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Narmer was an ancient Egyptian king of the Early Dynastic Period.[1] Probably the successor to the Protodynastic king Ka, or possibly Scorpion. Some consider him the unifier of Egypt and founder of the First Dynasty, and in turn the first king of a unified Egypt.

Narmer's identity is the subject of ongoing debate, although the dominant opinion among Egyptologists identifies Narmer with the First Dynasty pharaoh Menes, who is also sometimes credited with the unification of Egypt, as the first pharaoh. This conclusion is based on the Narmer Palette (which shows Narmer as the unifier of Egypt) and the two necropolis seals from the Umm el-Qa'ab cemetery of Abydos that show him as the first king of the First Dynasty.

The date commonly given for the beginning of his reign is c. 3100 BC.[2][3] Other mainstream estimates using both the historical method and Radiocarbon dating are in the range 3273–2987 BC.[a]


Limestone head of a king. Thought by Petrie to be Narmer. Bought by Petrie in Cairo, Egypt. 1st Dynasty. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London[b]

Was Narmer Menes?

Although highly inter-related, the question of “who was Menes?” and ”Who unified Egypt?” are actually two separate issues. Narmer is often credited with the unification of Egypt by means of the conquest of Lower Egypt by Upper Egypt. While Menes is traditionally considered the first king of Ancient Egypt, Narmer has been identified by the majority of Egyptologists as the same person as Menes. Although vigorously debated (Hor-Aha, Narmer’s successor, is the primary alternative identified as Menes by many authorities), the predominant opinion is that Narmer was Menes.[c]

The issue is confusing because “Narmer” is a Horus Name (throne name), while “Menes” is a personal name (birth name). All of the King Lists which began to appear in the New Kingdom list the personal names of the kings, and they all begin with Menes, or begin with divine and/or semi-divine rulers, with Menes as the first “human king”. The difficulty is aligning the contemporary archaeological evidence which lists Horus Names with the King Lists that list personal names.

Two documents have been put forward as proof either that Narmer was Menes or alternatively Hor-Aha was Menes. The first is the “Naqada Label” which shows a serekh of Hor-Aha next to an enclosure inside of which are symbols that have been interpreted by some scholars as the name “Menes”. The second is the seal impression from Abydos that alternates between a serekh of Narmer and the chessboard symbol, “mn”, which is interpreted as an abbreviation of Menes. Arguments have been made with regard to each of these documents in favour of Narmer or Hor-Aha being Menes, but in neither case, are the arguments conclusive.[d]

Necropolis seal impression of Qa’a Dreyer 1987, p. 36, fig.3

Two necropolis sealings, found in 1985 and 1991 in Abydos, in or near the tombs of Den[11] and Qa’a,[12] show Narmer as the founder of the First Dynasty, followed by Hor-Aha. The Qa’a sealing lists all eight of the kings of the First Dynasty in the correct order starting with Narmer. These necropolis sealings are strong evidence that Narmer was the first king of the First Dynasty – hence is the same person as Menes.[13]

Narmer and the unification of Egypt

The famous Narmer Palette, discovered by James E. Quibell in the 1897-1898 season at Hierakonpolis,[14] shows Narmer wearing the crown of Upper Egypt on one side of the Palette, and the crown of Lower Egypt on the other side, giving rise to the theory that Narmer unified the two lands.[15] Since its discovery, however, it has been debated whether the Narmer Palette represents an actual historic event or is purely symbolic.[e] Of course, the Narmer Palette could represent an actual historical event while at the same time having a symbolic significance.

In 1993, Günter Dreyer discovered in Abydos, a “year label” of Narmer depicting the same event that is depicted on the Narmer Palette. (In the First Dynasty, years were identified by the name of the king and an important event that occurred in that year. A “year label” was typically attached to a container of goods and included the name of the king, a description or representation of the event that identified the year, and a description of the attached goods.) This year label shows that the Narmer Palette depicts an actual historical event.[f]

Archaeological evidence suggests that Egypt was at least partially unified during the reigns of Ka and Iry-Hor (Narmer’s immediate predecessors),[g] and perhaps as early as Scorpion I (several generations before Iry-Hor).[h] But there is a substantial difference in the quantity and distribution of inscriptions with the names of those earlier kings in Lower Egypt and Canaan (which was reached through Lower Egypt), compared to the inscriptions of Narmer.[i] The archaeological evidence suggest that the unification began before Narmer, but was completed by him through the conquest of a polity in the North-West Delta as depicted on the Narmer Palette.[21]

