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CORPUS OF POTMARKS FROM THE PROTODYNASTIC TO EARLY DYNASTIC CEMETERY AT KAFR HASSAN DAWOOD, WADI TUMILAT, EAST DELTA, EGYPT

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Over a hundred potmarks have been discovered at the East Delta site of Kafr Hassan Dawood (KHD), recorded both on ceramic and stone vessels. Some of the signs found at KHD are unique, while most are comparable with signs found at many contemporary East Delta sites, such as Minshat Abu Omar, Minshat Ezzat, Tell Ibrahim Awad, Tell el-Samara and the main cemeteries of the large urban centres of Memphis and Abydos. Out of the total amount of 1775 ceramic vessels found at the cemetery, 88 had engraved potmarks, which equates to 4.9%. Out of a total of 275 stone vessels, 2 were found to have engraved potmarks, which equates to 0.72%. Out of a total of 752 graves 39 contained vessels with potmarks, representing 5.2% of the total graves excavated. The vast majority of potmarks were discovered on storage or wine jars, although some were found on beer jars or breadmoulds. The most elaborate graves with the largest amount of grave goods: 913 and 970 had the largest amount of vessels with potmarks. Three serekhs were also found, one of King Ka/Sekhen in Grave 1008 and one of King Narmer in Grave 210 and another in Grave 913. These kings seem to have been instrumental in bringing the East Delta under Thinite rule. The occurrence of potmarks seems to increase towards the beginning of the 1st Dynasty, with the majority of potmarks having been found in tombs of the higher classes. Some of the potmarks may be explained as geographical indicators: potmarks with the Ìwt sign, including possible Delta locations: potmarks with the Ìwt sign associated with a fish sign. Three distinct types of marks can be distinguished amongst the potmarks - abstract accounting signs, potters marks and pre-formal hieroglyphs.
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CORPUS OF POTMARKS FROM THE PROTODYNASTIC TO
EARLY DYNASTIC CEMETERY AT KAFR HASSAN DAWOOD,
WADI TUMILAT, EAST DELTA, EGYPT
GEOFFREY J. TASSIE1, FEKRI A. HASSAN1, JORIS VAN WETERING2& BRAM CALCOEN3
1Institute of Archaeology, University College London, England
2Den Haag, Netherlands
3Antwerpen, Belgium
Over a hundred potmarks have been discovered at the East Delta site of Kafr
Hassan Dawood (KHD), recorded both on ceramic and stone vessels. Some of
the signs found at KHD are unique, while most are comparable with signs found
at many contemporary East Delta sites, such as Minshat Abu Omar, Minshat
Ezzat, Tell Ibrahim Awad, Tell el-Samara and the main cemeteries of the large
urban centres of Memphis and Abydos.
Out of the total amount of 1775 ceramic vessels found at the cemetery, 88 had
engraved potmarks, which equates to 4.9%. Out of a total of 275 stone vessels,
2 were found to have engraved potmarks, which equates to 0.72%. Out of a total
of 752 graves 39 contained vessels with potmarks, representing 5.2% of the total
graves excavated. The vast majority of potmarks were discovered on storage or
wine jars, although some were found on beer jars or breadmoulds. The most
elaborate graves with the largest amount of grave goods: 913 and 970 had the
largest amount of vessels with potmarks. Three serekhs were also found, one of
King Ka/Sekhen in Grave 1008 and one of King Narmer in Grave 210 and
another in Grave 913. These kings seem to have been instrumental in bringing
the East Delta under Thinite rule. The occurrence of potmarks seems to increase
towards the beginning of the 1st Dynasty, with the majority of potmarks having
been found in tombs of the higher classes.
Some of the potmarks may be explained as geographical indicators: potmarks
with the Ìwt sign, including possible Delta locations: potmarks with the Ìwt sign
associated with a fish sign. Three distinct types of marks can be distinguished
amongst the potmarks – abstract accounting signs, potters marks and pre-formal
hieroglyphs.
General Introduction
Kafr Hassan Dawood (KHD) is located on the southern edge of the Wadi
Tumilat in the East Delta, 8 km east of Al-Tell el-Kebir and 40 km west
of modern Ismailia (Hassan 2000; Hassan et al. 2003). Both the settle-
ment and cemetery of this community have been located, however, water
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 201
seepage from a land reclamation project in the vicinity of the settlement
made its excavation too impractical.1Archaeological work has, therefore,
focused on the excavation of the cemetery. From 1989 to 1995 the local
Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) Inspectorate under the direction
of Mohammed Ilewa el-Moslamy, assisted by Mohammed Salem El-
Hangouri excavated 921 graves. From 1995 until 1999 the mission was
a collaboration between University College London and the SCA under
the direction of Prof. Fekri A. Hassan and a total of 1069 graves have
now been excavated: 752 Protodynastic to Early Dynastic Periods, and
317 Late Period to Ptolemaic Period.2A final monograph series on the
results of the excavations at KHD is being prepared for publication (Has-
san et al., in prep.).
The cemetery originally seems to have consisted of approximately 1300
burials that date from the late Protodynastic Period (Naqada IIIB) to the
Early Dynastic (Naqada IIIC2) although the ongoing analysis of the
ceramic assemblage indicates the possibility of slightly earlier and later
periods. A total of 1775 ceramic vessels and 275 stone vessels have been
recovered. A selection of the potmark corpus is presented here, as research
relating to the SCA excavations is ongoing.
Intra-site Analysis
Most of the potmarks found at KHD were applied before the firing of
the ceramic vessel, with the exception of KHD4100, and all of them are
of the engraved variety with no cursive inscription in ink having being
recovered. The engraving of the potmarks into the wet clay appears to
have been by a pointed instrument, either a wooden stylus — sharpened
stick or reed or a fine flint point. No other forms of early palaeography,
such as sealings or bone or wooden tags were recovered from the site,
although this may be due to the poor rate of preservation at the site.
The majority of the graves containing the potmarks are concentrated
in the north-south sector in the central part of the cemetery, which
corresponds with the most richly furnished and most elaborate graves at
202 G.J. TASSIE, F.A. HASSAN, J. VAN WETERING & B. CALCOEN
1A series of test pits located what appeared to be settlement remains at a depth of
4 m below surface.
2During the analysis of the graves from KHD, it was necessary to assign new grave
numbers to groups of contexts that were originally given feature numbers, which is why
the total number of graves has increased slightly from previous publications. As the analy-
sis of the Eastern cemetery (Late Period to Ptolemaic) continues, this number may change
further. When the investigation of the cemeteries is completed a fuller temporal distribution
of graves within the cemetery will be possible.
