|The World Museum, Liverpool
|The royal cubit was the main measurement unit used in ancient Egypt to establish the length of objects or short distances.
It measures 52.4 cms, which is approximately the length of an adult man's forearm from his elbow down to his fingertips.
It comprised 7 palm widths each of 4 digits of thumb width (28 digits to the cubit) (Shaw,1995,174).
On this particular rod the divisions of the cubit are marked on average at 1.9, 3.8 and 7.6 cms. One edge of the rod has a
sloping surface. One side of the object is incised with a hieroglyphic inscription written from right to left and containing a
funerary offering formula to Amun-Re, Ptah and Thoth on behalf of Nakhy, a tomb-builder from Deir el-Medina.
Translation: An offering which the King gives to Amun-Re and to Ptah, Lord of the Two Lands, and to Thoth, Lord of Divine
Words, great god who dwells in Hermopolis, so that they may give life, prosperity and health, and a good lifespan, following
their Ka's, for the Ka of the Servant in the Place of Thruth, Any.
This workman Nakhy should not be mistaken with the workman Nakhy, son of Bukentef, who lived at the end of the 19th
dynasty or with the latter's grandfather, the chief craftsman Nakhy, who comes from a different family.
The workman Nakhy and his wife are known from following objects now in other European museums:
- stela no. 50010 in the Turin Museum (M .Tosi and A. Roccati, "Stele e altre epigrafi di Deir el Medina. (n.
50001-50262) : Pubblicate con il contributo del Consiglio nazionale delle ricerche" (Turin, 1972), 43-4)
- a limestone tomb-relief in the British Museum no. 281 (Bierbrier, M L, "Hieroglyphic Texts from Egyptian Stelae etc.",
Part 10, London, BMP, 1982)
- funerary cones discovered in pit 1138 at Deir el-Medina (B. Bruyère, "Rapport sur les fouilles de Deir el Médineh;
(1928)" (Cairo, 1929), 12-16).
|The expanded and newly displayed Ancient Egypt gallery at Liverpool’s World Museum, that cost £1.8 million to be
refurbished and opened at the end of April 2017 after a year and a half long closure, is now the UK’s largest display of its
kind outside of the British Museum in London. The gallery space tripled in size to approximately 1000m². The upgrade
enabled objects that have never been showcased before or that have been kept in store rooms for decades to be displayed
and although the plan promised to treble the number of objects on view, it stayed at some 1,300. The gallery space, under
the theme of “Ancient Egypt : A Journey Through Time”, is divided into 7 chronologically and thematically defined sections :
|Cartonnage first appeared during the 1st Intermediate Period around 2181–2055 BC. It was produced using layers of linen
or papyrus stuck together with resin and then covering them with plaster. It was moulded to the shape of the body to
produce mummy cases or mummy masks. Once the material was dry it was painted.
The materials used to produce cartonnage changed over time. In the Middle Kingdom it was common to use plastered linen,
during the Third Intermediate period, linen and stucco,during the Ptolemaic period, old papyrus scrolls and during the Roman
period, thicker fibrous materials.
More information: http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/wml/collections/antiquities/ancient-egypt/item-623208.aspx
|According to Peet the stele was "almost perfectly preserved", was well-executed and finely coloured.
Meretseger, the "One who loves silence", was worshipped as the protective goddess of the Theban necropolis, often depicted
in the form of a snake or as the Theban peak itself.
This stele was on display in the 1930's and was almost certainly destroyed in 1941. Peet examined it while preparing his
guide to the Gallery and his notes of the inscription are used here (Newberry-Peet,1932,53,11).
|This limestone votive stele was also dedicated to the goddess Meretseger. The single scene is framed within a line border
following the curve of this short, wide stela (possibly the upper half only). Meretseger is depicted with the body of a woman
and a snake's head, she is seated on a throne facing right before a table heaped with offerings. In her right hand she
holds the ankh-sign and in her left is the was-sceptre. She wears a tall, double-plumed crown. Around the scene there are
5 columns of vertical hieroglyphic inscription, giving Meretseger's epithets.
Translation of the text: Meretseger, the Peak of the West, Lady of the Sky, Mistress of all the gods.