The importance that Narmer attached to his “unification” of Egypt is shown by the fact that it is commemorated not only on the Narmer Palette, but on a cylinder seal,[22] the Narmer Year Label,[23] and the Narmer Boxes;[24] and the consequences of the event are commemorated on the Narmer Macehead.[25] The importance of the unification to ancient Egyptians is shown by the fact that Narmer is shown as the first king on the two necropolis seals, and under the name Menes, the first king in the later King Lists. Although there is archaeological evidence of a few kings before Narmer, none of them are mentioned in any of those sources. It can be accurately said that from the point of view of Ancient Egyptians, history began with Narmer and the unification of Egypt, and that everything before him was relegated to the realm of myth.


Narmer and Hor-Aha’s names were both found in what is believed to be Neithhotep’s tomb. which led Egyptologists to conclude that she was Narmer’s queen and mother of Hor-Aha.[26] Neithhotep’s name means "Neith is satisfied". This suggests that she was a princess of Lower Egypt (based on the fact that Neith is the patron goddess of Sais in the Western Delta, exactly the area Narmer conquered to complete the unification of Egypt), and that this was a marriage to consolidate the two regions of Egypt.[26][j] It has also been suggested that the Narmer Macehead commemorates this wedding.[28] However, the discovery in 2012 of rock inscriptions in Sinai by Pierre Tallet[29] raise questions about whether she was really Narmer’s wife.[k] Whether or not she was Narmer’s queen, she is the earliest woman in the history of the world whose name is known today, and for whom there is archaeological evidence of her existence.

Tomb and artifacts


Chambers B17 and B18 in the Umm el-Qa'ab, which constitute the tomb of Narmer.

Narmer's tomb in Umm el-Qa'ab near Abydos in Upper Egypt consists of two joined chambers (B17 and B18), lined in mud brick.[l] It is located next to the tombs of Ka, who likely ruled Upper Egypt just before Narmer, and Hor-Aha, who was his immediate successor.[m]

As the tomb dates back more than 5000 years, and has been pillaged, repeatedly, from antiquity to modern times, it is amazing that anything useful could be discovered in it. Because of the repeated disturbances in Umm el-Qa’ab, many articles of Narmer’s were found in other graves, and objects of other kings, were recovered in Narmer’s grave. However, Flinders Petrie during the period 1899-1903, [32] [33] and the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) [n] beginning in 1977, have made discoveries of the greatest importance to the history of Early Egypt by their re-excavation of the tombs of Umm el-Qa’ab.

Despite the chaotic condition of the cemetery, inscriptions on both wood and bone, seal impressions, as well as dozens of flint arrowheads,[o] flint knives, and a fragment of an ebony chair leg, were discovered in Narmer’s tomb, all of which are thought to be part of the original funerary assemblage.[p]

It is likely that all of the kings of Ancient Egypt, buried in Umm el-Qa’ab, had Funerary Enclosures in Abydos’ Northern Cemetery, near the cultivation line. These were characterized by large mud brick walls that enclosed space in which funerary ceremonies are believed to have taken place. Eight enclosures have been excavated, two of which have not been definitely identified. [35] [36]. While it has yet to be confirmed, one of these unidentified Funerary Enclosures, known as the “Donkey Enclosure”, may have belonged to Narmer.[q]


