TRANSLITERATION AND TRANSLATION:
(Right column: 'events')
sp 2 Hp
[the second (feast of) Apis] <1>
sp tpj aS xtjw
[the first time of (receiving, supply, journey to/for)
Lebanon fir-wood] <2>
Hrw Nbw (Xt)
[Feast (boat) of the Golden body of Horus (The Domain Hrw-Nbw-Khet
(Central upper line)
King's Name: Nswt Bity Qa'a-Nebty
(Centre to left, 3 columns)
HAtj THnw jdt-Xt
[Product: Prime Quality essence of TeHenw
(oil) for the body (? Xt)] <4>
Hwt-jt Hrw, Hwt jpw-Mnw [(Produced in) the House
of the Horus Oil-press (in/of) the Sjp-House (not "Min's temple
in Akhmim")] <5>
[(by) the MedjeHw Imy-Mer(j)] <6>
1: I don't think there was a fixed periodicity for this feast:
the PHrr (race) of Hapis/Hjpw (the Apis bull) occurs towards
the end of Den's reign (Palermo Stone, 3,12) and a second race of Hapis
falls in the 14/15th year of Ninetjer (Palermo Stone 4,10); in the 9th
year of the same ruler there is a reference to an earlier race of the
living (?) Hapis (Palermo Stone 4,4). The oldest source for this race
is a stone vessel of Hor-Aha (first race of Hapis) in: W.K. Simpson,
'A Running of Apis in the reign of Aha and passages in Manetho and Aelian',
Orientalia 26, 1957, 139-142; (=) P. Kaplony, MDAIK 20, 1965, pl. 1,
nr. 13. (See the photo in the upper left corner of this
On Apis/Hep god also see: T.A.H. Wilkinson, Early Dynastic Egypt,
2: On ash (aS) wood Cf. J. Kahl, Frühägyptisches Wörterbuch,
I, 2002, 92-94, fir ("Zilizische Tanne"), and the following
ref. quoted by Kahl: R. Germer, Flora des pharaonischen Agyptens, SDAIK
14, 1985, 7f.; Burleigh, JEA 74, 1988, 303; WB I, 228.1-6. Also cf.
E.-M. Engel, Das Grab des Qa'a, 1997, 443, 463-464, 470; P. Kaplony,
IAF I, 1963, 306.
Bastiaan Lieffering, in a pers. communication for which I am grateful
to him, alternatively proposes: “Dear Francesco……thanks for the
aS reference on the stone vessel fragment.
However here the aS refers to the pine resin (or fat/oil of the pine
tree) of Pinus pinea L.(Italian Stone Pine) that was one of the sacred
oils/fats that were burned in offers. As when pine resin is strongly
heated it evolves heavy white vapour possessing an agreeable aromatic
odour. A new book (Die “7-Heiligen Öle” und andere Öl- und Fettnamen
by Basma Koura, Aachen 1999) deals with these matters extensively. The
pine vapour/smoke must originally have served as a fumigant against
insects as it contains a large dose of natural insecticide. In a near
future article I will show with conclusive proof that aS is pine and
not cedar. The word Mehri/Mehru in Assyrian is fir (Abies cilicica L.),
but beside the other arguments that Dr. A. Nibbi brings forward in a
large amount of her publications (latest in DE 56, 2003, 69ff.) arguing
aS to be pine and mrw to be cedar, I have not come with proof that mrw
would be cedar ".
On Khetjw (xtjw) = Lebanon Terraces, cf. Engel, op. cit., 463. E.A.
Wallis Budge, An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary, I, 537 (refers to
K. Sethe, ZAS 1907, 134: xtjw aS, in Rekhmira TT 100, would be Lebanese
3: Cf. W.M.F. Petrie, Royal Tombs II, 1901, pl. VIIIA, 6; (=)
P. Lacau, J.P. Lauer, P.D. IV, 1, 1959, ink plate IV,1 (inscription
on a fragment of stone vessel of Qaa, lower
left corner). P. Kaplony, IAF III, 1963, 144ff., IAF III, 228, 256,
279, 738-9; also cf. E.M. Engel, op. cit., 1997, 336ff.
4: Further examples of essences and products from the same Tehenw
material are known on Den's and Qa'a's
labels. For this oil see P. Kaplony, IAF I, 1963, 316; id., IAF
II, 1017-1018, note 1643. As Dr. Engel also mentions, this label's entry
has to be translated as 'good quality' or 'prime quality' oil, but not
'best' ot 'top quality', for it is marked as a HAtj, not tpj-Hat
On this oil cf. also J.E. Quibell, The Tomb of Hesy, 1913, pl. 21 (tpj
HAt anD tHnw); H. Altenmüller, Das Olmagazin..., SAK 4, 1976, 1-29.
5: On Hwt cf. P. Spencer, The Egyptian Temple. A Lexicographical
Study, 1984, 21ff.
On *Hwt-jpw-Mnw: Cf. P. Kaplony, IAF I, 299; J. Kahl, Frühägyptisches
Wörterbuch, I, 2002, 27; E.-M. Engel, Das Grab des Qa'a, 1997,
463-464, 448 (and note 508), 435 (and note 491).
