Choice Museum Pieces

A page continually 'in the making…'


Cairo Museum - a very old palette in the form of Khnum, the Ram-Headed Creator God. The is a hint of pattern on the surface, but it is indistinguishable. There is small hole, presumably for hanging the palette.


Cairo Museum. Some call this the "Towns Tablet," others the "Libyan Tribute Tablet." In either event, it was found in Abydos and hails from the end of the pre-pharaonic period, c.3000BC. It shows a number of towns, each represented by an animal (baboon, scorpion, hawk, etc.) and a standard, into thefortified walls of which has been driven a pick -presumablyindicating successful attack,. The name of each city is written in hieroglyphs inside the city wall…


This is the reverse of the Libyans Tribute Tablet, showing why some believe it to be about tribute from subjugated towns. The top tier shows bulls, then next are donkeys, then rams, and at the bottom are what appear to be olive trees accompanied by a hieroglyph representing Tjemehu, name of the ancient Libyan tribes.


Cairo Museum, New Kingdom, (remains of) a mirror with a handle having a lotus at the tip, and a cow-eared representation of Hathor, goddess of love amongst many other things.

British Museum, a composite faience amulet, showing the ankh symbol of life, the jded pillar (backbone of Osiris), the staff of Anubis, and a small god with a solar disc holding two staffs - or are they snakes? Altogether, a splendind object…

British Museum. These two items were found in one of the concealed shafts of Khufu's great pyramid, Akhet Khufu ("The Horizon of Khufu"). They appear to have been left by the builders, whether by accident or on purpose is unclear. But, surely in the time honoured tradition of builders leaving their mark…

The granite ball was evidently a hammer. The copper implement is more problematic. Its shaft has rivets, suggesting that it had been attached to a rod, perhaps a wooden rod. Was it the rod of authority? Or, was it designed to catch hold of marking strings as used by builders even to this day. Perhaps the rod could be position upright with the string resting in the recess between the horns, indicating a constuction level? We may never know, but the fact that it was made of copper is itself intriguing: copper was evidently rare, militating against the widespread use of copper chisels for carving out and finishing stones. These highly skilled neolithic builders may have used stone tools after all…


British Museum.Ebony label for King Den, c.2950BC, Dynasty 1, from Abydos or Saqqara. Shows Den running, top right, as part of hisseb-hedfestival (royal jubilee.) Den's serekh is just left of centre, with the falcon above. The hieroglyphs below are a hand ('D') and water ('N') spelling out DeN, there being no vowels in hieroglyphs. Den is shown to the right of the serkh seated with his crown of lower and upper Egypt and his regalia.


Louvre. Bedouins dying from famine. 5th Dynasty, reign of Unas (2375-2345BC)? Unusually frankstele showing the severe effects of famine on two men.

Louvre Djed

Louvre Djet. Funerary stela from Abydos with a masteful carving of Djet's serekh, First DynastyNote how the serekh is moved left of centre to allow room for the falcon's tail, so giving prominence to the falcon.


Qheen Tiy, wife of Amenophis III, 1391-1353BC, mother of Akhenaten. She may have lived for some years at Akhetaten (el-Amarna), where she may have died. Soapstone.

D K Hitchins 2015