller objects are a fossil sea-urchin, on the underpart of which "prehistoric" animals and other signs have been drawn, a small alabaster vase, which has never been hollowed out, slate plaques or "palettes," one of tiny size, while another is of this shape: [symbol] a small plaque of marble with a curious nick in one of its sides, and a "prehistoric" animal's head, similar to two I have procured at El-Kab, but of considerable size and adorned on the back with the figure of a man and an unknown character. The most important objects, however, are (1) a number of small plaques of ivory and slate which have been used for inlaying a box, (2) the head-dress of a human or divine figure, and (3) part of one of the shells which are frequently met with in the "prehistoric" graves of Egypt. The head-dress is of black stone with a perforation for attaching it to the head of a figure; at the back it is inlaid with an arc of ivory, under which lines are drawn to represent hair. On the front is an inscription, exceedingly well engraved, which is given as No. 1 in the plate. The greater part of the same inscription is [p.279] repeated on the shell (No. 2 in the plate) where, however, the mace and hawk are more rudely drawn. The king, whose cartouche is thus twice repeated, is new to Egyptian history, as likewise are his titles: "the Horus-hawk" and "the mace." He is not yet even "King of Upper Egypt." But the cartouche itself, of which this is the earliest example, in no way differs in form from that of later times, and so throws no light on the origin of the hieroglyph. Underneath the hawk the character intended must be the diadem kha and not the cake t; to the left of the mace—which, it must be observed, has the "prehistoric" shape—we have the uraeus. The diadem and uraeus are omitted on the shell. How the name of King S was pronounced it is impossible to say.
No. 3 in the plate represents a small calf's head of brown stone, also found in the tomb of S, on which is a character that is rather early Babylonian than Egyptian. It resembles, in fact, the early Babylonian form of dim "to make." No. 4 is a plaque of ivory, on which again is a character which reminds us of the cuneiform syllabary. But the human figure with the tail of the leopard's skin floating out behind it is that of the primitive Egyptian "palettes" of which copies are given in the last No. of the Proceedings.
I have added some early Egyptian seal-cylinders to these
relics of King Menes' predecessor. Nos. 1 and 2 are two which were obtained
respectively by myself and Mr. Somers Clarke at El-Kab last winter. They both
came from the same place, the south-western corner of the old city, where a
portion of the town was built
over a "prehistoric" cemetery. I had already obtained a fine alabaster bowl from the same locality. My cylinder (No. 1) is of black stone, 2 cent, in length, and also in diameter. The hole is small. The inscription is important as it shows that I was partially right in the suggestion I made in my paper on "the Beginnings of the Egyptian Monarchy" in the P.S.B.A. xx, 2. The characters enclosed between the ò (or ¬¬) do indeed represent proper names, though not necessarily royal names. The double ò consequently takes the place of the determinative of "man," but not of the cartouche. This is proved by my El-Kab cylinder, which plainly reads: "The double of Tadet" or "Dtat." On Mr. Somers Clarke's cylinder there is only one ò or ¬; can it represent a "man"? This cylinder is also of black stone, and resembles mine [p.280] ill shape and size, though the hole is larger. I read the inscription upon it: hon Neferi-un-n-n "the servant of Neferi-unen," a name with which it is tempting to compare that of Un-nofer or Osiris "the good being." It will be noticed that in each case the ka of the dead (?) man is seated with a table of offerings (or rather sacrificial cakes) before him.
Cylinder No. 3 was bought last winter at Medinet el-Fayyum by H, S. Cowper, Esq., of Yew Fields Castle, Hawkshead, who has kindly allowed me to publish it. It is very interesting as it reads she n Ata D.A , "the lake-nome of Ata." Ata was the great-grandson of Menes, and the cylinder is evidence that it was he to whom the creation of the province of the Fayyum was originally due. The proportions of the cylinder are the same as those of No. 1, and the perforation is small.
No. 4 is a large cylinder of white stone of the archaic Babylonian type which I bought at Elephantine some years ago. It is nearly 4 cent, long and is 2 cent, in diameter. Two small holes have been bored from either end, but without meeting; perhaps the owner died before the work was finished. At all events the fact shows that the cylinder is of local manufacture in spite of its Babylonian appearance. The hieroglyphics are rudely cut and read: "Nekheb-khen(?)-s, the governor of the two lands,"—a title not met with elsewhere. Then we have the name and picture of a dog unsh(u) and of another animal, perhaps the ichneumon, called zenef.
The last cylinder (No. 5) was bought by me last winter at Luxor. It had been found in a ''prehistoric" grave at Negada. It is 3½ cent, long and 2 cent, in diameter, and is of a soft grey stone with a small hole. The hieroglyphs are carefully engraved, and the human figures may possibly suggest what was the origin of the swastika, at any rate in the Levant.
I have some other seal-cylinders of the archaic Egyptian period, which I hope to publish hereafter, as well as a copy of one which I found this summer in the Antiquarian Museum at Edinburgh.