The oldest-known representations of a pharaoh are carved on rocks near the Nile River in southern Egypt, researchers report.
The carvings were first observed and recorded in the 1890s, but only rediscovered in 2008. In them, a white-crowned figure travels in ceremonial processions and on sickle-shaped boats, perhaps representing an early tax-collecting tour of Egypt.
The scenes place the age of the carvings between 3200 B.C. and 3100 B.C., researchers report in the December issue of the journal Antiquity. During that time, Egypt was transitioning into the dynastic rule of the pharaohs.
A hieroglyph labels this scene a “nautical following,” a likely reference to the following of Horus, Gatto said. In this periodic royal jaunt across Egypt, the pharaoh cemented power and collected taxes. Thus, not only do the carvings represent the oldest known vision of a pharaoh, they may also show the oldest Egyptian tax campaign.
The style of the carvings and hieroglyphics place the creation of the images around 3200 B.C. to 3100 B.C., Gatto said. This would have been the reign of Narmer, the first pharaoh to unify Upper and Lower Egypt.
Based on the symbols of power and control in the carvings, Gatto and her colleagues believe the artwork came from the first part of Narmer’s reign, before he unified both parts of Egypt.
“It seems that for Narmer it was important first to settle the situation in the South, to control the South, and then apparently move to the North, and at that time he unified Egypt and we have the first dynasty,” Gatto said.
Wow, First Dynasty. The only depiction of Narmer up to now has been on that make-up pallet thing, the one where he’s smiting everybody left and right. This is cool.
So a good “A” deserves and equally good “R”:
Dancer and model Molly Shaw, who now wants to be an actress. You go girl!