Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Ostracon with incised numbers

Period:
Old Kingdom
Dynasty:
Dynasty 5
Reign:
reign of Isesi–Unis
Date:
ca. 2381–2323 B.C.
Geography:
From Egypt, Memphite Region, Saqqara, Tomb of Perneb, MMA excavations, 1913–14
Medium:
Pottery
Dimensions:
H. 15.5 × W. 27.5 cm (6 1/8 in., 27.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Edward S. Harkness, 1913
Accession Number:
13.183.5
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 100
This pottery sherd comes from a mold in which the ancient Egyptians baked flat loaves of bread. It was later broken, and used as "note paper," probably during construction of Perneb's tomb. Roughly incised on its surface are a series of numbers (strokes for 1 and an upside-down V to indicate 10), most likely some sort of account.
From Saqqara, purchased by the Museum from the Egyptian Government, 1912.

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