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Section 5: Identifying the administrators of the Second Intermediate Period

Summary of titles attested on back-type 10

Note problems with simplified form: even in early 20th century a name and title scarab fetched a high price (there is a comment by Petrie on this in one of his 'Journals' or semi-official letters home), so the excavated corpus must be the backbone of research.

Example of the problem with unprovenanced scarabs: the scarab series of nbt-pr ii-ib UC 11384, and UC 11383 with inverted nb hieroglyph

UC 11384
UC 11383
UC 11384 UC 11383


Examples of back-type 10 name and title scarabs in the Petrie Museum:

UC 11393 HB imy-r gs-pr Hor true of voice - top broken away, so design and back-type uncertain

UC 11393

UC 11445 imy-r nbyw Siptah (curious writing of nbw, but note connection between craft and Ptah)

UC 11445

UC 11451 HB imy-r sxtyw smrti 'king's sealbearer, overseer of marshdwellers Semerti' - note the foreign name, and the association between Delta margin and sekhet (following Berlev on Eloquent forager/Bedu/gypsy/Wadi-Natrun-dweller); note too a parallel in Fitzwilliam E Sc 29 with same titles, and name smrti-hr - so adding the Semitic element -hr

UC 11451

The Martin back-type framework does not separate late Middle Kingdom from Second Intermediate Period officials, as early and late types are both already found for Senebsumai (dated prosopographically to the period before king Neferhotep I of mid-Dynasty 13). Prosopography also does not help, as dated examples depend on links to royal names, and these links are plentiful only in the period from king Sekhemrakhutawy Amenemhat-Sobekhotep (if he is the king in Papyrus Boulaq 18) to Sobekhotep IV, i.e. early to mid-Dynasty 13.

Note that we are also poorly informed of the high officials in the earlier part of Dynasty 13, and even of those at the court of Amenemhat III; the highest officials are scarce in both the quarrying inscriptions and the Lahun papyri, and the court cemeteries at Hawara are heavily damaged and little explored (though see now the survey produced by the team of Inge Ytterhoeven).

Further expert research into the scarabs, including the orthography and epigraphy of the hieroglyphic inscriptions, is required to refine dates for the attested officials and their titles.

Three late examples of the title king's acquaintance?

 (1) an example dated by Daphna Ben-Tor to Second Intermediate Period by base-design is Martin 1971: no.1312, pl.11.21, in a private collection (formerly Fraser, von Bissing collections), king's acquaintance Sahathor, back-type 10

(2) king's acquaintance rdi-rdi (or ra-ra?) Cairo Martin 1971: no.903, pl.41.16 - a name and title scarab, or an echo of name and titles scarabs (cf the sbk -.. nb im3h example?), back-type 10

(3) UC 11478 king's acquaintance Hemsha - note the foreign-sounding (Semitic?) name, back-type 6

UC 11478

Note the association of titles king's acquaintance and treasurer under Iykhernefret (Amenemhat III), Senembsumai (before Neferhotep I), and most strongly under Senebi (Neferhotep I-Sobekhotep IV). If the treasurer is the high official with strongest northern links, it might not be so surprising to find northern officials with the title 'king's acquaintance' at the transitional period from mid-Thirteenth to Seventeenth Dynasty.

Centres of scarab production

Provisionally it may be argued that no such centre was located in Upper Egypt before the New Kingdom (about 1550-1069 BC); in Lower Egypt, contenders include beside the kingship centres Tell el-Daba and Itjtawy, Memphis, where at least Late Period scarab production is documented archaeologically from scarab blanks, and Heliopolis, city of the god behind the scarab.


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