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 202
the site (Tassie & van Wetering 2003). Although most of the potmarks
are comparable with signs found at contemporary sites nearby, such as
Minshat Abu Omar (MAO) and Tell Ibrahim Awad (TIA), some are
unique, for example, the large sign that may possibly represent a shield
(KHD4071) and the temple sign (KHD4008). Unlike the potmarks on
ceramic vessels, potmarks on stone vessels are much rarer. Two of these
have been found at KHD, one in Grave 890 and the other in Grave 970,
both large rectangular mud-lined graves.
Out of a total of 104 potmarks,3102 different potmarks were recorded
on ceramic vessels from 38 graves, as well as two potmarks (KHD4004 &
KHD4054) recorded on Egyptian alabaster tall cylindrical beakers
(KHD2005 & KHD2101) from two different graves. A simplified ceramic
and stone vessel typology is used here (ongoing ceramic analysis will
duly provide a fuller ceramic typology of the KHD vessels), dividing the
vessels on which potmarks are found into eight ceramic forms and one
stone vessel form (Fig. 1). Both van den Brink (1992) and Kroeper (2000)
give a simplified pottery typology in their respective articles on potmarks.
As their typologies are slightly more extensive than the one used here,
several of their functional categories are compounded here. Within the
KHD elongated storage “wine” jar category are Kroeper’s (2000) serekh,
ovoid flat large and wine jar types; and within the ovoid storage “beer”
jar category are Kroeper’s (2000) small ovoid types. As Chart 1 shows
the vast majority of potmarks have been found on elongated storage
“wine” jars (47%) with a lesser amount found on ovoid storage “beer”
jars (20%). A few were found on small squat jars (3%), large bulbous jars
(2%), small piriform jars with flat bases (1%), bowls (3%), flat oval
breadmoulds (3%) and Egyptian alabaster tall cylindrical beakers (2%).
Several potmarks were on potsherds/unidentifiable vessels (19%).
The internal distribution of the potmarks in relation to the distribution
of wealth/status within the cemetery is based on Rowland (1998; 2003),
Rowland & Hassan (2003) and Tassie & Van Wetering (2003). The graves
were initially split into eight contextualised categories: 1, 2-4, 5-8, 9-16,
17-32, 33-64, 65-128 and 129-256 based on number of grave goods. For
POTMARKS FROM THE CEMETERY AT KAFR HASSAN DAWOOD 203
3The authors have recently received the majority of the data pertaining to the 1989-
1995 seasons, which were originally omitted or not available when Mohammed Ilewa el-
Moslamy and Dr Mohammed Salem El-Hangouri of the local SCA gave Prof. Hassan their
records. The data includes representations of the serekhs from Grave 210 and 913 as well
as a further 100 potmarks not included in this preliminary study. To include the new data
(received May 2006) would require a major re-writing of the article, therefore, the new data
will form the core of another study to be presented at Origines 3 and some will be included
in the report to be presented in a volume of ASAE.
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 203
this present analysis, graves with no grave goods (201) have been omit-
ted from the calculations as they cannot by their nature contain vessels
with potmarks. The grave with the greatest number of potmarks, and also
the greatest number of pottery vessels with potmarks, is Grave 913, which
has 23 potmarks on 19 different vessels. The grave with the next largest
number of potmarks and vessels with potmarks is Grave 970, with 19
potmarks on 14 pottery vessels. These two graves dating to Naqada IIIC
(c. 3050 BC) are the largest and most richly furnished graves in the ceme-
tery. However, although both the graves are the same size (6 ≈ 4 m),
Grave 970 was robbed in antiquity, which may account for the differen-
tial in the amount of potmarks (and also total number of grave goods pre-
sent). Following Tassie & van Wetering (2003) the eight initial categories
have been grouped into three social categories based on grave goods and
grave architecture 1-4 grave goods = Grade 1, 5-16 grave goods = Grade
2, >17 grave goods = Grade 3. The results show that graves with 1-4 arte-
facts are the least likely to contain vessels with potmarks; the category 5-
16 vessels are over twice as likely to have vessels with potmarks compared
to Group 1, whereas rich graves with >17 vessels have better than a 2:1
chance of containing vessels inscribed with a potmark (see Table 1 &
Chart 2). This indicates that at KHD the elite segment of society were the
most likely to have inscribed vessels in their graves and as such probably
controlled the exchange networks and pottery production and saw these
items as prestige goods, owning these vessels gave them great kudos.
Since only a small proportion of the graves have been aged and sexed
(Tucker 2003),4the analysis of potmarks in relation to these attributes
has not been attempted.
The serekhs at KHD, the Delta and Southern Levant in relation to
Upper Egypt
Three serekhs have been found at KHD, one of King Ka/Sekhen in Grave
1008, the other two of King ‘Narmer’ one in Grave 210 and the other in
204 G.J. TASSIE, F.A. HASSAN, J. VAN WETERING & B. CALCOEN
4No bioarchaeologist was present at the site prior to 1995 and only limited informa-
tion was able to be retrieved from the extant skeletal remains from those graves still acces-
sible, also, the low rate of skeletal preservation often made the sexing of individuals
difficult and in some case impossible. The two largest graves — 913 and 970 — only con-
tained fragments of skeletal material, as did 1008 and 923, making it impossible to dis-
cern the age or sex. Grave 956 is the only elite grave with potmarks to be aged and sexed –
adult male, all other elite graves were excavated prior to 1995.
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 204
Grave 913.5These kings seem to be instrumental in bringing the East
Delta under Thinite control (van Wetering, in prep. b) and also corre-
spond with a period of seemingly intensive Thinite contact with the
Southern Levant (see Braun & van den Brink, this volume). The signif-
icance of vessels with serekhs within graves, excluding the tomb of the
king in question, is still very problematic. As stated elsewhere (Tassie &
Van Wetering 2003; Van Wetering & Tassie 2003), KHD cannot be
considered to have been an important, regional political centre like Tell
Ibrahim Awad or Tell Beni Amir. The appearance of vessels with Thi-
nite royal names seems to imply some sort of interaction between the
elite at KHD and the Thinite administration. It might be that these ves-
sels represent gifts from these Thinite kings to local chieftains or rulers
to align or consolidate their allegiance to the newly established Thinite
rule in their area. As such, the contents of these vessels from the Thinite
kings may have been used in local feasting ceremonies thereby enhanc-
ing the prestige of the local rulers. It is also possible that a vessel with
the serekh of a Thinite king reached KHD via indirect contact; the direct
contact being between the Thinite administration and a regional ruler in
the East Delta. This ruler may have redistributed part of the commodities
he received from Upper Egypt to his own dependants, like the local chief
at KHD who in return provided his overlord with, for example, agricul-
tural goods and fishing-related products procured from the Wadi Tumilat
area (van Wetering, in prep. b).
