Granite block with usurped royal name

From Bubastis, originally inscribed for Senwosret III of the 12th Dynasty, 1878-1841 BC; reinscribed for Ramesses II of the 19th Dynasty, 1290-1224 BC

Red granite block with a temple inscription of Senwosret III, reused by Ramesses II

This block is probably part of an architectural element such as an architrave. The original inscription contains the cartouche of the Twelfth-Dynasty king, Senwosret III. It has been almost obliterated by an inscription naming Ramesses II, added around 600 years later.

Both inscriptions are in sunk relief but the red pigment is a modern addition. The earlier inscription was chiselled off, leaving a slight dip in the surface of the stone. The area was left rough, and the new inscription added. The later hieroglyphs are larger and coarser than the originals. They lack the crisp effect produced by the polished surface of those of Senwosret III.

This reuse was not an attempt to obliterate the monuments of the earlier king. Building materials were often recycled in order to cut costs. It was especially true in the Delta, where hard stone was not locally available. Reused dressed blocks from an earlier monuments were far more economical than new blocks quarried at Aswan and brought north by boat. This block was perhaps reused again in a monument of one of the Libyan kings at Bubastis, whose influence may not have extended as far as Aswan.

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More information


E. Naville, Bubastis (London, Egypt Exploration Fund, 1891)

R. Parkinson, Cracking codes: the Rosetta St (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)

M.L. Bierbrier (ed.), Hieroglyphic texts from Egyp-6, Part 10 (London, The British Museum Press, 1982)


Height: 97.500 cm
Width: 100.000 cm

Museum number

EA 1102


Gift of the Egypt Exploration Fund


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