Note that the reading of the sign (Gardiner R23) as Mnw rather than
z (Gardiner O34, the door-bolt) is very doubtful. The reading of jpw-Mnw
as Akhmim or as Min (-god's temple in the town of) Akhmim is accepted
by Kahl (loc. cit.), and with doubts by E.M. Engel (loc. cit.) and by
K.P. Kuhlmann, Materialen zur Archaölogie und Geschichte des Raumes
von Achmim, SDAIK 11, 1983, 20, after P. Kaplony, IAF I, 299.
A good clue for this reading is provided by a fragmentary seal impression
from Qa'a's tomb (Engel, op.cit., 1997, p. 365f., fig.
181) where the *p resembles the one of Qaa 3 label (cf. link below).
Also Engel's (op. cit., 1997, 405ff., n. 464) sealing with Mnw-nb.f
(cf. Kaplony, IAF III, 335) show a mnw hieroglyph which resembles
the z door-bolt. This is not uncommon a graphic variant in ED
On the other hand the seal impression Kaplony, IAF III, 763 (2nd dyn.)
shows the different writing of the hieroglyphs Mnw and z
in the same inscription.
Therefore the correct reading might also be simply 'Hwt-Sjp'
(sjp, zip = to inspect, to control, to examine, cf. WB IV, 36.5, and
also cf. WB IV, 36.12, 'to fundate a building', and ibid., 36.14, 'a
god'); palaeographically, see the z hieroglyph in the label Qaa
3 and compare it with Kaplony, IAF III, 366 [Tjaj-zp(.f) (or Ba-zp.f
) god, from Merka's tomb at Saqqara, S3505, also from the reign of Qa'a;
cf. Helck, Thinitenzeit, 154, 236; Kahl, Das System..., 1994, 641].
Thus it should be read 'House of inspection/fundation' or similarly
(another possibility: Hwt-zj). See also Qaa
15 for the oil-press determinative in Hwt-Sjp and Qaa
16b. The Hwt-Sjp (Hwt jpw-Mnw) is not attested on
sealing or other (i.e. non-labels) sources from Qaa's reign or other
periods' objects (including other kings' labels).
Finally it should be remarked (as my friends J. Degreef and J. Dean
have kindly pointed out to me) that the alleged "p" in this
writing is at least suspect: the writing could be Hwt-jz (but
jz is never attested in that form) or an entirely different one.
In my opinion, there are good chances that the rectangular sign is a
determinative (cf. it in Qaa 3).
6: In my opinion the name of this functionary is to be read jmy-Mery
or jm.i Mer(w) rather than simply Merj as proposed by E.M. Engel.
This label should date towards the end of the reign of Qaa.
Its layout is new (right column for the events, upper line with royal
name above 2/3 columns for the name of the product, the producing establishment
and the name and title of the official responsible for the production;
but see also the earlier label Qaa 20) and the name of the functionary,
the "carpenter" jmj-Merj/Mery, is also unattested in
earlier labels (on which we find Henwka, Nefer and others).
Criterions to determine the relative chronological position of a label
within a reign are:
- Layout of the label (cf. P. Kaplony, IAF I, 1963, 284ff., IAF II,
980ff., IAF III, pl. 143-145; E.M. Engel, op. cit., 1997, 433-436)
-- Palaeography (comparison of the shape of hieroglyphic signs)
1) titles and especially names of the mentioned individuals, either
King titles (?) (e.g. Qaa-Nebty, Sen-Nebty, Sehotep-Nebty) or functionaries's
names (Henwka -who is alrady attested under Semerkhet, cf. Semerkhet
labels 1, 2-, Nefer, Imj-Mery);
2) the matching of "year-events" with inscriptions on stone
vessels and other objects (also with the entries provided by 5th Dynasty
Annals; Cairo 1 fragment has preserved the first year of the reign of
Qa'a at the left end of line 3; this reign should have occupied the
whole remaining part of the original Annalistic slab up to the left
end of line 3).
For this question with regards to the reign of Horus Den, cf. G. Godron,
Etudes sur l'Horus Den..., 1990 (he assumed -cf. p. 171f.- that the
year-events are not to be related to specifical years of reign but to
the whole reign of each king; this is highly questionable IMO; Godron
also believed that O.K. Annals were probably not compiled after the
year- and feast-labels, which were buried in the tombs, thus inaccessible
to the later scribes).
---- Archaeological context (if undisturbed, it could be determined
whether a labelled jar or bag has been stored in an early phase after
the tomb construction was accomplished, or closer to the death of the
It is noteworthy that this label (as Qaa 16b and many small ink-inscr.
labels) have been found out of magazine QN6 (QN6N) that is at the base
of the north façade of tomb Q (cf. E.-M. Engel, op. cit., 1997,
fig. 168, passim).
Francesco Raffaele, January 3, 2004
Thanks to Bastiaan Lieffering, John D. Degreef and Jack Dean for their
valuable comments on my translation.
: Nice photo of this
label by Jon Bodsworth: See the 2nd image of this