Narmer is well attested throughout Egypt, southern Canaan, and Sinai: altogether 98 inscriptions at 27 sites.[r] At Abydos and Hierakonpolis Narmer's name appears both within a serekh, and without reference to a serekh. At every other site except Coptos, Narmer's name appears in a serekh. In Egypt his name has been found at 17 sites: four in Upper Egypt (Hierakonpolis,[42] Naqada,[43] Abydos ,[32][33] and Coptos[44]); ten in Lower Egypt (Tarkhan,[45][46] Helwan,[47] Zawyet el'Aryan,[48] Tell Ibrahim Awad,[49] Ezbet el-Tell,[50] Minshat Abu Omar,[51] Saqqara,[52] Buto,[53] Tell el-Farkhan,[54] and Kafr Hassan Dawood[55]); one in the Eastern Desert (Wadi el-Qaash[56]); and two in the Western Desert (Kharga Oasis[57] and Gebel Tjauti[58]). During Narmer's reign, Egypt had an active economic presence in southern Canaan. Pottery sherds have been discovered at several sites, both from pots made in Egypt and imported to Canaan and others made in the Egyptian style out of local materials. The latter discovery has led to the conclusion that Egypt's presence in Canaan was in the form of a colony rather than just the result of trade.[59] While Egypt's presence in Canaan has been explained as the result of a military invasion,[60] this view is not generally accepted.[61][62] Fortifications at Tel es-Sakan dating to this period and almost entirely Egyptian in construction suggest a military presence, if not a military invasion.[63]

Narmer serekh on pottery sherd from Nahal Tillah (Canaan) showing stylized catfish and absence of chisel , Courtesy Thomas E. Levy, Levantine and Cyber-Archaeology Laboratory, UC San Diego

The extent of Egyptian activity in southern Canaan is shown by the discovery of 33 serekhs on pottery sherds at sites in Canaan dating from the Protodynastic Period to the beginning of the First Dynasty.[64] Twenty of these may belong to Narmer, but seven of those are uncertain or controversial.[6] These serekhs came from nine different sites: Tel Arad,[65] En Besor (Ein HaBesor),[66] Tel es-Sakan,[67] Nahal Tillah (Halif Terrace),[68] Tel Erani (Tel Gat),[69] Small Tel Malhata,[70] Tel Ma'ahaz,[71] Tel Lod,[72] and Lahav.[73] An additional serekh from Tel Lod is attributed to Narmer's probable predecessor, Ka.[74] Significantly only one is attributable to Narmer's successors, to Hor Aha, his immediate successor. The remainder of the serekhs either have no name on them or have a name not attributable to any known pharaoh.[64] Narmer's serekh, along with those of other Predynastic and Early Dynastic kings, has been found at the Wadi 'Ameyra in the southern Sinai, where inscriptions commemorate Egyptian mining expeditions to the area.[75]

During the summer of 1994, excavators from the Nahal Tillah expedition, in southern Israel, discovered an incised ceramic sherd with the serekh sign of Narmer. The sherd was found on a large circular platform, possibly the foundations of a storage silo on the Halif Terrace. Dated to c. 3000 BC, mineralogical studies of the sherd conclude that it is a fragment of a wine jar which had been imported from the Nile valley to Canaan.[76]

After about 200 years of active presence in Canaan,[77] Egyptian presence peaked during Narmer's reign and quickly declined after that.[64]

In the popular culture

  • The First Pharaoh (The First Dynasty Book 1) by Lester Picker is a fictionalized biography of Narmer. The author consulted with Egyptologist Günter Dreyer to achieve authenticity.
  • Murder by the Gods: An Ancient Egyptian Mystery by William Collins is a thriller about prince Aha (later king Hor-Aha), with Narmer included in a secondary role.
  • The Third Gate by Lincoln Child is an adventure story with a dose of the occult about an archaeological expedition in search of the real tomb of Narmer and its mysterious contents.
  • Pharaoh: The boy who conquered the Nile by Jackie French is a children's book ( ages 10–14) of the adventures of Prince Narmer.
  • Beginning of an Empire: An Egyptian Historical Fiction Novel by Joseph Hergott is an adventure story for young adults based on the premise that Narmer and Menes were separate people, but twin brothers. To give you a flavour of the book, Narmer's close friends call him "Narm".

