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(R. Bußmann)

Administrative practice and society: the seals and seal impressions from Hierakonpolis

Hierakonpolis is a central place of Egyptian state formation, ca. 3300 to 2700 BC. The site is famous for the discovery of the Narmer palette, a ceremonial palette displaying for the first time an Egyptian pharaoh in a monumental fashion. While this and other objects from the temple precinct at Hierakonpolis shed light on the early ideology of kingship, the administrative practices of the early Egyptian state are still difficult to understand. This project explores the mud seals, originally attached to doors, vessels and other containers and found broken in the temple and town area of Hierakonpolis. The seal inscriptions contain the names and titles of administrative officials. The aim of the project is to document the relevant material, today kept at Cambridge, and develop models for understanding the embedding of an emerging bureaucracy in the emerging Egyptian state. The project has been funded by the Gerada-Henkel-Fondation and the Alexander-von-Humboldt-Foundation.


  • Bussmann, Richard 2014. Locking and control: a door bolt sealing from Hierakonpolis. Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 50, 95-101. DOI: 10.5913/jarce.50.2014.a017