Granite sarcophagus of Pahemnetjer

Said to be from Saqqara, Egypt
19th Dynasty, about 1250 BC

A High Priest of Ptah at Memphis

The figure of Pahemnetjer clasps an ankh ('life') sign and a djed pillar, a symbol of Osiris indicating stability. Below the hands is a figure of the goddess Nut, and the texts name a number of protective deities of the dead.

Pahemnetjer was a High Priest of Ptah at Memphis in the reign of Ramesses II (1279-1213 BC) Stone sarcophagi were often used for the burials of very important officials at this time.

Pahemnetjer was one of several individuals of that name who held the title of High Priest of Ptah. The title translates literally as 'greatest of directors of craftsmen', referring both to Ptah's ancestry as a creator god and to his patronage of craft workers. The actual tomb of this Pahemnetjer has not yet been found, but we do know that officials from the Memphite area (and this would include the High Priests of Ptah) were buried in the necropolis at Saqqara, dating from the later Eighteenth Dynasty (about 1550-1295 BC) and the Ramesside period (about 1295-1069 BC).

Compare this with the sarcophagus of Merymose, also in the British Museum. Merymose was another important ancient Egyptian official.

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More information


G.T. Martin, The hidden tombs of Memphis: n (London, Thames and Hudson, 1991)

T.G.H. James (ed.), Hieroglyphic texts from Egyp-2, Part 9 (London, The British Museum Press, 1970)


Length: 235.000 cm (max.)

Museum number

EA 18



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