Gallery of images

See also


  1. ^ Establishing absolute dating for Ancient Egypt relies on two different methods, each of which is problematic. Using the Historical Method, an astronomical event that is recorded in Ancient Egyptian texts is used as a starting point, and then the date of the king in question is determined by “dead reckoning” – adding or subtracting the length of each king’s reign (based primarily on Manetho, the Turin King List, and the Palermo Stone) until you get to the reign of the king in question. Of course, there is uncertainty about the length of reigns, especially in the Intermediate Periods and the Archaic Period. Two astrological events are available to anchor the estimates, one in the NewKingdom, and one in the Middle Kingdom. ( for a discussion of the problems in establishing absolute dates for Ancient Egypt, see Shaw 2000, pp. 1–16). Two estimates based on this method are: Hayes 1970, p. 174, which gives the beginning of the reign of Narmer/Menes as 3114 BC which he rounds to 3100 BC; and, Krauss & Warburton 2006, p. 487 which gives that date as 2950 BC. Several estimates of the beginning of the First Dynasty assume that it began with Hor-Aha. Setting aside the question of whether the First Dynasty began with Narmer or Hor-Aha, these calculations, must be adjusted by the length of Narmer’s reign in order to produce an estimate of the date of the beginning of Narmer’s reign. Unfortunately, we have no reliable estimate of the length of Narmer’s reign. The best we can do is use Manetho’s estimate of the length of the reign of Manetho, p. 29 (Africanus) of 62 years based on the assumption that Narmer and Menes are the same person. The date for the beginning of Narmer’s reign is, thus, 62 years earlier than the date given by the authors who assume the beginning of the First Dynasty is the start of Hor-Aha’s reign. Estimates of the beginning of Narmer’s reign calculated in this way include von Beckerath 1997, p. 179 (3094-3044 BC); Helck 1986, p. 28 (2987 BC); Kitchen 2000, p. 48 (3092 BC), and Shaw 2000, p. 480 (3062). Considering all six estimates gives us a range of 3114 – 2987 BC based on the Historical Method. The exception to the mainstream consensus, is Mellaart 1979, pp. 9–10 who estimates the beginning of the First Dynasty at 3400 BC. However, he reached this conclusion by disregarding the Middle Kingdom astronomical date. His conclusion is not widely accepted. Radiocarbon dating sounds scientific, but also has its problems. According to Hendrickx 2006, p. 90, “Furthermore the calibration curves for the (second half) of the 4th millennium BC show important fluctuations with long possible data ranges as a consequence. It is generally considered a ‘bad period’ for Radiocarbon dating.” Using a statistical approach, including all available carbon 14 dates for the Archaic Period, reduces, but does not eliminate, the inherent problems. Dee & et al., 2013,Table 1, use such an approach and derive a 65 % confidence interval estimate for the beginning of the First Dynasty of 3211 – 3045 BC. However, they define the beginning of the First Dynasty as the beginning of the reign of Hor-Aha. There are no Radiocarbon dates for Narmer, so to translate this to the beginning of Narmer’s reign we must again adjust for the length of Narmer’s reign of 62 years, to get to the beginning of Narmer’s reign, which gives us a range of 3273-3107 BC. This is reassuringly close to the range of mainstream Egyptologists using the Historical Method of 3114 - 2987 BC. Combining the results of two different methodologies, we get a range for the accession on Narmer of 3273 - 2987 BC.
  2. ^ Petrie 1939, p. 78 identifies this sculpture as being a depiction of Narmer on the basis of the similarity (according to Petrie) to the head of Narmer on the Narmer Palette. This has not been generally accepted. According to Trope, Quirke & Lacovara 2005, p. 18, the suggestion that it is Narmer is “unlikely”. Alternatively, they suggest the Fourth Dynasty king Kufu. Stevenson 2015, p. 44 also identifies it as Kufu. Charron 1990, p. 97 identifies it as a king of the Thinite Period (the first two dynasties) but does not believe it can be assigned to any particular king. Wilkinson 1999 (inside dust jacket) describes it as “probably Second Dynasty”.
  3. ^ The question of who was Menes – hence, who was the first king of the First Dynasty has been hotly debated. Since 1926, 70 different authors have taken an opinion on whether it is Narmer or Aha .[4] Most of these are only passing references, but there have been several in depth analyses on both sides of the issues. Recent discussions in favor of Narmer include Kinnaer 2001, Cervelló-Autuori 2005, and Heagy 2014. Detailed discussions in favor of Aha include Helck 1953, Emery 1961, pp. 31–37, and Dreyer 2007. It is interesting to note that, for the most part English speaking authors favor Narmer, while German speaking authors favor Hor-Aha. The most important evidence in favor of Narmer are the two necropolis seal impressions from Abydos, which list Narmer as the first king. Since the publication of the first of the necropolis sealings in 1987, 28 authors have published articles identifying Narmer with Menes compared to 14 who identify Narmer with Hor-Aha.
  4. ^
    Naqda Label reconstruction Garstang 1905, p. 62, fig3
    In the upper right hand quarter of the Naqada Label is a serekh of Hor-Aha. To its right is a triple enclosure with the “mn” sign surmounted by the signs of the “two ladies”, the goddesses of Upper Egypt (Nekhbet) and Lower Egypt (Wadjet). In later contexts, the presence of the “two ladies” would indicate a “nbty” name (one of the five names of the king). Hence, the inscription was interpreted as showing that the “nbty” name

