Corpus of Labels


CORPUS of Inscriptions on
Stone Vessels


(This link is not active on the Internet site: no permission to use the high resolution image of National Geographic, Italia, January 2003)

Minshat Ezzat palette
(Manshiyet el-Ezzat)
Minshat el Ezzat t. 82 (area A1 - sect. 10)
h. cm. 23,6

Salem Gabr el Baghdadi: La Palette decorée de Minshat Ezzat ... una palette decorée en contexte archaeologique, Archéo-Nil 9, 1999, 9-11.
El-Baghdadi, El Said Nur, in: Cialowicz, Chlodnicki, Hendrickx, Origin of the State... 2002, Proceedings in press (2004)
S. El-Baghdadi, Proto and early Dynastic necropolis of Minshat Ezzat, Dakahlia province, Northeast Delta, Archéo-Nil 13, 2003
Z. Hawass, National Geographic Jan 2003, Italy (full page photograph of the decorated side of the palette)


... ... ...
Salem Gabr El Boghdadi, chief archaeologist of the area and the responsible of the pre mentioned excavations is fascinated by the unearthed alabaster, shiest and arduous utensils, the plates in different size and shapes, but the masterpiece is that beautiful knife bearing Den's serekh. Den was the fifth king of the first Dynasty that ruled Egypt and the serekh was the shape that included the king's name and was developed to become the cartouche. Some of his remains are actually displayed in Cairo Museum. Hor, on top of the serekh is represented as a falcon to express the fact that Den was a powerful king and that he, as a ruler, was strong and his reign a particularly characteristic and prosperous. Amongst the unearthed objects a cylindrical seal bearing Hieroglyph inscriptions that might represent the owner's title or his position, the signs smr-sk3mr.sb3 might probably design the combination of the soul and the ba according to the SCA archaeologists who worked hard to unearth properly these valuable items. The discovered palettes are very few and don't exceed ten, but the actually unearthed palette is exclusively beautiful in its designs as it represents animals. The palette was restored as it was broken into four parts, but thus repaired it looks almost complete. The rare symbols inscribed denote its reference to the Old Kingdom. The inscriptions reveal a hunting dog pursuing an elegant animal that looks like a jumping gazelle trying to run away from the dog. That dog is also followed by an animal looking like a gazelle but in a peaceful attitude; this attitude, according to the area manager Ibrahim El Saidi, denotes peace and tranquility that were characteristic of the reign during this period. The two animals represented in a unique position are the symbol of the unification between Upper and Lower Egypt; the two animals facing each others hold their tails in an upright position. Their long necks interlace in a mythological appearance; this embrace is a significant sign of the unification. The animals' nails are reproduced with the other animal represented at the lower part of the palette, its an animal with long ears and a tail lying at his back and standing in a very peaceful position. A feather that looks like a palm tree is depicted to the furthest right of the palette whose general shape is the representation of a heart completely intact apart from the upper left part that is missing. The palette still needs a long study in order to interpret properly the significance of the pre mentioned symbols, as they might relate a specific event or simply a story like the other ten discovered palettes referred to the same period and found at various dates. Generally speaking the interpretation of the SCA archaeologists is that the palette relates a certain struggle that had existed in the area and was followed by unification and peace. This struggle occurred during Den's regency known as king of Upper and Lower Egypt during the first Dynasty whose founder was the famous Mena, Mena palette is actually exhibited in Cairo Museum in a prominent place. Dr.Gaballah Ali Gaballah, Secretary General to the Supreme Council checked on the site the progress of the works there and said " we hope to discover more and more tombs related to this period that goes back to five thousand years. We also hope that we can find more exclusive and rare findings related to that important period of our history as excavations reveal the consecutive and continuous progress of civilization over these important spots in Egypt's land. We can easily notice, through the perpetual use of a specific necropolis the evolution steps occurred in the Ancient Egyptian Civilization. I praise the efforts of the SCA employees in the Egyptology Department supervised by Dr.Mohamed El Soghayar". Monshaet Ezzat, El Senbellawein, Dakahlia governorate is only part of a series of important archaeological sites covering various ruling Dynasties periods. Tell El Rabee is a 230 feddans surface including pharaonic relics and monuments such as temples, compartments, granite naos, mastabas, rams necropolis with huge granite sarcophagi.etc. Tell El Balamoun, 158 feddans was Diospolis Parva during the Ptolemaic reign and was mentioned in important documents, in Edfu texts she was the capital of Behdet Nome. Many important sites cover not only Dakahlia governorate but also the whole Delta area and are subject of great interest from the SCA and the foreign working missions acting in Egypt.


Note that these palettes, which have already been hypothesized as possibly provincial (Delta) items, are generally considered to be early Naqada III date, thus (late-) predynastic;
the occurrance here with objects of Den should mean that this piece was already about 200 years old when it was buried. (F.Raffaele)