The only other East Delta site where the serekh of Ka/Sekhen has been
found is TIA, whereas the serekh of Narmer is known from MAO, TIA,
Ezbet el-Tell/Kufur Nigm (EET) and an unnamed East Delta location.
Many other Protodynastic and Early Dynastic serekhs have been found
in the Delta, such as that of Iry-Hr, which has only been found at the set-
tlement of Tell el-Farkha (TEF) (Jucha, this volume). Plain serekhs have
been found at MAO and TIA, an unreadable serekh was also found at
MAO, and anonymous ones at EET and MAO. The Double falcon serekh
is only known from TIA, whereas Ny-Hr is known from both TIA and
EET. Hr-Crocodile is only recorded at MAO, and a Horus? serekh from
an un-identified East Delta location (van den Brink 2001: 86). At Buto
POTMARKS FROM THE CEMETERY AT KAFR HASSAN DAWOOD 205
5Dr Mohammed Salem el-Hangouri (2000) describes both the serekh from Grave 210
(a 1.8 ≈ 1.3 m rectangular grave with five pottery vessels) and Grave 913 as being
of Narmer, however, on initial examination of these serekhs they appear to be unlike
any so far recorded for this king. After further research they will be presented at Origi-
nes 3.
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 205
in the West Delta serekhs of both Ny-Hr and Hr-Ka have been found
(van den Brink 2001: 86). In the Sinai at el-Beda serekhs of Double Fal-
con and a plain one have been recovered, plain serekhs have also been
found at Sheikh Zuweid (van den Brink & Gophna 2004). At Site A/137
a Double falcon serekh was also found and a Horus? serekh was found
at Site C/64 (van den Brink 2001: 89-93). In the Southern Levant the
serekh of Ka was found at Tell Lod, whereas the serekh of Narmer has
been recovered at Tel Lod, Tel Erani, Tel Halif/Arad, and Tel es-Sakan
(van den Brink 2001: 85).
As some of these serekhs found in the (East) Delta are not present at
Upper Egyptian sites, it has been argued that some of these serekhs
belong to Lower Egyptian rulers (van den Brink 2001: 83; Köhler & van
den Brink 2002; Jiménez Serrano 2001; 2003; van Wetering, in prep.
b). Progressively from the late Protodynastic Period and during the early
1st Dynasty, the serekhs of Thinite kings appear at Lower Egyptian
sites as well as sites in the Southern Levant (van Wetering, in prep. a).
The presence of serekhs in graves does not prove direct access to royal
workshops or even direct royal patronage nor does the palaeography of
these serekhs indicate that they were all made in central workshops. At
least some of these serekhs were made in regional administrative work-
shops under royal authorisation (Van Wetering & Tassie 2003). Although
the owning of vessels with a serekh may not indicate direct royal contact,
it is clear that such vessels or more likely their contents were perceived
of as a status symbol (van Wetering, in prep. b): a way to favour and be
favoured by m¨t, be in beneficent aura of the divine personage of the
king (Raffaele 2005a). Wengrow (2006: 210-211) suggests that the dis-
tribution of serekhs constitutes evidence for the insertion of royal agency
into the attachment of visible marks of identity placed with the dead.
As stated above, the interaction between the Thinite court and the elite
of a Lower Egyptian site cannot be inferred from the presence of a ves-
sel with the serekh of a Thinite king within the graves of those elite.
However, the appearance of these kinds of vessels in Lower Egyptian
contexts at a time of Upper Egyptian political expansion is nonetheless an
indication of some kind of contact, be it direct or indirect (Köhler, this
volume; van Wetering, in prep. b). If it is established that this contact is
direct, these objects (be it the vessel engraved with the king’s name and/or
the contents) may be indicators of friendly political relations or even pos-
sibly allegiance to the Thinite administration at a time when Lower Egypt,
which most likely consisted of several political units of different sizes,
came under the political realm of the Thinite state.
206 G.J. TASSIE, F.A. HASSAN, J. VAN WETERING & B. CALCOEN
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 206
The Stone Vessels with Potmarks at KHD
Two tall cylindrical beakers made of Egyptian alabaster: KHD2005
(Grave 970) and KHD2101 (Grave 890) have been recorded at KHD as
having potmarks (Fig. 2). The stone vessels at KHD constitute 12% of the
total grave goods recovered from the cemetery (ceramic vessels = 78%
and other objects = 10%) and only 2 vessels (0.72%) of the 275 stone ves-
sels were engraved. Grave 890, a mud-lined grave of 3 ≈ 1.5 m, had a
total of 34 grave goods, whereas Grave 970, a mud-lined grave of 6 ≈ 4 m,
had 85, although this grave showed signs of ancient tomb robbery. The
two potmarks found, KHD4004 and KHD4054, are Type Group N –
Crosses, with signs and Type Group O – Criss-cross respectively. Both
could have been allocated different categories, KHD4004 as it comprises
of two signs could have been put in Type Group F – mr ~ hoe, whereas
KHD4054, because of the way the sign is constructed could have been
allocated to Type Group E – Ìwt.
Most of the literature covering potmarks does not include those on
stone vessels (van den Brink 1992; Dreyer 1999; Engel 1997; Kroeper
2000), either because there are no engraved stone vessels at the site(s) or
because they are regarded as a different genre of early writing. However,
a pr/Ìwt sign with a cross in its centre is recorded on a tall shouldered
jar (R.B.1655) from Tell el-Samara (Gabr el-Baghdadi, pers comm.
2005). The majority of stone vessels with inscriptions have been found
in the royal cemetery at Abydos, Umm el-Qa’ab and in the Step Pyramid
Complex galleries of Netjerykhet Djoser.6These, like the ceramic vessels,
fall into two main types: engraved or cursive inscription in ink, with the
former being the most common (Raffaele 2005a; 2005b). The cursive
ink inscriptions, according to Raffaele (2005a), were meant as temporary
notation and generally added to the interior of the vessel, as an indica-
tion of the name and main titles of the owner or donor and the occasion
or ceremony, e.g. the heb-sed. The provenance of the material, vessel
size, workshops, producers and temples could also be written in ink.
