About the Narmer Catalog

The Narmer Catalog is designed to facilitate research and understanding of Narmer, the first king of Ancient Egypt.

It presents all contemporary, written archaeological evidence directly related to Narmer and makes it readily accessible to researchers and interested members of the public.

Background

The first version of the Narmer Catalog database was created while researching and drafting the article, "Who was Menes?", published in 2014 in Archéo-Nil and is available on this website. The Narmer Catalog expands upon the Database of Early Dynastic Inscriptions compiled by Ilona Regulski, which was partially based on Kahl 1994, who relied, to a great extent, on Kaplony 1963 and 1964. The Narmer Catalog contains 114 entries.

The philosophy of the Narmer Catalog is to include any inscription that has ever been identified as bearing Narmer’s name or dating to his reign, even when the designation seems doubtful, or, in some cases, has been disproved. They are all part of the historical discussion. The reader of the Narmer Catalog will be able to see images of a disputed inscription, references, and explanatory comments about the inscription. In this way he or she can make their own conclusion.

Inscription Details

The information for each record in the catalog includes:

  • Source Number – For inscriptions 0077 through 4814, the Source Numbers are drawn from the Regulski database (for inscriptions 0077 through 1533 the Source Numbers also correspond to Kahl 1994). Inscriptions 6001 through 6023, and 6101 through 6103 (so numbered to avoid overlap with the Regulski database) are new additions. The Narmer Boxes, 6101, 6102 and 6103, are treated as only three inscriptions, even though each “inscription” includes multiple fragments.
  • Date – This field indicates whether the object dates from the time of the life and burial of Narmer himself or from that of his later successors, Den and Qa’a.
    • If “Narmer” is shown, the inscription includes a complete or partial reading of the king’s name.
    • If “(Narmer)” (with parentheses) is shown, it means that the inscription has been definitely ascribed to the reign of Narmer but does not include the royal name.
    • If “Narmer(?)” (with a question mark) is shown, it means that it has been attributed to Narmer on the basis of the royal name, but that the attribution/reading is controversial and/or questionable.
    • If “(Narmer?)” (with parentheses and a question mark) is shown, it means that the inscription has been ascribed to the reign of Narmer without the presence of the royal name, and that the attribution is controversial and/or questionable.
  • Dated by – Method by which the date has been determined.
  • Type – The category of object that bears this inscription.
  • Material – The medium on which the inscription appears.
  • Region – General area where the object was discovered.
  • Site – Specific location in the region where the object was discovered.
  • Locality – Specific place within the site where the object was discovered (often a tomb designation).
  • Depository – Current location of the object. Whenever multiple impressions of the same seal have been divided between different museums, each museum is listed.
  • Registration No. – Whenever multiple seal impressions of the same seal have been divided between different museums, the Registration Numbers are all listed within a single Source Number.
  • References – To the greatest extent possible, the references include every relevant source in English, German, French, and Spanish. References include the page numbers of relevant discussions along with the figure or plate number of relevant illustrations. NB: Several major references, namely Kaplony 1963 and 1964, Kaiser and Dreyer 1982, Kahl 1994, van den Brink 1996 and 2001, Jiménez-Serrano 2003 and 2007, Pätznick 2009, and Regulski 2010, each discuss a substantial number of inscriptions. These works are not cited in the individual inscription records except when they are referred to in the Comment Section with regard to a controversy about the inscription.
  • Illustrations – Drawings and photographs, which can be viewed at full resolution, downloaded, or printed by clicking on an image.
  • Comments – Discussion of various aspect of the object, such as its history, publication, and current location. The emphasis in the Comments is on questions and issues that have been controversial.

Acknowledgements

This project would not have been possible without the kind permission of Ilona Regulski to use the Database of Early Dynastic Inscriptions as the foundation of the Narmer Catalog. Elise MacArthur designed the database, assisted by Jason Mundok. She also translated articles and was my chief research assistant. Michael Bridgman of MajorMega implemented the web site. Rozenn Bailleul-LeSuer, Natasha Ayers and Brendan Hainline acted as research assistants and translators. Renée Friedman provided encouragement and numerous comments. Stan Hendrickx provided the Narmer Palette Bibliography. His Analytic Bibliography of the Prehistory and the Early Dynastic Period of Egypt and Northern Sudan (1995) and the annual updates in Archéo-Nil were invaluable in finding references. The Catalog was first suggested to me by Günter Dreyer, who has also provided numerous comments. Additional helpful comments were received from Edwin van den Brink, Jean-Pierre Pätznick, and Lisa Mawdsley.

— Thomas C. Heagy