    of Hor-Aha was “Mn” short for Menes. .[5] An alternative theory is that the enclosure in a funeral shrine and it represents Hor-Aha burying his predecessor, Menes. Hence Menes was Narmer.[6] Although the label generated a lot of debate, it is now generally agreed that the inscription in the shrine is not a king’s name, but is the name of the shrine “The Two Ladies Endure,” and provide no evidence for who was Menes. [7]

    Reconstruction of the Narmer-Menes Seal impression from Abydos
    The second document, the seal impression from Abydos, shows the serekh of Narmer alternating with the chessboard sign (mn) sign (together with its phonetic compliment, the n sign which is always shown when the full name of Menes is written), again representing the name “Menes”. At first glance this would seem to be strong evidence that Narmer was Menes. [8] However, based on an analysis of other early First Dynasty seal impressions, which contain the name of one or more princes, the seal impression has been interpreted by other scholars as showing the name of a prince of Narmer’s named Menes. Hence Menes was Narmer’s successor, Hor-Aha . Hence Hor-Aha was Menes. [9] This was refuted by Cervelló-Autuori 2005, pp. 42–45; but opinions vary, and the seal impression cannot be said to definitively support either theory. [10]
  5. ^ According to Schulman 1991-92 the Narmer Palette commemorates a conquest of Libyans that occurred earlier than Narmer, probably during Dynasty 0. Libyans, in this context, were not people who inhabited what is modern Libya, but rather, a people who lived in the North-West Delta of the Nile, which later became a part of Lower Egypt. Schulman describes scenes from Dynasty V (2 scenes), Dynasty VI, and Dynasty XXV. In each of these, the king is shown defeating the Libyans personally killing their chief in a classic “smiting the enemy” pose. In three of these post-Narmer examples, the name of the wife and two sons of the chief are named – and they are the same names for all three scenes from vastly different periods. This proves that all but the first representation cannot be recording actual events, but are ritual commemorations of an earlier event. The same might also be true of the first example in Dynasty V. The scene on the Narmer Palette in similar although it does not name the wife or sons of the Libyan Chief. The Narmer Palette could represent the actual event on which the others are based. However, Schulman (following Breasted 1931) argues against this on the basis that the Palermo Stone shows Predynastic kings wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt suggesting that they ruled a unified Egypt. Hence, the Narmer Palette, rather than showing a historic event during Narmer’s reign commemorates the defeat of the Libyans and the unification of Egypt which occurred earlier. Köhler 2002, p. 505 proposes that the Narmer Palette has nothing to do with the unification of Egypt. Instead she describes it as an example of the “subjecting the enemy” motif which goes back as far as Naqada Ic (about 400 years before Narmer), and which represents the ritual defeat of chaos, a fundamental role of the king. O’Connor 2011 also argues that it has nothing to do with the unification, but has a (very complicated) religious meaning.
  6. ^ Dreyer 2000. Support for this conclusion (in addition to Dreyer) includes Wilkinson 1999, p. 68 and Davies & Friedman 1998, p. 35. Although this interpretation of the year label is the dominant opinion among Egyptologists, there are exceptions including Baines 2008, p. 23 and Wengrow 2006, p. 204.
  7. ^ Tax document of Ka [16] and Iry-Hor[17]
  8. ^ The evidence for a role for Scorpion I in Lower Egypt comes from his tomb Uj in Abydos (Upper Egypt) where labels were found identifying goods from Lower Egypt .[18] These are not tax documents, however, so they are probably indications of trade rather than subjugation