The technique of the stele execution was described as good - the lines were clearly carved and the scene was well
|There are 3 very comparable fragments in the Louvre collection that appear to be from the very same vessel. Two of those
are on display in the gallery 5 in the glass case no 1, where they are displayed along other figured ostraka from Deir
el-Medina. E12968A and E12968B+C - which were excavated at Deir el-Medina from an undecorated tomb 1095 within
the 18th dynasty cemetery by Bernard Bruyère during his first season at the settlement.
All fragments seem to display Greek influence. Could the vessel be of Minoan or of Mycenaean origin? Could it have come to
Thebes and later to Deir el-Medina as part of imported goods? Or was it Minoan influence, that is now being documented in
modern comprehensive comparison study of wall paintings across several New Kingdom sites, reflecting on Egyptian artistic
production? Perhaps chemical analysis of the fragments would answer some of these intriguing questions.
"The illuminated one, the Osiris, the Draughtsman, Pay, the justified, he speaks: O, these shabtis, if one counts, if one
reckons the Osiris, the Draughtsman, Pay, the justified, to do all works that are to be done there in the underworld – now
indeed obstacles are implanted therewith – as a man at his duties, to cultivate the marsh, to irrigate the riverbank fields,
to ferry by boat sand of the east to the west, ?, if one counts, if one reckons ... ‘here I am’ … Pay".
sHD Wsir sS qd PAy mAa-xrw Dd.f i.Swbty ipn ir ip.tw ir Hsb.tw Wsir sS qd PAy mAa-xrw m kAt nbt irrt im Xrt-nTr ist
Hw sdbw im [m] s r Xrt.f srwd sxt r smHt wdbw r Xnt Sa [r] iAbt r imnt iry ip.tw iry Hsb.tw ... m.k ... PAy
There are 2 men with the name Pay and the title "draughtsman" known from Deir el-Medina. Pay(i), son of Ipuy(v), and his
grandson, also the draughtsman Pay(ii), son of Prehotep (Davies,1996,180). This shabti figure could have belong to either
|On the left side the kneeling man is facing 3 vertical columns of hieroglyphic inscription.
Line 1: <for> the Ka of the Servant of the Place of Truth
Line 2: Pa-hy-Hat, the justified,
Line 3: and his son, the Servant...
Line 1: <n> kA n sDm-<aS> m st-mAat
Line 2: pA-xy-HAt mAa-Xrw tr
Line 3: i sA.f sDm-<aS>
The reading of the name is not straightforward and the identity of the person mentioned is not secured so far. The available
corpus of Deir el-Medina texts does not mention any Pahyhat with the title "sDm m st mAat" - the "Servant in the Place of
Truth". We know of one Pahyhat with a title "water-carrier" - "pA-xy-HA.t in-mw" - within the lines 4-5 of the hieratic
text of an ostrakon now at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford O.Ashmolean 56, who is known from this particular text dated to
the year 3 of Ramesses IV (around 1152 BC) - 20th dynasty - where Pahyhat delivers grain and vegetables with his
well-known contemporary, Pentaweret. Richard Mandeville lists him in his Masters study on water-carriers at Deir el-Medina
written at Liverpool University (Mandeville,16). Pahyhat in the text on this stele gives his title as the "Servant of the Place
of Truth" and not as a "water-carrier", so although this gives us prove that individuals with this name did exist at Deir
el-Medina, this must be a different Pahyhat, one we have not recovered any additional information on as yet. Some
Egyptologists suggest his identify as being that of PAy, the Servant in the Place of Truth, who was active at Deir el-Medina
from the reign of Horemheb to early in the reign of Ramesses II (around 1319-1280 BC).
The date of the stele, as suggested on stylistic grounds, coincides with the 19th dynasty (about 1290-1270 BC).
Gina Criscenzo-Laycock points out the manner in which the raised arms of the man are portrayed. Unlike in most
contemporary votive stelae from Deir el-Medina, where the worshipper's arms are raised with a gap in between them, this
stele shows them almost overlapping. In her article (Criscenzo-Laycock,2011,123) the author lists 2 more stelae with the
same feature, both in the British Museum (BM EA278 and BM EA374). The author gives the space restriction as a possible
reason for the gap in between the raised arms to be missing or it might be possible that the listed stelae are all work of
the same artisan. The author dates this stele on stylistic grounds to the reign of Ramesses II comparing it to 5 stelae from
the Turin collection (50030, 50034, 50036, 50037, 50066), where she finds certain specific stylistic elements to be
shared among all 6 stelae.
