Mould-made or cut out (?) small scaraboid in glazed composition; back very eroded with some incised lines still visible, maybe in the shape of black African head; side view unknown; underside bearing a debased inscription with sun-disc and men-draughtboard signs recognisable in the upper register, two horizontal lines in the middle register and a cross-shaped sign flanked by two small circles in the lower register; inscription possibly stamped, rather than incised; surface rough; pierced lengthwise; glaze lost or never applied? (said to be unbaked and unglazed on the EEF distribution list); in light yellow paste; very eroded with a rough surface.
- Production date
- 600 BC-570 BC (mainly)
Length: 1.10 centimetres
Width: 0.70 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- The scaraboid belongs to a type which was widely distributed in the Mediterranean area and Southern Russia (Gorton 1996, 93-107, type XXVIII C, see especially C8 for this piece) and produced in Naukratis (on the various productions of the 'Scarab Factory', see Webb forthcoming).
Gorton identified relatively similar motifs as debased inscriptions, possibly mentioning the name men-ib-Ra - which should be corrected in Menekhib, the Horus name of Psamtek II - or wah-ib-Ra (Gorton 1996, 106). This debased inscription could also be a play between the name of the god Amun-Ra written in a cryptic way (on the cryptic writing of the name of Amun: Drioton 1957) and the name of the pharaoh Wahibre, likely to be Apries since the activity of the 'Scarab Factory' is mainly dated to 600-570 BC.
Petrie illustrated a number of different versions for this type of inscription (Petrie 1886, pl. XXXVII, 65-70). He published this piece as a scarab and not a scaraboid (no. 66), though its reverse is quite similar to the scaraboid no. 65. For similar examples from Naukratis: BM 1886,0401.1643; BM 1886,0401.1644; BM 1886,0401.1646; Paris, Louvre Museum E8056 bis.8; Oxford, Ashmolean Museum AN1888.207; Dundee, McManus Galleries 1975-61(2).
Drioton, E. 1957, 'Trigrammes d'Amon', Festschrift Hermann Junker zum 80. Geburtstag (Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes 54), Wien, 11-33.
Gorton, A.F. 1996, Egyptian and Egyptianizing scarabs: a typology of steatite, faience, and paste scarabs from Punic and other Mediterranean sites, Oxford.
Petrie, W.M.F. 1886, Naukratis. Part I, 1884–5 (Third Memoir of the Egypt Exploration Fund), London.
Webb, V. forthcoming, Faience finds from Naukratis and their implications for the chronology of the site, in R. Thomas (ed.), forthcoming. Naukratis in Context I: The Nile Delta as a Landscape of Connectivity. Proceedings of the First Naukratis Project Workshop held at The British Museum 16th – 17th December 2011.
- Not on display
- Rather poor, eroded
- Acquisition date
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: 86.696 (Accession Number)
Miscellaneous number: P.4903 (Pottery & Porcelain Ledger No.)