  9. ^ Ka’s inscriptions have been found in three sites in Lower Egypt and one in Canaan[19] . Iry-Hor inscriptions have been found in two sites in Lower Egypt and one in Canaan [19] .[20] This must be compared to Narmer, whose serekhs have been found in ten sites in Lower Egypt and nine sites in Canaan (see discussion in “Tomb and Artifacts” section). This demonstrates a qualitative difference between Narmer’s role in Lower Egypt compared to his two immediate predecessors. There is no evidence in Lower Egypt of any Upper Egyptian king’s presence before Iry-Hor.
  10. ^ The fact that her tomb is in Naqada, in Upper Egypt has led some to the conclusion that she was a descendent of the Predynastic rulers of Naqada who ruled prior to its incorporation into a united Upper Egypt. [27]
  11. ^ In 2012, Pierre Tallet discovered an important new series of rock carvings in Wadi Ameyra in the Sinai. This discovery was reported in Tallet 2015, and in 2016 in two web articles by Owen Jarus, “Early Egyptian Queen Revealed in 5,000-Year-Old Hieroglyphs” [1] and “Photos: 5,000-Year Old Hieroglyphs Discovered in Sinai Desert” [2]. These inscriptions strongly suggest that Neithhotep was Djer’s regent for a period of time, but do not resolve the question of whether she was Narmer’s queen. In the first of Jarus’ articles, he quotes Tallet as saying that Neithhotep “was not the wife of Narmer”. However, Tallet, in a personal communication with Thomas C. Heagy (2016) explained that he had been misquoted. According to Tallet, she could have been Narmer’s wife (Djer’s grandmother), but that it is more likely (because Narmer and Hor-Aha are both thought to have had long reigns) that she was in the next generation – for example Djer’s mother or aunt. This is consistent with the discussion in Tallet 2015, pp. 28–29.
  12. ^ Although both Amélineau and Petrie excavated tombs B17 and B18, they were not identified as Narmer’s until Kaiser 1964, pp. 96-102, fig.2. For a discussion of Cemetery B see Dreyer 1999, pp. 110–11, fig. 7 and Wilkinson 2000, pp. 29-32, fig. 2.
  13. ^ Narmer’s tomb has much more in common with the tombs of his immediate predecessors, Ka and Iry-Hor, and other late Predynastic tombs in Umm el-Qa’ab than it does with later 1st Dynasty tombs. Narmer’s tomb is 31 sq. meters compared to Hor-Aha, whose tomb is more than three times as large, not counting Hor-Aha's 36 subsidiary graves. [30] (Narmer’s tomb is even smaller than the tomb of Scorpion I (tomb Uj), several generations earlier. [31]) In addition, the earlier tombs of Narmer, Ka, and Iry-Hor) all have two chambers with no subsidiary chambers, while later tombs in the 1st Dynasty all have more complex structures including subsidiary chambers for the tombs of retainers, who were probably sacrificed to accompany the king in the afterlife. O’Connor 2009, pp. 148-150 (To avoid confusion, the reader of O’Connor’s book needs to understand that he classifies Narmer as the last king of the 0 Dynasty rather than the first king of the 1st Dynasty, in part because Narmer’s tomb has more in common with the earlier 0 Dynasty tombs than it does with the later 1st Dynasty tombs. Dreyer 2003, p. 64 also makes the argument that the major shift in tomb construction that began with Hor-Aha, is evidence that Hor-Aha, rather than Narmer was the first king of the 1st Dynasty.)
  14. ^ Numerous publications with either Werner Kaiser (the first director of the DAI) or his successor, Günter Dreyer, as the lead author - most of them published in MDAIK
  15. ^ Petrie says with dismay that “hundreds” of arrowheads were discovered by the French (by which he means Émile Amélineau). What happened to them is not clear, but none ended up in the Cairo Museum. [34]