However, the engraved inscriptions, such as the ones on the KHD vessels,
POTMARKS FROM THE CEMETERY AT KAFR HASSAN DAWOOD 207
6The vessels found in certain galleries of the Step Pyramid Complex were originally
part of 1st Dynasty cultic monuments and 2nd Dynasty royal tombs’ assemblages, which
were located in the general area where during the early 3rd Dynasty the Step Pyramid com-
plex was constructed (van Wetering 2004: 1074-1077). Some of the stone vessels found
in the Step Pyramid galleries are now on display in the Imhotep Museum, Saqqara.
A selection of stone vessels and sherds with potmarks is on display in the Egyptian Museum
of Antiquities, Cairo and many are recorded in Quibell 1904/1905, particularly pl. 56.
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 207
were meant to be permanent, usually engraved on the exterior of the ves-
sel to be fairly visible (Raffaele 2005a). The subjects engraved on the
vessels consisted of royal names, names of deities, high officials’ names,
temples or shrines, palaces, provisions for royal, administrative or reli-
gious institutions, and feasts and ceremonies at which the vessels and
their contents were offered (Raffaele 2005a).
Given that most inscriptions on stone vessels have been found in royal
necropolises (Raffaele 2005a), the finding of two inscriptions on stone
vessels in a low ranking cemetery is incongruous with this pattern.
However, most of the inscriptions found on vessels in the royal cemeteries
are longer than one or two signs (Raffaele 2005b). The inscriptions found
on the KHD stone vessels are short, similar to examples found on ceramic
vessels that are usually made of only one or two to five signs (van den
Brink 1992: 267). For this reason the inscriptions on the KHD stone
vessels are grouped with the potmarks engraved on ceramic vessels. If the
inscription KHD4054 is read as Ìwt then it may indicate a provision
or offering for an administrative building or shrine. The inscription
KHD4004 consists of the mr and ≈ signs, if the vessel itself is included
as a determinative, then this inscription may indicate the substance once
held within – unguent or oil and the inscription may be an abbreviated
or early form of mrÌt, which often uses a tall cylindrical beaker stone
vessel as a determinative in later formal hieroglyphic writing (Gardiner
1957: 569). As this vessel was found in a group of other tall cylindrical
beakers of Egyptian alabaster, the ≈ may indicate that it was 14of the total
oil or unguent offered or may mean mixed, as in mixed oils. A similar
potmark consisting of a mr and ≈ sign was found at Abydos on a stone
vessel sherd (CG14442) from a tall cylindrical beaker of Egyptian
alabaster, although on this example there were traces of black pigment in
the inscribed signs (Quibell 1904/1905: pl. 56).
The Potmark Corpus
For consistency, the Potmark Type Groups used by Kroeper (2000) at
MAO are followed here to present the KHD potmarks (Appendix 4 pro-
vides a concordance to the potmark groups used by van den Brink 1992
and his serekh typology [van den Brink 2001]). As with Kroeper (2000)
the KHD potmarks are not presented in a stylised or abstract form, but
rather how they appeared on the vessels. The ordering of potmarks, not
in a chronological sequence, but in groups of like potmarks is done purely
208 G.J. TASSIE, F.A. HASSAN, J. VAN WETERING & B. CALCOEN
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 208
for ease of presentation and to give an ordered overview of the signs
found at KHD (see Appendices).7
The growing corpus of potmarks from both Upper and Lower Egypt
(including the oases and deserts) is providing valuable insights into the
early development of writing in Egypt. The corpus of potmarks from KHD
adds to this in a minor way with a few unique signs, as well as known
signs, in the mortuary context of a small-scale agricultural community.
To allow for full use of the KHD material in current research, the database
of the KHD potmarks includes contextual information which is attached
as an Appendix to this study. However, due to space limitations, the pot-
marks are not shown to scale, although the exact measurements of the
individual potmarks are given in the contextual information (Appendix 2).
Regional Inter-site Analysis
The comparative analysis8of the KHD potmarks has been conducted
mostly with MAO, the nearest contemporary cemetery to KHD with a
published corpus of potmarks (Kroeper 2000). Continuing research into
comparisons with the potmarks from mortuary contexts at TIA, EET,
TEF, Minshat Ezzat (MEZ), Tell el-Samara (TES), and Tell el-Daba’a/
Qanan (TDQ), is helping to contextualise the KHD potmarks into a regional
perspective.9As part of this ongoing research, the KHD potmarks are not
only being compared to East Delta cemetery sites but also to those from
both large urban centres10 and smaller villages11 in other parts of Egypt,
to discern whether a distribution pattern is apparent.
POTMARKS FROM THE CEMETERY AT KAFR HASSAN DAWOOD 209
7The majority of the potmark drawings were completed by Bram Calcoen, with addi-
tional ones added by Aloisa de Trafford, Annette Kjølby, G.J. Tassie and Joanne M. Row-
land. At the time of writing only some of the potmark drawings and photographs from pre-
1995 had been supplied by Mohammed Salem El-Hangouri. The representations of the
potmarks are kept in a registration book at a scale of 1:1 along with the contextual infor-
mation stored in a database. The Kafr Hassan Dawood system of registering finds consists
of a four-digit number preceded by the site code KHD. All pottery vessels are numbered from
KHD0001-0999, potsherds from KHD1000-1999, stone vessels and sherds from KHD2000-
2999, small finds from KHD3000-3999 and potmarks from KHD4000-KHD4999.
8As all the KHD potmarks are from a mortuary context, for the time being the compar-
ative analysis has mainly been carried out with other cemetery sites in the East Delta, par-
ticularly MAO, which has 422 early graves excavated (Kroeper & Wildung 1994; 2000).
9The authors would like to thank Salem G. El-Baghdadi (MEZ, TES & TDQ), Gaëlle
Bréand (Adaïma) and Mariusz Jucha (TEF) for their invaluable help in providing unpub-
lished information on the potmarks from their sites.
10 Large urban centres: This-Abydos (Umm el-Qa’ab cemetery). Memphis (Saqqara
cemetery), Nekhen [Hierakonpolis], and el-Zawayda South Town [Naqada].
11 Smaller farming villages: el-Adaïma as well as settlements and cemeteries in the
Badari region.
