Granite lid of the sarcophagus of Setjau

From Thebes, Egypt
19th Dynasty, around 1230 BC

Viceroy of Nubia in the reign of Ramesses II

Setjau was the viceroy of Nubia in the reign of Ramesses II (1279-1213 BC). The Ramesside period saw Egypt expanding once again into the lands to the south (Nubia or Kush). Several large settlements (such as the towns of Amada and Dabenarti) first emerged in this period. It is clear that the office of the viceroy of Nubia was a very important position at this time, overseeing Egypt's access to the wealth of these lands. At the end of the Twentieth Dynasty (about 1186-1069 BC), another viceroy, Panehsy, actually used his position to challenge for complete control of Upper Egypt.

Setjau left his name on a considerable number of monuments. This sarcophagus probably came from his tomb at Thebes (number 289). Red granite was commonly used in Thebes for the sarcophagi of high officials.

The front and sides are inscribed with hieroglyphic texts. These consist of wishes expressed by Setjau, and spells spoken by various gods for his well-being. Setjau holds the hieroglyphs for 'protection' and 'stability'; the latter is also a symbol of the god Osiris.

The British Museum has a sarcophagus of Merymose, another viceroy, in the reign of Amenhotep III.

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More information


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


Length: 274.500 cm
Width: 83.000 cm

Museum number

EA 78


Salt Collection


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