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20th September 2007
With kind permission of Frnco Magnarini and Prof Alessandro Roccati of archaeogate: which I very much recommend you look at . This article appears on archaeogate in Italian.
(Archaeogate was a very interesting a portal for Italian archaeologists which also published preliminary reports of Italian excavations.
Most of the contents were in Italian but many were in English and very useful to an international audience. Sadly this website closed down several years ago.)
It must be said that most of scarabs of Amenhotep I, son of Ahmose and the second king of 18th dynasty, are not contemporary with his reign. "The reason for this can be found in the worship of him and his mother Ahmose-Nefertari. This worship lasted throughout the New Kingdom and many of the scarabs we find with his name were made over a period of time in respect of this cult.
Probably the first king buried in the Valley of The Kings was his successor Tuthmosis I who is deemed the true founder of the village Deir el-Medina the community working an the graves in The Valley of The Kings . In fact the place of burial of Amenhotep I is disputed: some think he was buried at necropolis of Dra Abu el-Naga, (grave AN-B belonging to him or to his mother), others believe he was buried in the Kings Valley in grave KV35.
That being stated, the first problem presenting itself in the study of these scarabs is their dating 2.
This fine scarab is made in brownish steatite covered with a bright green glaze, partially lost on the base: dimensions. 20mm x 12,5mm x 8mm. On the very convex back, which is smooth, the pronotum is suggested by two diagonal notches, turned toward the rear . Low legs, superficially carved and fully notched. Classification is Tufnell 3 A7/O/d6. The engraving is superficial, level with precise contours and there are notched details inside some sign (red crowns).
The vertically arranged motifs are complex: under a median line is the prenomen of Amenhotep I, Djeserkara, placed upon the gold sign nwb and flanked by anx and nfr signs specularly arranged. Upon the median line, the Hs sign flanked by a pair of anx signs and by two red crowns more externally. At the top, the clump of papyrus HA upon a wide rectangular base.
The motifs recall to mind the "symmetric pattern"4 used during the SIP with repeated pairs of signs symmetrically arranged around a central motif; several times and with a line crossing the length 5. The most common signs in these symmetric patterns are anx, nfr, nwb, HA and red crowns which we find again in our item. Notice that the pronomen is written free in the field (without cartouche) and is proportionally small in respect of the whole design. In fact, often it is written with minute signs or with slanting, untidy and decentralized characters: human figures or animals 6, which oddly gives little emphasis to the name.
Another characteristic of scarabs of this king is that, of 52 parallels we have examined, the prenomen appears most often free in the field (75%) 7 than inscribed within a cartouche (25%) 8.
Secondly, notice that some signs are already emptied inside in the fashion they were from the NK onwards (red crown on the right and anx sign bottom left); others are still outlined as is seen in the Second Intermediate Period (nwb sign) and the HA sign has the characteristic wide base) 9.
On the whole, the type of engraving approaches that characteristic of the 18th
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