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 209
There is, to a large extent, a correspondence in types of potmarks found
at KHD and those found at MAO, although there is less variety and quan-
tity within the KHD type groups. At KHD, the numerical appearance of
signs per potmark is in concordance with the figures found at MAO
(Kroeper 2000: 215), however, the Thinite corpus of van den Brink
(1992: 271) differs significantly from the figures from both MAO and KHD
(see Chart 3). The distribution of potmarks on various types of ceramic
vessel types correlates well with the potmark distribution amongst ves-
sel types at MAO (Kroeper 2000: 214-5) and also in the wider context
(van den Brink 1992: 69), where the highest percentage was found on
elongated storage “wine” jars, followed next by the ovoid storage “beer”
jars, with the other types of vessels having much smaller percentages.
Only one of Kroeper’s (2000) serekh type vessels was found at KHD and
this was grouped with the elongated storage “wine” jars. This vessel,
KHD0070, was found in Grave 1008 and is a large Type III storage jar,
with scollop decoration around its shoulder and a pronounced flaring rolled
rim (van den Brink 1996: fig 3: 17) and an incised serekh containing the
name of King Sekhen (Ka) in the lower compartment (van den Brink
2001: typology no. 10.b.1-2). This jar is comparable to a jar found at
Helwan dated to Naqada IIIB (van den Brink 1996; 2001; Saad 1947),
which places it at the end of the late Protodynastic period. In Grave 1008
another three potmarks were found, one on the same vessel and two oth-
ers on seperate vessels. These are the only four potmarks found dating to
the Naqada IIIB period at KHD and this concords with the findings of
Kroeper (2000: 215) that there was an increase in the amount of pot-
marks and vessels with potmarks in the Naqada IIIC/1st Dynasty period.
At MAO, only one of the elite graves from the Naqada IIIC period was
found not to contain any vessels with potmarks (Rowland 2003), which
again correlates well with the KHD findings.
Some of the potmarks that are made up of a Ìwt sign and one or more
additional signs (KHD4035, KHD4042) seem to represent place-names,
and of these, the ones whereby a Ìwt sign is coupled with a fish sign
might point at Delta localities (Kroeper 2000: 188, 208-209). As many
Delta estates/sites are attested as having a fish sign in their name, at least
as early as the Old Kingdom (Bietak 1975: 149-177; Kaplony 1981) it
may well indicate the place of origin of the vessel or a regional redistri-
bution centre (Kroeper 2000: 216). As most of the potmarks were incised
before firing, the place of origin is more likely indicated, rather than a
regional redistribution centre (unless the place of origin was such a cen-
tre), for this would imply that certain vessels were produced at a site with
210 G.J. TASSIE, F.A. HASSAN, J. VAN WETERING & B. CALCOEN
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 210
POTMARKS FROM THE CEMETERY AT KAFR HASSAN DAWOOD 211
12 The authors would like to thank Dr. E.C.M. van den Brink for providing us with
detailed information concerning the provenance of several potmarks listed in his corpus
(van den Brink 1992).
the express intention of naming the large nodes of redistribution, rather
than place of origin.
Potmarks with a fish sign and a Ìwt sign have been found at several
East Delta cemetery sites: four at KHD (KHD4000, 4034, 4051, 4058),
nine at MAO (Kroeper 2000: 208), one at EET (van den Brink, pers
comm. 2005), at least two at MEZ (el-Baghdadi 2003: 145) and another
two at TES (el-Baghdadi, pers comm. 2005). Similar groups of signs are
also mentioned by van den Brink (1992) in his index (Group XXVI) and
the provenance (van den Brink, pers comm. 2005)12 of these vessels may
well indicate that this kind of potmark did indeed represent a (East) Delta
place-name. A few of the Ìwt and fish potmarks were found at Abu
Roash, which would correspond with an identification of Abu Roash
as a distributive node in the transport network between Delta and Valley
centres (van Wetering & Haanen 2002; van Wetering & Tassie 2003:
fig. 3). Of the fish + Ìwt potmarks found in the Nile Valley, most come
from the Memphite region (primarily the elite cemetery at North Saqqara,
with smaller amounts found at Abusir, Tura and Tarkhan near the Faiyum)
with a lesser amount from Abydos (royal cemetery at Umm el-Qa’ab).
This distribution pattern is in accord with the large royal administrative
centres acquiring or appropriating goods, particularly wine and other
foodstuffs originating from (East) Delta localities to supply their feasting
(Hayden 1996: 127-46; Sherratt 2002: 69-70; also see Jiménez Serrano
2002 for early Egyptian festivals) and redistribution requirements.
Also, the absence of this type of potmark from the corpus of about 900
potmarks from the small agricultural community of Adaïma in Upper
Egypt (Bréand, pers comm. 2005) would seem to support this distribution
pattern: that the large royal administrative centres were the final destina-
tion of goods from the Delta, rather than smaller Upper Egyptian commu-
nities having direct access.
As would be expected (Renfrew & Bahn 1991: 307-338), a large pro-
portion of these Ìwt and fish potmarks have been discovered at the places
of origin: (East) Delta localities and their regional redistribution nodes.
Outside of the Delta these potmarks are only found in the Memphite
region, the main royal residence and administrative centre of early Egypt
(van Wetering 2004: 1055) and to a lesser extent Abydos. The prelimi-
nary pattern that is emerging is a multi-modal pattern, which indicates
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 211
these items were transported by riverine vessels — a much more effi-
cient distribution method over long distances — rather than down-the-line
overland exchange. That the majority of potmarks have been found
engraved on elongated storage “wine” jars seems to indicate that the con-
tents of these types of vessels were considered important, even prestige
goods by the royal administration. If, as indicated by residue analysis
(Hartung 2002: 437; Zohary & Hopf 2000: 157), some of these types of
vessels did indeed contain wine, it may indicate that the (East) Delta was
a wine producing area or redistribution centre for wine from the Levant
(Tassie et al., in prep.). The wine and to a lesser extent beer may have
been a significant component of funerary (and other) rituals, with some
being consumed during the rites and others placed in the grave.
