Wednesday, 14 September 2011

More on the British Museum Obelisk from Qasr Ibrim

Owing the the amount of "new" material available to me, i have been able to revisit a number of artifacts recently to add further details than previously posted. The next item is the small Obelisk at the British Museum, EA 1834.

The following document gives some interesting, further information on the discovery of the obelisk (in 3 separate pieces):

Qaṣr Ibrim̂ 1963-1964Author(s): J. Martin PlumleySource: The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Vol. 50 (Dec., 1964), pp. 3-5 Published by: Egypt Exploration Society.

"...Two areas for excavation were selected [within the Qasr Ibrim Fortress]: the Church, and the so-called Podium in the south wall of the Fortress.......
......Further excavation northwards from the Podium area may reveal the foundations of an earlier building, in all probability a temple, and possibly the building from which came much of the material for the construction of the Church. It is not without signi- ficance that amongst the debris moved from this area came a number of blocks bearing parts of hieroglyphic inscriptions. The greater part of these can be dated to the reign of Taharqa, though there are pieces from the Ramesside period. A surprising find was a small granite obelisk, which had been used to form a step in a stairway to the east of the Podium. Though the cartouches on this monument had been hammered out in antiquity, it is still possible to make out the prenomen of Hatshepsut."

Somehow, the findspot "Qasr Ibrim" never seemed sufficient enough an explanation. We now have an idea of the usage of the obelisk, as found during the excavations.



Dylan Bickerstaffe said...

Has it been established for certain that this is Hatshepsut's prenomen, rather than the God's Wife of Amun, Maatkare, of the 21st dynasty?

Stuart Tyler said...

Hi Dylan,

You make an excellent point. The same question can be asked when looking at the Bonn University flacon and a number of other items which show only the "Maatkara" Prenomen.

In short, the answer is "no". At least all i have read regarding the Obelisk (few and far between)only suggest Hatshepsut.

I believe that the association of the Obelisk with Hatshepsut is strengthened by the "rubbing out" of (most of) the hierogluphs on the length of it (it's only inscribed on one side), which is common in Hatshepsut related artifacts. What i have never seen is an attampt at recreating the inscriptions. Perhaps this is down to the "success" of the inscription damage.

Without seeing further titles and epithets, names of the temple where it came from or other details I feel the answer to your question will always be "no".

The British Museum site says "the names of Hatshepsut have been erased". the use of the plural "names" may be telling, or just a red-herring. I would like to see a diagram or something showing what's left.

Another (possibly invalid?) point would be to see if the name Maatkara is written in a cartouche. I have seen a shabti of the 21st Dynasty Maatkara (Bristol Museum and Art Gallery)and the name is NOT written in a cartouche. Whether or not other items exist regarding the 21st Dynasty MaatKaRa where her name is written in a cartouche- i do not know. Something worth looking into?