Egypt early dynastic (3,150-2,613 BCE)

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Narmer Palette
Baboon Divinity statue
Lion statue
Stela of king Djet
Serekh of king Djet
Raneb serekh and cartouche
King Hetepsekhemwy serekh
Mastaba tombs
Statue of Khasekhemwy
Limestone vessel, Khasekhemwy’s tomb
The Seated Scribe

The Early Dynastic Period of Egypt spans the first two dynasties that ruled from Thinis. This was during the early Bronze Age.

The first dynasty ran from 3,150-2,900 BCE and encompassed the reigns of eleven kings, beginning with Narmer. Narmer is believed to be the same person as Menes and to have married Neithhotep, he certainly unified Upper and Lower Egypt. Notable others were Djer who ruled for 52 years, Den for 42 years and Qa’a for 34 years, and Semerkhet whose 8.5 year reign was fully documented.

The Second Dynasty ran from c2,890–2,686 BCE, details are thin about this period and so it is unclear whether there were seven or eight kings. The best known is the last, Khasekhemwy.


FIRST DYNASTY (3,150-2,900 BCE):

No apologies for showing the ‘Narmer Palette’ again because dated to between 3,200 and 3,000 BCE it sits on the dynastic cusp. Narmer was a pharaoh of the Early Dynastic Period, considered to be the unifier of Egypt and founder of the First Dynasty. It is on show at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Its purpose is aid to be purpose is for grinding cosmetics for decorating the statues of deities, this was done within the circular area formed by the snake.
Image source: Wikimedia commons

Image source: Wikimedia commons

This 52cm high calcite statue of a Baboon Divinity has Narmer’s name on its base. Dated to c3100 BCE it is on show at the Egyptian Museum of Berlin, Germany.
This 23 x 12 x 13 quartzite statue of a crouching lion was found at Gebelein, southern Upper Egypt. It is dated to 3,100-2.900 BCE. Egyptians were still learning how to carve in hard stone which explains the simple shape and lack of a base.
Image source: metmuseum.org

Image source: Wikimedia commons

This stela of the pharaoh Djet, son of Djer. It once stood next to his tomb in the Umm el-Qa’ab, a necropolis of the Early Dynastic Period kings at Abydos, Egypt. Around Djet’s tomb, 174 other burials were found, most were retainers sacrificed upon Djet’s death to serve him in the afterlife.
The stele show’s Djet’s Horus name means ‘Horus Cobra’ (see snake below the falcon Horus) or ‘The Serpent King’. It is this stele that has popularised Djet.
Djet’s queen was his sister Merneith, who may have ruled as a pharaoh in her own right after his death. It is on show at the.
Louvre Museum.
This object bear’s Djet’s serekh. A serekh consists of a rectangular box for identifying the individual, and its presence identifies this as a royal personage. A Horus (falcon) is perched at the top and at the bottom is a detail from the facade of the individual’s palace. A serekh literally means facade.
Image source: Wikimedia commons

SECOND DYNASTY (c2,890-2,686 BCE):

Image source: metmuseum.org

Image source: Wikimedia commons
These two images show the two ways in which pharaohs could leave their mark.
At the top is a granite stela is inscribed with the Horus name of the second king of second dynasty 2, Raneb (or Nebra). The serekh image is of the hieroglyphic sign of the sun, at a time before the sun was being worshipped. yet Raneb includes ‘Ra’ or the sun god? This is the earliest stela found with a relief carving rather than inscribed.
The lower image is a cartouche of Raneb, however these only came into common use at the beginning of the Fourth Dynasty under Pharaoh Sneferu. The line across the bottom signifies that the individual is a king.
The term ‘cartouche’ was applied by French soldiers who seeing these symbols repeated frequently on the pharaonic ruins and resembled a muzzle-loading firearm’s paper powder cartridge, a cartouche in French.
This cylinder of bone bears the serekh of Hetepsekhemwy. It is dated to c2,800-2,780 BCE. It is on show at the Brooklyn Museum, New York USA.
Image source: Wikimedia commons

Image source: Wikimedia commons

A mastaba literally stone bench,or ‘eternal house’, is the type of ancient Egyptian tomb used by many distinguished individuals in the Early Dynastic and Old Kingdom periods. It consisted of a rectangular flat-roofed mudbrick structure.
As the Old Kingdom progressed many royals opted for a pyramid, though non-royal mastabas persisted.
Khasekhemwy was the last, yet most important pharaoh of the Second Dynasty. These two pictures show an overall view and a close-up of the limestone statue at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford UK.
It is believed that the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt happened during his reign, his name means ‘the two powers arise’.
A very similar statue is on show at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Image source: ashmoleanprints.com

Image source: Wikimedia commons

Image source: Wikimedia commons

This limestone vessel with a gold cover was discovered in Khasekhemwy’s tomb
This Louvre exhibit is dated to the 2600s BCE. Fabricated in limestone, quartz and copper, it is 54 x 44 x 35cm. It is painted limestone statue. The eyes were inlaid with rock crystal, magnesium carbonate and a copper-arsenic alloy. The nipples are wood.
The sculpture was discovered at Saqqara, north of the alley of sphinxes leading to the Serapeum of Saqqara.
The scribe has a papyrus at the ready and is alert. The semicircular base on which the figure sits must have originally fit into a larger base that carried his name and titles.

Image source: Wikimedia commons

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