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Papyrus Abu Sir

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    EA10735,10

  • Title (object)

    • Papyrus Abu Sir
  • Description

    The Abusir Papyri; sheet 10. Temple administration document with delineated Hieroglyphic and Hieratic texts.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 2360BC (circa)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 39 centimetres
    • Height: 20.5 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Hieratic
      • Inscription Position

        margin of roll
      • Inscription Translation

        1st month of Shemu, last day: Giving the [...] gallons of grain issued to Tjesemy and Nefernemtet: this is what is MEASURED EVERY DAY.

        2nd month of Shemu, day 2: Giving the [...] gallons of grain issued to Tjesemy; day 6: Giving the 5/4 gallons of grain issued toTjesemy this is [WHAT IS MEASURED EVERY DAY].
      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        delineated hieroglyphs
      • Inscription Translation

        The year a[fter] the 14th occasion of counting all the great and small herds [...
      • Inscription Comment

        In this instance only the date is preserved, but the headings to other rolls provide the king's name and the subject matter of the roll. The date can be reconstructed as Year 27 or 28 of Djedkare Isesi (i.e. around sixty-five years after King Neferirkare Kakai died).
  • Curator's comments

    Fragment of papyrus from the papyrus archive in the funerary temple dedicated to the cult of King Neferirkare Kakai (2446-2426 bc) in his pyramid complex at Abu Sir, meticulously recording the temple's goods.

    The Abusir papyri are amongst the most important administrative documents known from the Old Kingdom (about 2613-2160 BC). The papyri are damaged and fragmentary, but they reveal detailed information about the organisation of a royal mortuary establishment and include duty rosters for priests, lists of offerings and inventories of temple equipment, as well as letters and permits. It is clear that the king's pyramid complex was constantly exchanging goods and offerings with state institutions, particularly the (now lost) sun temple of Neferirkare.

    Most of the papyri were discovered in 1893 in illicit excavations at Abusir (20 km south-west of Cairo), the location of at least four kings of the Fifth Dynasty. Individual sheets were subsequently sold to Egyptologists on the antiquities market and are now in Cairo, Paris and London. Shortly afterwards, the German Egyptologist Ludwig Borchardt identified the findspot as the administrative buildings near the pyramid of Neferirkare Kakai (third king of the Fifth Dynasty), and this was subsequently confirmed by his discovery of more fragments in excavations at the temple. The nineteen frames of papyri in the British Museum are the largest and most important group of the documents, and were originally purchased in Egypt by Edouard Naville, then by Borchardt. Czech excavations at Abusir in the 1980s have revealed more papyrus fragments relating to the temple of Khentkaues, a wife of Neferirkare, and of Neferefre, Neferirkare's probable successor.

    Bibliography:
    J. –L. Cenival and P. Posener-Kriéger, The Abu Sir Papyri (Hieratic papyri in the British Museum 5; London: The British Museum, 1968), pl.2a.
    P. Posener- Kriéger, Les archives du temple funéraire de Néferirkarê-Kakaï (Les papyrus d'Abousir): Traduction et commentaire (Bibliothèque d'étude 65 ; Cairo : Institut français d'archéologie orientale du Caire 1976), 3-13, 324-7.
    M.Verner, 'Forgotten Pharaohs, Lost Pyramids: Abusir' (Prague, 1994), 157-70.
    Strudwick, Texts from the Pyramid Age (Atlanta, 2005), 90-91.

    Bibliography:
    P. Posener-Kriéger and J.L. de Cenival, 'Hieratic Papyri in the British Museum, 5th series: The Abu Sir Papyri' (London, 1968), pL. 2a;
    P. Posener-Kriéger, 'Les archives du temple funéraire de Néferirkarê-Kakaï (les papyrus d'Abousir)', 'Revue d'Égyptologie' 65 (Cairo, 1976), 3-13, 324-7;
    see also B.J. Kemp, 'Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilization' (London and New York, 1989), 112-19;
    M.Verner, 'Forgotten Pharaohs, Lost Pyramids: Abusir' (Prague, 1994), 157-70.
    N. Strudwick, 'Texts from the Pyramid Age' (Atlanta, 2005);
    N. Strudwick, Masterpieces of Ancient Egypt, London 2006, pp. 60-1.Published : J. –L. Cenival and P. Posener-Kriéger, The Abu Sir Papyri (Hieratic papyri in the British Museum 5; London: The British Museum, 1968); P. Posener- Kriéger, Les archives du temple funéraire de Néferirkarê-Kakaï (Les papyrus d'Abousir): Traduction et commentaire (Bibliothèque d'étude 65 ; Cairo : Institut français d'archéologie orientale du Caire 1976).

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Parkinson 1999 13 bibliographic details
    • Trismegistos 380868 (http://www.trismegistos.org/text/380868) bibliographic details
    • Strudwick 2006 pp.60-61 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Condition

    Papyrus Survey: Condition Details: Papyrus: bleached, displaced fragments, fractured, fragile, frayed, insect attack Black ink Red ink Displayed in Room 62 until 1997 Displayed in Room 61 from 1997 to 2007 Mount Details: Sandwich: glass Binding: Filmoplast T self adhesive linen tape Object Priority: A Mount Priority: A Overall Condition: B Curatorial condition comment: fair (incomplete - fragmentary)

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1950

  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number

    EA10735,10

  • Registration number

    1950,0209.1.10

  • Additional IDs

    • Frame.10
Papyrus Abu Sir: temple records: this fragment comes from the beginning of the roll. The opening heading is written in carefully delineated hieroglyphs.

Papyrus Abu Sir: temple records: this fragment comes from the beginning of the roll. The opening heading is written in carefully delineated hieroglyphs.

Image description

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