The Narmer Catalog

Inscription Detail

6021 (Unusual representation of Narmer(?) name from Megiddo)

Source No: 6021

Date: Narmer(?)

Dated by: royal name

Type: inscription on paving stone

Material: limestone

Region: Canaan

Site: Megiddo

Locality: SQ N-15, STR 19, LOCUS 4008

Depository: OIM ( Chicago )

Registration No. OIM A23830

References

Loud, 1948

pp. 6, 176

pl. 280.25

Yekutieli, 2008

pp. 826-832

p. 827, fig. 13; p. 828, fig. 15 (left)

Oriental Institute Museum (Chicago)

https://oi-idb.uchicago.edu/id/bfc848a0-3c6f-4453-9eaa-3648c4a64917

Comments

According to the Oriental Institute Museum's registration card, the limestone incision features an ax head and leaves.
According to Yekutieli (2008:829) the graffiti on this slab (which was a paving stone in the temple), shows Narmer’s name in a “macabre treatment”. According to the author, “the Nile Catfish is slain and cut in half and a chisel (or two) is stabbed in its body.” The author interprets this in the context of the discovery of four Egyptian weapons, also found in the temple, which are either damaged, or, according to the author, deliberately defaced (p.831). Together these discoveries are interpreted as symbols that “the Egyptian dominance is mutilated, deformed, and smashed.”

Editor’s Note: This interpretation is based on the theory that the inscription was done by Canaanites, not Egyptians, so a strict conformity to Egyptian conventions cannot be expected. Nevertheless, neither the “catfish” or the “chisel(s)” are entirely convincing. The “whiskers”, the defining characteristics of a catfish, are confined by a curved line, thus denying the whiskers their fundamental characteristic – that they stick out from the fish. In this graffito, there are 14 “whiskers”; the greatest number of whiskers previously attested is four.
The “fin” described by the author is not articulated and is only on one side of the fish.
The comparison shown in his Fig. 15, to catfish on the Narmer Palette, emphasizes the differences between the graffito and a Narmer catfish, rather than the similarities. The “chisel” on the left is simply a triangle. What should be the handle of the chisel is actually a crack in the tile. The “chisel” to the right is also just a triangle. The place, where the handle should be, is damaged, and one cannot draw any conclusions on what was there originally. Finally, as is more clearly shown in the drawing by Loud, the “chisels” have an interior detailing that would not be expected if they were intended to represent known chisel representations.
Thus, the interpretation of this graffiti as a representation of Narmer cannot be supported.

6021 (Unusual representation of Narmer(?) name from Megiddo)

Loud, 1948, pl. 280.25

6021 (Unusual representation of Narmer(?) name from Megiddo)

Yekutieli, 2008, p. 827, fig. 13

More Images

Yekutieli, 2008, p. 828, fig. 15 (left)

Loud, 1948, pl. 280.25; image courtesy of the OIM


The Narmer Catalog

Inscription Detail

Source No:6021
Date:Narmer(?)
Dated by:royal name
Type:inscription on paving stone
Material:limestone
Region:Canaan
Site:Megiddo
Locality:SQ N-15, STR 19, LOCUS 4008
Depository:OIM ( Chicago )
Registration No.OIM A23830
References Discussion Figure/Plate
Loud, 1948 pp. 6, 176 pl. 280.25
Yekutieli, 2008 pp. 826-832 p. 827, fig. 13; p. 828, fig. 15 (left)
Oriental Institute Museum (Chicago) https://oi-idb.uchicago.edu/id/bfc848a0-3c6f-4453-9eaa-3648c4a64917

Comments: According to the Oriental Institute Museum's registration card, the limestone incision features an ax head and leaves. According to Yekutieli (2008:829) the graffiti on this slab (which was a paving stone in the temple), shows Narmer’s name in a “macabre treatment”. According to the author, “the Nile Catfish is slain and cut in half and a chisel (or two) is stabbed in its body.” The author interprets this in the context of the discovery of four Egyptian weapons, also found in the temple, which are either damaged, or, according to the author, deliberately defaced (p.831). Together these discoveries are interpreted as symbols that “the Egyptian dominance is mutilated, deformed, and smashed.” Editor’s Note: This interpretation is based on the theory that the inscription was done by Canaanites, not Egyptians, so a strict conformity to Egyptian conventions cannot be expected. Nevertheless, neither the “catfish” or the “chisel(s)” are entirely convincing. The “whiskers”, the defining characteristics of a catfish, are confined by a curved line, thus denying the whiskers their fundamental characteristic – that they stick out from the fish. In this graffito, there are 14 “whiskers”; the greatest number of whiskers previously attested is four. The “fin” described by the author is not articulated and is only on one side of the fish. The comparison shown in his Fig. 15, to catfish on the Narmer Palette, emphasizes the differences between the graffito and a Narmer catfish, rather than the similarities. The “chisel” on the left is simply a triangle. What should be the handle of the chisel is actually a crack in the tile. The “chisel” to the right is also just a triangle. The place, where the handle should be, is damaged, and one cannot draw any conclusions on what was there originally. Finally, as is more clearly shown in the drawing by Loud, the “chisels” have an interior detailing that would not be expected if they were intended to represent known chisel representations. Thus, the interpretation of this graffiti as a representation of Narmer cannot be supported.


Images

6021 (Unusual representation of Narmer(?) name from Megiddo)

Loud, 1948, pl. 280.25

6021 (Unusual representation of Narmer(?) name from Megiddo)

Yekutieli, 2008, p. 827, fig. 13

6021 (Unusual representation of Narmer(?) name from Megiddo)

Yekutieli, 2008, p. 828, fig. 15 (left)

6021 (Unusual representation of Narmer(?) name from Megiddo)

Loud, 1948, pl. 280.25; image courtesy of the OIM

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