  16. ^ The flint knives and fragment of a chair leg were not included in any of Petrie’s publications, but are now at the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology (University College London) [3], registration numbers UC35679, UC52786, and UC35682.
  17. ^ Next to Hor-Aha’s enclosures, is a large unattributed enclosure referred to as the “Donkey Enclosure” because of the presence of 10 donkeys buried next to the enclosure. No objects were found in the enclosure with a king’s name, but hundreds of seal impressions were found in the gateway chamber of the enclosure, all of which appear to date to the reigns of Narmer, Hor-Aha, or Djer. Hor-Aha and Djer both have enclosures identified, “making Narmer the most attractive candidate for the builder of this monument”. [37] The main objection to its assignment to Narmer is that the enclosure is too big. It is larger than all three of Hor-Aha’s put together, while Hor-Aha’s tomb is much larger than Narmer’s tomb. For all of the clearly identified 1st Dynasty enclosures, there is a rough correlation between the size of the tomb and the size of the enclosure. Identifying the Donkey Enclosure with Narmer would violate that correlation. That leaves Hor-Aha and Djer. The objection to the assignment of the enclosure to Aha is the inconsistency of the subsidiary graves of Hor-Aha’s enclosure, and subsidiary graves of the donkeys. In addition, the seeming completeness of the Aha enclosure without the Donkey Enclosure, argues against Hor-Aha. This leaves Djer, whom Bestock considers the most likely candidate. The problems with this conclusion, as identified by Bestock, are that the Donkey Enclosure has donkeys in the subsidiary graves, whereas Djer has humans in his. In addition, there are no large subsidiary graves at Djer’s tomb complex that would correspond to the Donkey Enclosure. [38] She concludes that, “the interpretation and attribution of the Donkey Enclosure remain speculative.” [39] There is, however, two additional arguments for the attribution to Narmer. First, it is exactly where you would expect to find Narmer’s Funerary Enclosure – immediately next to Hor-Aha’s. Second, all of the 1st Dynasty tombs have subsidiary graves for humans except that of Narmer, and all of the attributed 1st Dynasty enclosures, except the Donkey Enclosure, have subsidiary graves for humans. But neither Narmer’s tomb nor the Donkey Enclosure have known subsidiary graves for humans. The lack of human subsidiary graves at both sites seems important. It is also possible that Narmer had a large funerary enclosure precisely because he had a small tomb. [40][41] In the absence of finding an object with a Narmer’s name on it, any conclusion must be tentative, but it seems that the preponderance of evidence and logic support the identification of the Donkey Enclosure with Narmer.
  18. ^ Of these inscriptions, 29 are controversial or uncertain, they include the unique examples from Coptos, En Besor, Tell el-Farkhan, Gebel Tjauti, Lahav, and Kharga Oasis, as well as both inscriptions each from Buto and Tel Ma'ahaz. Sites with more than one inscription are footnoted with either references to the most representative inscriptions, or to sources that are the most important for that site. All of the inscriptions are included in the Narmer Catalog ( [4] which also includes extensive bibliographies for each inscription. Several references discuss substantial numbers of inscriptions. They include: Database of Early Dynastic Inscriptions [5] , Kaplony 1963, Kaplony 1964, Kaiser & Dreyer 1982, Kahl 1994,van den Brink 1996, van den Brink 2001, Jiménez-Serrano 2003, Jiménez-Serrano 2007, and Pätznick 2009. Anđelković 1995 includes Narmer inscriptions, from Canaan within the context of the overall relations between Canaan and Early Egypt, including descriptions of the sites in which they were found.


