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TitleThe Stela of Usersatet and Hekaemsasen
TagsAfrican Civilizations Ancient Egypt
File Size9.3 MB
Total Pages26
Document Text Contents
Page 1

British Museum Studies in Ancient Egypt and Sudan 14 (2009): 25–50

The British Museum epigraphic survey at Tombos:
the stela of Usersatet and Hekaemsasen
W. Vivian Davies

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The British Museum epigraphic survey at Tombos:
the stela of Usersatet and Hekaemsasen
W. Vivian Davies

The British Museum’s project at Tombos continued in 2008, with work concentrated on the
great victory stela of Thutmose I on the east bank and the other rock-inscriptions clustered
around it.1 Published here is our new record of one of these inscriptions, a stela dated to
the reign of King Amenhotep II, of which the only previous record is a hand-copy made by
the Lepsius expedition in 1844 (Fig. 1).2 Related material from other sites is included in an
Appendix below.

The Stela

The stela, measuring 700 x 530mm (max. width and height respectively), is located high
(about 2.6m above ground-level) on the eastern face of a large rock, close to the distinctive
sloping boulder that bears on its west face the Thutmose I stela (Fig. 2). It is reproduced in
photograph and facsimile drawing in Figures 3 and 4. Bruised rather than cut into the uneven
granite surface, with no dressing of the surface beforehand, it comprises a double scene,
with near-symmetrical content. Two male figures are shown, standing back to back, each
wearing a shoulder-length wig and long skirt secured by a knot at the waist, and with hands
raised in veneration of a cartouche containing the prenomen of Amenhotep II, the royal name
forming part of a longer inscription, which identifies the figures and labels their actions.3
Two columns of inscription were intended in each case but the first column in the left scene
was never completed. The scenes, which may originally have been finished in paint, are now
much eroded, with a number of the hieroglyphs incomplete, indistinct or lost. The content
and sense are, nevertheless, clear. In discussion of the stela hitherto, it has generally been
assumed that the two figures represent one and the same person, which turns out not to be
the case: the right figure represents the viceroy Usersatet; the left figure, the high-ranking
official Hekaemsasen.

1 PM vii, 174–5; Edwards and Ali Osman 1992, 18 (91/7a–d). For the location of the group, see the satellite
image, Davies 2008, 25, n. 3, colour plate V, 91/7a–d. The British Museum team comprised Vivian Davies
and Dr Derek Welsby, assisted by Ikhlas Abdel Latif Ahmed of the National Corporation of Antiquities
and Museums (NCAM), Sudan. Permission for the work was granted by the Director-General of NCAM,
Mr Hassan Hussein Idriss, and the Director of Fieldwork, Dr Salah Mohamed Ahmed. We were at Tombos
for six days, from 24th to 30th October, 2008, and once again enjoyed the hospitality provided by Radwan
Daoud Mahdjoub and his family. I am grateful to Diane Bergman, Griffith Librarian, Sackler Library,
Oxford, for assistance with an item of bibliography, to Claire Thorne of the British Museum for help in
preparing the illustrations for publication and to Marcel Mareé for his helpful comments on a draft of this
paper. A slightly abbreviated version of this paper appeared in Sudan & Nubia 13 (2009), 21–9.

2 LD Text, v, 244 (bottom right); cf. PM vii, 175; Säve-Söderbergh 1941, 156, n. 1; Dewachter 1976, 56; Der
Manuelian 1987, 94; Morkot 1991, 299; Edwards 1992, 18 ( 91/7c); Morkot 2000, 84; Budka 2002, 62;
Budka 2005, 112; Morris 2005, 192.

3 To be added to the list of scenes of royal-name veneration compiled and studied by Spieser 2000, 84ff.

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2009 HEKAEMSASEN AND USERSATET 37

Fig.1: Lepsius expedition record of the Tombos stela (LD Text V, 244).

Fig.2: Tombos, recording the stela of Usersatet and Hekaemsasen (photos D.A. Welsby).

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38 DAVIES BMSAES 14

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2009 HEKAEMSASEN AND USERSATET 49

Fig. 20: Dyad of Pahekaemsasen and Duy, CG 989, right side, detail of inscription. Courtesy Egyptian Museum,
Cairo.

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50 DAVIES BMSAES 14

Fig. 23:Dyad CG 989, lower part of inscription
of Pahekaemsasen. Courtesy Egyptian
Museum, Cairo.

Fig. 21: Dyad CG 989, upper part of inscription
of Pahekaemsasen. Courtesy Egyptian
Museum, Cairo.

Fig.22: Dyad CG 989, upper part of inscription
of Duy. Courtesy Egyptian Museum,
Cairo.

Fig.24: Dyad CG 989, lower part of inscription
of Duy. Courtesy Egyptian Museum,
Cairo.

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