These transactions between the (East) Delta sites and the large admin-
istrative centres may well have been part of a system to reinforce alle-
giances, and as such a crucial part in the formation of the state. The ongo-
ing regional analysis is looking into the possibility of identifying a
distribution pattern of this type of potmarks at cemetery sites in the East
Delta. It might be possible to identify the ancient name (or at least the
signs) of certain Lower Egyptian sites. Tentatively, the presence at KHD
of these place-name potmarks in relation to MAO seems to point at:
[1] a limited access for the majority of the KHD inhabitants [burials] to
goods from outside their locality,13 and [2] regional goods exclusively
directed at the elite/high status [graves] during a limited time frame —
late Protodynastic until the early 1st Dynasty.14
Potmark and Early Palaeography Discussion
Several of the signs that constitute the potmarks are recognisable as early
forms of formal writing (Hassan 1983). In the KHD potmark corpus,
these signs are: prt / Ìwt – Type Groups B, C and D (Gardiner sign
list O1), Ìwt — Type Group E (O6), mr – Type Group F (U6), k
Type Group G (D28), niwt – Type Group H (O49), ≈ crossed sticks –
Type Group N (Z10), nr– Type Group U (R8), and n, a cattle hobble –
212 G.J. TASSIE, F.A. HASSAN, J. VAN WETERING & B. CALCOEN
13 However, it is uncertain whether the stone vessels found at KHD were made locally
with the raw materials transported to the site or the finished vessels were imported, so this
assumption is limited to pottery and their contents.
14 However, against this argues the fact that more elite/high status burials were inves-
tigated in the central part of the cemetery by the local SCA prior to 1995 and the data from
these burials, including the potmarks, although now available, have not yet been analysed
due to time constraints (see note 3).
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 212
Type Group V (V20). Although these signs cannot be fully understood
yet, progress in this area is continually being made (Kaplony 1963; 1968;
Kahl 1994; 2001a; 2001b; Kahl et al. 2002; 2003; 2004; Regulski, this
volume). This work is not attempting to interpret all of the potmarks, but
to present the KHD potmarks for addition into the growing corpus, so
that philologists and palaeographers can use the contextualised material
to help better understand this important area of the study into Egyptian
state formation.
Many of the signs consist of one sign or abstract strokes, although up
to five signs are also recorded (van den Brink 1992: 267, and see chart 3),
however, longer inscriptions are also recorded on the vessels (Kroeper
2000: 188). These marks on the vessels can be divided into at least three
categories (see below), with one of the categories being preformal hiero-
glyphs.15 Similar preformal hieroglyphic signs can also be found on jar
sealings and seal impressions, indicating that this category of signs were
indeed part of the same writing system.
It appears from the KHD potmarks and other potmarks that there are
at least three distinct types of signs:
1) Preformal hieroglyphs
2) Accounting marks
3) Potters marks
The preformal hieroglyphs, such as Type Groups A. B, C, D, E, F, G, H,
N, U and V appear to be precursors of signs that go on to become for-
mal hieroglyphic signs. The single and multiple strokes and dots, Type
Groups Q, R, S, and T, particularly when applied to the rim or base of
the vessel, may be accounting marks indicating the number of vessels
made, whereas the thumb and nail prints on the rims of Type Group J,
may just be potters marks. Kroeper (2000: 216) conducted statistical
analysis examining whether there were any correlations between the num-
ber of strokes and dots and the size and volume of the vessels and could
find no parallels. The latter category, thumb, nail and finger prints are not
to be confused with finger prints that are often found on the body of the
vessel, impressed there during the course of the manufacture of the ves-
sel. These production marks have been found, generally on the outside of
POTMARKS FROM THE CEMETERY AT KAFR HASSAN DAWOOD 213
15 The use of the term preformal hieroglyphs is following the term first defined by
Regulski this volume. These signs can also be defined as informal or nonstandardised
as not all of these signs go on to become hieroglyphs, but to keep consistency and create
conventions Regulski’s term has been maintained throughout.
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 213
the shoulder or inside where the rim meets the shoulder of the vessel on
ovoid storage or “beer” jars, such as KHD0010 (outside) and KHD0012
and KHD0014 (inside). These marks appear to be where the potter
smoothed the applied rim to the body of the vessel and failed to blend this
application smoothly as these were rough ware vessels.
As both the abstract strokes and dots and potters marks appear with
preformal writing inscriptions it cannot be said that the preformal hiero-
glyphs developed out of these abstract signs. Kroeper (2000: 188) concurs
that the preformal writing on the vessels was a precursor to the formal
hieroglyphic writing system of the Early Dynastic and Old Kingdom.
Synthesis and Interpretation
One of the common traits of emerging pristine states (apart from the
Incas) is the development of writing, it is not merely a manifestation of
the social order, but is embedded within it (Postgate et al. 1995: 459).
The emergence of these early writing systems were primarily utilitarian,
administrative in nature; although this is not to negate that some com-
ponents originated in ceremonial symbols and that writing was also used
to display the agenda of the ruling class (Postgate et al.1995: 479). The
individual logograms (where each symbol represents a complete word or
idea), which were often kept in the more developed hieroglyphic writing
system, would often represent one whole word. These writing systems
were initially not able or designed to represent continual spoken dialogue,
rather, the representation of linguistic syntax was a later adaptation of its
original structures and function, which related more closely to other non-
linguistic modes of communication (Wengrow 2006: 203). Although
some of the potmarks cannot be considered as true writing as they do not
seem to correspond to a segment of language, others (preformal writing)
should be seen as early writing and not just as a system of symbols (Hoff-
man 1979: 291-292; Petrie 1900: 29-32; Postgate et al.1995: 459).
A particularly noteworthy potmark is KHD4005, which represents a
crocodile/lizard. Comparative crocodile potmarks have been found on
stone vessels (Kaplony 1968: 12-14) and on ceramic vessels (van den
Brink 1993: 294, Group XXXIV-8). On the stone vessels, the crocodiles
are depicted from above, whereas the KHD potmark, as well as the one
shown by van den Brink depict the crocodile from the side. The size of
the KHD potmark makes it more of a decoration then a potmark, the
size of the potmark in the van den Brink corpus is not known. Another
seemingly unique potmark is KHD4008, which might be identified as a
214 G.J. TASSIE, F.A. HASSAN, J. VAN WETERING & B. CALCOEN
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 214
temple-sign (see Fig. 3.B). There is no similar sign at MAO nor in a
wider context (van den Brink 1992), however, faience models in the form
of, and depicting temple structures were found within the temple deposits
at TIA and these resemble the KHD potmark (van Haarlem 1998: 183,
fig. 18-c, fig. 19-a). The shield-like potmark (KHD4071) is extrordinary,
as it is almost as large as the elongated storage or “wine” jar it is
engraved on. To the best of our knowledge, it is the largest potmark ever
found in early Egypt. The large crocodile16 and shield-like potmarks might
be more decorative than actual logograms. Two other remarkable pot-
marks consist of the k sign, with in the one case a macehead [KHD4016]
and in the other case, two additional signs [KHD4021], which might rep-
resent a name Iy-k (Kaplony 1963: 1108, Abb. 113) although the sign
within the k sign is identified by Kroeper (2000: 210) as a nrsign,
which might then represent nr-k, which could possibly be read as divine
soul. The only macehead potmark at KHD is KHD4016, whereas this
sign is more frequent at MAO (Kroeper 2000: 208-209).