  1. ^ Wilkinson 1999, p. 67.
  2. ^ Hayes 1970, p. 174.
  3. ^ Quirke & Spence 1992, p. 223.
  4. ^ Heagy 2014, pp. 83-84.
  5. ^ Borchardt 1897, pp. 1056-1057.
  6. ^ Newberry 1929, pp. 47-49.
  7. ^ Kinnear 2003, p. 30.
  8. ^ Newberry 1929, pp. 49-50.
  9. ^ Helck 1953, pp. 356-359.
  10. ^ Heagy 2014, pp. 77-78.
  11. ^ Dreyer 1987.
  12. ^ Dreyer et al. 1996, pp. 72-73, fig. 6, pl.4b-c.
  13. ^ Cervelló-Autuori 2008, pp. 887-899.
  14. ^ Quibell 1898, pp. 81-84, pl. XII-XIII.
  15. ^ Gardiner 1961, pp. 403-404.
  16. ^ Dreyer, Hartung & Pumpenmeier 1993, p. 56, fig. 12.
  17. ^ Kahl 2007, p. 13.
  18. ^ Dreyer 2011, p. 135.
  19. ^ a b Jiménez-Serrano 2007, p. 370, table 8.
  20. ^ Ciałowicz 2011, pp. 63-64.
  21. ^ Heagy 2014, pp. 73-74.
  22. ^ Quibell 1900, p. 7, pl. XV.7.
  23. ^ Dreyer 2000.
  24. ^ Dreyer 2016.
  25. ^ Quibell 1900, pp. 8-9, pls. XXV,XXVIB.
  26. ^ a b Tyldesley 2006, pp. 26-29.
  27. ^ Wilkinson 1999, p. 70.
  28. ^ Emery 1961, pp. 44-47.
  29. ^ Tallet 2015.
  30. ^ Kaiser, Dreyer & 1982 pp-215,220-221.
  31. ^ Dreyer 1988, p. 19.
  32. ^ a b Petrie 1900.
  33. ^ a b Petrie 1901.
  34. ^ Petrie 1901, p. 22.
  35. ^ Adams & O’Connor 2003, pp. 78-85.
  36. ^ O’Connor 2009, pp. 159-181.
  37. ^ Bestock 2009, p. 102.
  38. ^ Bestock 2009, pp. 102-104.
  39. ^ Bestock 2009, p. 104.
  40. ^ Dreyer 1998, p. 19.
  41. ^ Bestock 2009, p. 103,n.1.
  42. ^ Quibell 1898, pp. 81–84, pl. XII–XIII.
  43. ^ Spencer 1980, p. 64(454), pl. 47.454, pl.64.454.
  44. ^ Williams 1988, p. 35-50, fig. 3a.
  45. ^ Petrie, Wainwright & Gardiner 1913.
  46. ^ Petrie 1914.
  47. ^ Saad 1947, p. 26-27.
  48. ^ Dunham 1978, pp. 25-26, pl. 16A.
  49. ^ van den Brink 1992, p. 52-53.
  50. ^ Bakr 1988, pp. 50-51, pl. 1b.
  51. ^ Wildung 1981, pp. 35-37.
  52. ^ Lacau & Lauer 1959, pp. 1-2, pl. 1.1.
  53. ^ von der Way 1989, p. 285-286, n.76, fig. 11.7.
  54. ^ Jucha 2008, p. 132-133, fig 47.2.
  55. ^ Hassan 2000, p. 39.
  56. ^ Winkler 1938, pp. 10,25, pl.11.1.
  57. ^ Ikram & Rossi 2004, pp. 211-215, fig 1 & 2.
  58. ^ Darnell & Darnell 1997, pp. 71-72, fig. 10.
  59. ^ Porat 1986–87, p. 119.
  60. ^ Yadin 1955, pp. 1-16.
  61. ^ Campagno 2008, pp. 695–96.
  62. ^ Porat 1986–87, p. 109.
  63. ^ de Miroschedji 2008, p. 2028–29.
  64. ^ a b c Anđelković 2011, p. 31.
  65. ^ Amiran 1974, p. 4-12, fig. 20, pl.1.
  66. ^ Schulman 1976, pp. 25-26.
  67. ^ de Miroschedji & Sadeq 2000, pp. 136-137, fig. 9.
  68. ^ Levy et al. 1997, pp. 31-33.
  69. ^ Yeivin 1960, pp. 193-203, fig. 2, pl. 24a.
  70. ^ Amiran, Ilan & Aron 1983, pp. 75-83, fig.7c.
  71. ^ Schulman & Gophna 1981.
  72. ^ van den Brink & Braun 2002, pp. 167-192.
  73. ^ Amiran, Ilan & Aron 1983, pp. 82-82, n. 22.
  74. ^ Jiménez-Serrano 2007, p. 370, Table 8.
  75. ^ Tallet & Laisney 2012, pp. 383–389.
  76. ^ Levy et al. 1995, pp. 26–35.
  77. ^ Anđelković 1995, p. 72.


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External links

* The Narmer Catalog

* Database of Early Dynastic Inscriptions

* Early Egyptian Queen Revealed in 5,000-Year Old Hieroglyphs

* Photos: 5,000-Year Old Hieroglyphs Discovered in Sinai Desert.

* Hierakonpolis: City of the Hawk

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