Cow’s head and horns from Gerzeh (after Petrie; Ceremonial Slate Palettes

 and Corpus of Proto-Dynastic Pottery. BSAE 66, London 1953)


In the course of the winter 2006/7- expedition to the Gilf Kebir a Clayton (possibly) bearing the name of “Horus cattle(head)” was found. This king, who preceded U-j (Scorpion I) reigned around 3,200 BC (Naqada IIIa1), approx. 300 years before Dynasty 1. (see Dreyer, G.: Umm El-Qaab I. Das prädynastische Königsgrab U-j und seine frühen Schriftzeugnisse. Mainz 1998, pp. 65-67, 85 - 89, 175, 179-181; Kaiser, W.: Zur Entstehung des gesamtägyptischen Staates. MDAIK 46, 1990, pp. 289, 292)

The find sheds additional light on a chapter of the Predynastic era, which is so far veiled in obscurity and during which, according to Kaiser’s estimates, approx. 70-80 kings, most of them unknown, are supposed to have ruled. A characteristic feature of this period seems to be a distinct preference for using animal images to represent the names of kings. (Dreyer, G.: op cit, p. 86)

The detection of the name ”Horus cattle(head)“ at a resting place (muhattah) on the Kufra Trail implies that before movements across the Western Desert had been organized and directed by the centralized Nile Valley pharaonic authorities, earlier journeys that predate this era by about 630 years (see previous reports on my discovery of Djedefre´s Water Mountain, where I found two Cartouches of Cheops (2,609-2,584 BC).) had already been coordinated by the predynastic civil administrations also based in the Nile Valley. Thus, the Kufra Trail, which bears vivid traces of 6th Dynasty utilization, is of much older age than I had previously suspected.

Further reading as well as a study of known Predynastic pot marks is required as the discovery, obviously, has far reaching implications on our understanding of the ancient lines of communication across the desert west of the Nile, and also on the study of the origins and spread of the early pharaonic script. For this reason and because of animosities towards my work, which results in expert advice not being readily available to me, the publication of this chapter has to be postponed.

Berlin and Leipzig 9/10/2007

Carlo Bergmann