Amélineau (1899: 199-200) and de Morgan (1897: 165) thought that
potmarks indicated the contents of vessels. However, as potmarks were
usually applied before firing in the ceramic workshops and similar pot-
marks are found on different vessel types it seems unlikely that the
engraved type indicated the contents of the vessel (contra Emery 1949:
154-156). At MAO the residues in 27 pottery vessels with potmarks were
examined and no correlation could be established between the two
(Kroeper 2000: 216). Dreyer (1993) suggested that the potmarks denoted
estates, indicating the provenance of the vessels and their contents. Van
den Brink (1992: 276) reviewed many of the previous suggestions as to
the possible meaning of potmarks (ownership marks, potters marks, con-
tents description, indicators of the wine inside the vessel) and suggested
that a single sign might suffice to convey basic information, with further
signs adding more details. Wengrow (2006: 236-239) seems to make no
distinction about how the potmark was applied to the vessel and suggests
that they are all indications of the place where the produce was made and
the type and quality of produce the vessel held (and sometimes of the
donor).
However, the potmarks on ceramic vessels can only truly be understood
if divided into two main types: engraved and cursive inscriptions in ink,
with the former being the most common. The cursive ink inscriptions
POTMARKS FROM THE CEMETERY AT KAFR HASSAN DAWOOD 215
16 During Prof. Hassan’s excavations at Naqada in the early 1980s several Naqada I pot-
tery vessels were found with crocodile signs inscribed on them.
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 215
were a more temporary notation and need not have been applied at the
same place of origin as the vessel. These types of inscriptions may indi-
cate the name and main titles of the owner or donor and the occasion:
feast or ceremony, at which the vessel was offered. Ink tax marks were
also added, primarily to cylindrical vessels in the Protodynastic and the
1st Dynasty (Kaplony 1963). The engraved inscriptions fall into two sub-
categories, those applied before firing, which were meant as permanent
markers and those inscribed after firing, which may have acted like the
ink inscriptions. The potmarks found on imported wares were usually
always of the kind engraved after firing (van den Brink 1992: 276;
Kroeper 2000: 216). Those potmarks engraved before firing may indicate
the provenance of the material, amount of vessels made, workshop, pro-
ducer, estate, royal name, name of a deity, high official’s name, name
of a temple, shrine, or palace, or provisions for royal, administrative or
religious institutions, and feasts and ceremonies at which the vessels and
their contents were offered.
Although Postgate et al. (1995: 465) proposed that the potmarks
became more standardised during the 1st Dynasty, indicating that the cen-
tralised administration was responsible for the collection and redistribu-
tion of commodities (also see van den Brink 1992: 275, note 1; and Wen-
grow 2006: 251), it seems unlikely that the royal administration was
responsible for applying all of the various potmarks. The standardisation
of the regional economic-administrative systems’ potmarks more likely
occurred during the course of regular economic interaction between the
national and local elites. The rarity and importance of vessels with pot-
marks on made them so valuable that they were placed within the graves
of individuals that owned them or offered as part of the mortuary ritual
to these individuals. Although some of the potmarks would have been
produced by the central administration, others were produced by the local
elites, for regional and long distance trade, for accounting of taxable per-
centages for the royal administration, and to identify the donors of the
offerings at graves, shrines or temples. Once the full meanings of the
potmarks are better understood, particular areas of importance, such as
how the economy, administration and trade relations functioned during
the early state will be better understood. This area of study can therefore
elucidate many of the processes that contributed to the rise of the early
state and went on to maintain it.
Future analysis of the distribution of all the potmarks found to date is
essential, using database and Geographic Information System (GIS) tech-
nology to map the spatial distribution of the potmarks found throughout
216 G.J. TASSIE, F.A. HASSAN, J. VAN WETERING & B. CALCOEN
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 216
Egypt and record the contextual and palaeographic information. Although
intra-site maps have been constructed (Bréand, pers comm. is in the process
of constructing one for Adaïma; Rowland 2003 has completed one for
KHD), these cannot show the extent of the various potmarks distribution
throughout Egypt. The establishment of a multi-disciplinary Potmarks
Research Group at the International Conference on Predynastic and Early
Dynastic Egypt, Origines II at Toulouse is a much needed step in the right
direction to analyse potmarks, not only within the site perspective (Kroeper
2000), but also within the wider context (both Upper and Lower Egypt)
and time range (Predynastic Period to Middle Kingdom).
Acknowledgements
The authors would like to thank Professor Gaballa A. Gaballa and Dr.
Mohammed Abdel-Maksoud for their support of the SCA-UCL Joint Mis-
sion to KHD. Thanks also to our archaeologist colleagues, including the
Canal Zone Inspectorate. The authors would like to take this opportunity
to express their deepest sympathy on the sad death of Dr Mohammed
Salem El-Hangouri (ex-Director of KHD) in a car crash as he was trav-
elling from Suez to the SCA headquarters, Cairo in January 2006 and
send their condolences to his family and friends. The publication of the
material from KHD would not be possible without his kind help and co-
operation. Sincere thanks are also due to Dr. E.C.M. van den Brink and
Dr. Joanne M. Rowland, for their comments on the text. The KHD inves-
tigations have been funded by UNESCO, The National Geographic Society,
The Bioanthropology Foundation, The Supreme Council of Antiquities,
Uppsala University, The Humanities Research Council of Canada and
the Institute of Archaeology, UCL.
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POTMARKS FROM THE CEMETERY AT KAFR HASSAN DAWOOD 221
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 221
222 G.J. TASSIE, F.A. HASSAN, J. VAN WETERING & B. CALCOEN
Fig. 1. Distribution of Potmarks on the various types of vessels
found at KHD.
Fig. 2. Distribution of potmarks according to wealth/status inferred
from total number of grave goods found per grave.
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 222
Fig. 3. Types of vessels with potmarks. A) Large bulbous jars. B) Small squat
jars. C) Ovoid storage “beer” jars. D) Elongated storage “wine” jars.
E) Bowls. F) Flat oval bread moulds. G) Small piriform jars with flat bases.
H) Potsherds/unidentifiable vessels. I) Egyptian alabaster tall cylindrical
beakers. Drawn by Subhadra Das, drawings not shown to scale.
