Hedgehog Amulet on a String

Period: Middle Kingdom

Dynasty: mid-Dynasty 13

Date: ca. 1750–1700 B.C.

Geography: From Egypt, Memphite Region, Lisht North, cemetery, Pit 995, MMA excavations, 1921–22

Medium: Glazed steatite, linen string

Dimensions: l. 0.9 cm (5/16 in)

Credit Line: Rogers Fund and Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1922

Accession Number: 22.1.301


Although never very common, hedgehog amulets have a long history in ancient Egypt, with their popularity peaking in the New Kingdom. These amulets functioned as rebirth symbols, although the reason for this use is not apparent today. Possibly this charm protected the deceased because the hedgehog thrived in the low desert's harsh environment in or near cemeteries.