Wednesday,22 November, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1303, (14 - 20 July 2016)
Wednesday,22 November, 2017
Issue 1303, (14 - 20 July 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Pyramid accounts

Khufu’s papyri are to be displayed today for the first time, Nevine El-Aref reports

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Al-Ahram Weekly

The Papyri of Khufu from Wadi Al-Jarf, a temporary exhibition at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir, showcases for the first time the cache of papyri unearthed in 2013 in Wadi Al-Jarf, 119 km from Suez. The discovery was made by a Franco-Egyptian mission led by Egyptologists Pierre Tallet and Sayed Mahfouz.

“It is among the most significant papyri collections ever to be found,” Minister of Antiquities Khaled Al-Enani told Al-Ahram Weekly. “It is only because of the cache that we now know the reign of the Old Dynasty King Khufu lasted 26 years.”

The collection is the earliest example of Egyptian writing to be discovered. It predates both the Fifth Dynasty Abu Sir Papyri and the Fourth Dynasty Al-Gebelein.

The papyri, which mostly comprise accounts for commodities delivered monthly to a team of workers from across the Nile Delta, testify to the sophistication of the central administration under the Old Dynasty.

According to Hussein Bassir, head of the Department of Scientific Publications, one of the most important documents belonged to a middle ranking official, Merer, who oversaw a team of sailors. Merer kept a diary in which he daily noted details of the work of his crew as they transported limestone blocks from the quarries of Turah, on the east bank of the Nile, to the Giza Plateau for the construction of King Khufu’s Great Pyramid, a journey that took between two and three days.

The Papyri of Khufu from Wadi Al-Jarf is accompanied by two smaller displays. The first includes replicas of ancient Egyptian artefacts produced by the Ministry of Antiquities, the second comprises the Ministry’s publications.

Visitors will receive a discount of 20 per cent on replica purchases, 75 per cent on pre-2011 publications and 20 per cent on more recent titles.

The exhibition continues for 15 days.

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