The stele was acquired by Henry Wellcome at an auction at around the turn of the 20th century. There is a small piece of
the auction label remaining on the reverse of the object. No details on exact provenance or the date of its discovery are
known today (Criscenzo-Laycock,2011,123)
More information: http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/wml/collections/antiquities/ancient-egypt/item-299364.aspx
|I visited the galleries in the summer 2015 during a trip with P.A.D.E.S. - Plymouth and District Egyptology Society - with 5
other members of the Egyptian Society Taunton, on whose committee I work in the capacity of webmaster. In the Liverpool
galleries I photographed 6 objects that originally came from Deir el-Medina and that were on display at the time. The
Museum currently holds 4 additional objects whose provenance is now researched as Deir el-Medina - they are added to the
list below. I also added, for this list to be exhaustive, 2 additional objects that were unfortunately destroyed during the
1941 bombing and thus are no longer a part of the Museum's collection.
It is interesting to note that the majority of the objects listed below - 8 out of 12 - originated from Deir el-Medina and
were a part of the original Joseph Mayer collection with which he opened his Egyptian Museum in 1852. This was a very early
date for objects to be coming from the settlement as any scientific excavation of the site had not yet been undertaken. The
objects must have been either illicitly dug up by the locals at the beginning of the 19th century or/and collected by
Bernardino Drovetti, French Consul-General, or Henry Salt, British Consul-General, during the 1810s or by John Gardner
Wilkinson, the pioneering English Egyptologist, who recorded information about several Deir el-Medina tombs in 1820s. Mayer
had bought the collection in 1839 from Joseph Sams, a bookseller from Darlington, who himself had purchased it between
1830 and 1838 as part of the Egyptian collection of Charles Bogaert, a businessman from Bruges (see Sams, Joseph:
"Ancient Egypt: Objects of Antiquity forming part of the Extensive and Rich Collections from Ancient Egypt, brought to
England by, and now in the possession of, J Sams", London, 1839, pl.22,2). It has been further suggested that Bogaert
received his collection as repayment of a debt from Jean-Baptiste de Lescluze, a Belgian shipowner and merchant who had
collected the material in Egypt between 1824 and 1825 (NML,2018).
The remaining 4 objects were part of a large donation of some 200 objects from the Trustees of the Wellcome Institute in
I would like to express my thanks to the Liverpool World Museum and its staff, especially to Dr Ashley Cooke,
Head of Antiquities & Curator of Egyptology, who kindly gave me permission to include the museum's finds from Deir
el-Medina on my website and supplied me with high quality images of the objects and to Maureen Smith, PA to Director of
World Museum, for her assistance.
All images are © of the National Museums Liverpool
Photography Lenka Peacock and the National Museums Liverpool
|This limestone ostrakon is inscribed on both sides. The obverse side contains 10 horizontal lines of hieratic inscription, the
reverse side contains 9 horizontal lines of hieratic inscription. Both black and red inks are used. It was suggested by
Professor Jaroslav Černý that both sides were inscribed by the same hand (Černý, Gardiner, "Hieratic Ostraca" (1957,
plates 63 and 63a). It has been noted that the content is a sundry accounts of supplies and work done, i.e. in connection
with a coffin and several feasts. Professor Mark Collier of the University of Liverpool provided a brief account of the
inscription in 2013: “The recto opens with four lines specifying items given to an unnamed individual at a series of festivals
(festivals of Taweret, Hathor and Meretseger). Lines 5 onwards are repeated instances of giving (but without specified
occasion), all probably as recompense for some activity. The verso starts with a section (verso lines 1–5) of memorandum of
items connected to work of 'my three lads', possibly people within a workshop. Verso line 6 end is a memorandum concerning
a bed which ends up with Anupemheb, who saws off some wood for use in a coffin”.
|This limestone ostrakon is inscribed on both sides: the obverse (pictured) contains 9 horizontal lines of hieratic script in
black ink, the reverse contains further 7 lines of the script, mostly in black ink, except for the beginning of line 4, which is
written in red. The account is providing a list of manufactured wooden objects that were produced
for a client by a carpenter. The receipt gives values of the items in deben of copper. Most of the items are of funerary
nature - 2 outer anthropoid coffins, 1 inner anthropoid coffin, 1 shabti box, blue pigment and another coffin. The overall
value of the goods is 112 deben.