Stela dedicated to divine cats of Re and
Place of excavation: Deir el-Medina
19th dynasty
Black ink, traces of preliminary sketch in red
A round-topped stela of painted limestone,
in the lower register depicting an
unidentified couple worshiping "The Cat of
the god Re", and "The Great Cat, the
peaceful one, in his perfect name of Atum"
- two aspects of the same solar divinity,
both shown facing each other in the upper
Inv. no. AN1961.232
Former Armytage collection
The page was last modified on April 28th 2013
The page was compiled by Lenka Peacock using the sources below.
I would like to express my thanks to Dr. Liam McNamara, Assistant Keeper for
Ancient Egypt and Sudan, and Amy Taylor, Senior Picture Library and Publications
Assistant, both of the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of
Oxford, for their kind comments and assistance with the updating of the page.
All the photographs are reproduced with kind permission of the Ashmolean Museum,
University of Oxford.
The photographs were taken by Lenka Peacock, Jana Tejkalová, Philippa Robins and
Su Bayfield.

2. Museum's own labels
3. McDowell, A.G.: Village life in ancient Egypt : laundry lists and love songs
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1999.
The Egyptian collections of the Ashmolean Museum are one of the most extensive in England.
Objects from all periods of Egyptian civilisation from prehistory to the 7th century AD are
represented in the collection. Although several objects were part of the original collection,
most holdings come from British excavations in Egypt between 1880s and 1930s.
Oxford University excavations in Southern Egypt and Sudan from 1910 added a substantial set
of Nubian material. The Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan houses a vast collection of
papyri, ostraka, writing boards and wooden labels, including the Bodleian Library's ostraka
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The Ashmolean Museum,
Driving a bull to pasture
Place of excavation: Deir el-Medina
19th dynasty
A figured ostrakon of a herdsman dressed in a pleated
linen kilt walks behind a "neg" - bull. In his left hand he
holds a short crook and the end of a double tether
which was probably attached to the bull's nose ring. In
his raised hand he perhaps holds another crook. Above
the bull's back is an inscription in hieratic. Above are a
pair of copulating goats and two kids.
Inv. no. AN1938.915
Former Nina de Garis Davies collection
Bibl. J. Vander d'Abbadie, loc. cit. pt. 3, pp. 22-27,
pls. IX-XIII.
List of receipts for various commodities
Place of excavation: Deir el-Medina
19th dynasty, about 1213-1204 BC
Fragment of a papyrus inscribed in hieratic
script with accounts concerning the crew of
workmen and sundry individuals. It lists
deliveries of food, tools, wood, and
metalworking carried out for them. Most of
the entries begin with a date in the season of
peret (winter).
Inv. no. AN1960.1283
Gift of Sir Alan Gardiner
[Reporting by] the workman Wen-nefer (and) the
work[man...saying] there be given to me the hut (of)
my father [...] in the presence of:
the chief workman Khonsu
the deputy [...]
[...] And they said to me, "Give him grain [...for the
construction] that he made in it." List of the silver
[given to him...]
box: 2 deben, 3 oipe of it belonging to me
[...from his?] wood
And I made for him a staff [...from?] his wood
and [...] hen-box, X deben [...]
(Translation from McDowell,1999,180)
Amennakht's poem ostrakon
Place of excavation: Deir el-Medina
20th dynasty
Limestone ostrakon inscribed in hieratic by
scribe Amennakht with two poems composed by
him. This side contains a poem praising the city
of Thebes:
"the bread there is finer than
goose-fat doughnut, her water is finer than
The red dots above the lines are
"verse points", which were used to indicate
rhythmic units in literary texts, possibly similar
to line-breaks in a poem.
Inv. no. ANAsh.H.O.25
Gift of Sir Alan Gardiner
Hieratic papyrus
Place of excavation: Deir el-Medina
20th dynasty
A letter from the draughtsman Hormin to his father
the draughtsman Hori. Hormin asks Hori to
"...speak with the leaders, to call up that servant
of yours, so he may give me a hand in the drawing:
I am alone, for my brother is ill. Those of the right
side have carved a chamber more than the left..."
This papyrus reveals how a decorative scheme
(here, carving and painting a royal tomb) was usually
executed. Two gangs of masons, draughtsmen, and
sculptors - "the left" and "the right" - would have
set to work on opposite sides of the royal tomb.
Hormin came from a family of draughtsmen; the
posts were often passed on from father to son.
Inv. no. AN1958.112
Gift of Sir Alan Gardiner
Hieratic ostrakon
Place of excavation: Deir el-Medina
20th dynasty
The ostrakon is inscribed with hieratic signs,
numbers and unusual marks. These marks probably
represent personal names, and the numbers
record the amount of items (probably pots) made
by or delivered to them.
Inv. no. ANAsh.H.O.1093
Gift of Sir Alan Gardiner
Stela of Amenpahapy
Place of excavation: Deir el-Medina
20th dynasty
This stela was dedicated by the Servant in the
Place of Truth Amenpahapy. The six serpents
represent the cobra-goddess Meretseger. The stela
may have been placed in a
rock-cut shrine along the
path from Deir el-Medina to the Valley of the Kings.
Inv. no. AN1945.15
Gift of Nina de Garis Davies
Dispute over a hut
Place of excavation: Deir el-Medina
Mid 20th dynasty, Ramesses III
Fragmentary limestone ostrakon with a hieratic inscription recording the resolution of a dispute over a
hut inherited by the workman Wennofer. The writer of the text, Wennofer, claims ownership of his
father's hut, which at the time was being lived in by another workman, who also claimed rights to it.
They both went to see the chief workman Khonsu and his deputy to settle their dispute. It was
decided that Wennofer had the right to the hut but that he should compensate the other party for any
improvements made while he lived there. There follows a list of items made in payment.
The inscription is not written in ink. It is unusual in being cut into the limestone and filled with blue
frit, a technique used for formal hieroglyphic inscriptions. Perhaps Wennofer set this ostrakon into a
wall of the disputed hut like a stele to publicize his claim to the building.
Inv. no. ANAsh.H.O.655
Gift of Sir Alan Gardiner
Photo by Jana Tejkalová 2008
Photo by Jana Tejkalová 2008
Photo by Jana Tejkalová 2008
Photo by Jana Tejkalová 2008
Photo by Jana Tejkalová, 2008
Photo by Lenka Peacock, 2006
Photo by Philippa Robins 2010
Photo by Philippa Robins 2010
Figured ostrakon
Place of excavation: Thebes
The head of a bubalis (Antelope bubalus)
Inv. no. AN1938.913
Bought in Thebes
Ex Nina de G. Davies collection
Presented in memory of Kate Griffith
Photograph by Su Bayfield
"Identity marks and their relation to writing in New Kingdom Egypt" is a
PhD research programme, planned for May 2011 - August 2015, at University of Leiden under
leadership of Dr. Ben Haring. The objectives of the research are to explain the shapes and nature of
the marks themselves, and their affinity with writing and to assess precisely how the marks were used
in the workmen’s community – in addition to writing.
The international conference "Pot marks and other non-textual marking systems from prehistory to
present times" was held in Berlin on December 7-9, 2012. The main focus of the event, organized by
the Department of Egyptology and Northeast African Archaeology of Humboldt University Berlin within
the framework of a research linkage between Humboldt University and Warsaw University, funded by
the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, was on
pot marks in Ancient Egypt, but other marking systems
from Egypt and elsewhere were discussed as well.