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Egypt in the Old Kingdom
Papyrus from the Abusir papyri
Texts provide a great deal of information about the funerary beliefs, administrative systems and economy of the time. The first funerary texts, the Pyramid Texts, spells for the well-being of the king, were inscribed in the royal pyramids from the Fifth Dynasty (about 2494-2345 BC). Autobiographical texts in tombs of this period allow non-royal individuals to be identified for the first time.
This fragment of papyrus comes from the papyrus archive in the funerary temple dedicated to the cult of King Neferikare Kakai (2446-2426 BC) in his pyramid complex at Abusir. Together the papyri are the most important set of administrative documents to survive from Old Kingdom Egypt, revealing detailed information about the running of a royal mortuary establishment. They include duty rosters for priests, lists of offerings and inventories of temple equipment, as well as letters and permits.
This fragment bears the remains of two different texts. The introduction begins with a date, which at this time was expressed in the number of national cattle-counts in the king's reign. These censuses usually took place every two years. The number of cattle-counts given here is fourteen, which might be interpreted as the twenty-eighth year of the king's reign. The reign may be that of King Izezi (about 2494-2345 BC) near the end of the Fifth Dynasty.