POTMARKS FROM THE CEMETERY AT KAFR HASSAN DAWOOD 223
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 223
Fig. 5. The numerical appearance of signs per potmark.
For the KHD (3 signs = 15%; 4+ signs = 7%) and MAO
(3 signs = 17%; 4+ signs = 9%) corpuses the 3 and 4+ signs have been
combined for comparing them with a mid-range of van den Brink’s (1992)
corpus (1 sign = 60%-80%; 2 signs = 15%-35%; 3 or more signs = up to 5%).
Fig. 4. Stone vessels with potmarks. Drawn by Subhadra Das.
224 G.J. TASSIE, F.A. HASSAN, J. VAN WETERING & B. CALCOEN
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 224
Fig. 6. Various ceramic potmarks, not to scale.
POTMARKS FROM THE CEMETERY AT KAFR HASSAN DAWOOD 225
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 225
226 G.J. TASSIE, F.A. HASSAN, J. VAN WETERING & B. CALCOEN
Group 1 Group 2 Group 3
(1-4 Grave Goods) (5-16 Grave Goods) (>17 Grave Goods)
Number of Graves/ 258: 7 (2.7 %) 268: 16 (5.9 %) 25: 15 (60 %)
with Potmarks
Total Number of 10 (9.7 %) 17 (16.5 %) 77 (73.8 %)
Potmarks per Group
Number of Graves 1 (14 % of graves 1 (6.2 % of graves 13 (86.6 % of graves
with More than one
Inscribed Vessel with potmarks) with potmarks) with potmarks)
Table 1. Numbers of graves with potmarks according to wealth inferred by
number of grave goods. In the first row of the chart, if the graves (201) with
no grave goods are added to the Group 1 figure of amount of graves
(258 + 201 = 459) the percentage with potmarks goes down even further
to 1.5 %, as the number with potmarks (7) does not change.
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 226
POTMARKS FROM THE CEMETERY AT KAFR HASSAN DAWOOD 227
Table 2. Corpus of potmarks from KHD.
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 227
228 G.J. TASSIE, F.A. HASSAN, J. VAN WETERING & B. CALCOEN
Potmark Placement Type of Vessel Grave Height & Width
No. on vessel No. of Potmark in mm
KHD4000 Shoulder Wine Jar 823 H. 49 W. 35
KHD4001 Body Beer Jar 1008 H. 18 W. 35
KHD4002 Body Wine jar 913 H. 40 W. 20
KHD4003 Body Wine Jar 970 H. 23 W. 30
KHD4004 Body Alabaster TCB 970 H. 28 W. 27
KHD4005 Shoulder Wine jar 970 H. 66 W. 109
KHD4006 Body Beer Jar 1005 H. 43 W. 37
KHD4007 Body Beer Jar 956 H. 28 W. 22
KHD4008 Body Wine Jar 923 H. 61 W. 35
KHD4009 Neck Wine Jar 923 H. 41 W. 21
KHD4010 Body Scalloped wine jar 1008 H. 79 W. 50
KHD4011 Body Scalloped wine jar 1008 H. 38 W. 45
KHD4012 Body Wine jar 970 H. 44 W. 46
KHD4013 Body Wine jar 970 H. 28 W. 26
KHD4014 Body Wine jar 970 H. 25 W. 26
KHD4015 Body Beer Jar 956 H. 22 W. 14
KHD4016 Body Wine jar 970 H. 55 W. 52
KHD4017 Body Squat jar 927 H. 30 W. 27
KHD4018 Inside rim Beer jar 970 H. 5 W. 9
KHD4019 Shoulder Squat jar 968 H. 8 W. 12
KHD4020 Body Wine jar 970 H. 47 W. 67
KHD4021 Body Beer jar 1011 H. 31 W. 21
KHD4022 Body Wine Jar 970 H. 66 W. 70
KHD4023 Shoulder Wine jar 970 H. 75 W. 75
KHD4024 Body Wine jar 970 H. 53 W. 60
KHD4025 Body Wine jar 970 H. 65 W. 45
KHD4026 Shoulder Large bulbous jar 970 H. 40 W. 62
KHD4027 Shoulder Large bulbous jar 970 H. 32 W. 40
KHD4028 Body Wine jar 913 H. 30 W. 30
KHD4029 Shoulder Beer jar 923 H. 15 W. 15
KHD4030 Body Wine jar 913 H. 45 W. 15
KHD4031 Base Wine Jar 1008 H. 29 W. 35
KHD4032 Body Beer Jar 913 H. 28 W. 22
KHD4033 Bottom Oval breadmould 913 H. 23 W. 17
KHD4034 Body Wine jar 913 H. 41 W. 56
KHD4035 Body Wine jar 913 H. 49 W. 45
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 228
POTMARKS FROM THE CEMETERY AT KAFR HASSAN DAWOOD 229
Potmark Placement Type of Vessel Grave Height & Width
No. on vessel No. of Potmark in mm
KHD4036 Body Wine jar 913 H. 51 W. 26
KHD4037 Body Wine jar 913 H. 46 W. 43
KHD4038 Body Wine jar 913 H. 47 W. 26
KHD4039 Body Beer jar 913 H. 17 W. 6
KHD4040 Body Wine jar 913 H. 38 W. 20
KHD4041 Body Wine jar 913 H. 26 W. 57
KHD4042 Body Wine jar 913 H. 50 W. 80
KHD4043 Body Wine jar 913 H. 90 W. 77
KHD4044 Body Beer jar 913 H. 20 W. 14
KHD4045 Below rim Beer jar 913 H. 6 W. 5
KHD4046 Body Beer jar 970 H. 4 W. 25
KHD4047 Body Wine Jar 1027 H. 55 W. 11
KHD4048 Body Wine jar 1024 H. 23 W. 12
KHD4049 Shoulder Wine jar 1024 H. 26 W. 47
KHD4050 Body Wine jar 913 H. 31 W. 9
KHD4051 Body Wine jar 913 H. 30 W. 35
KHD4052 Shoulder Beer jar 913 H. 20 W. 31
KHD4053 Wine Jar 913
KHD4054 Under rim Alabaster TCB 890 H. 11 W. 12
KHD4055 Shoulder Beer jar 299 H. 42 W. 44
KHD4056 Base Beer jar 890 H. 67 W. 31
KHD4057 Body Beer jar 1034 H. 41 W. 18
KHD4058 Below shoulder Wine jar 823 H. 52 W. 56
KHD4059 Rim Wine jar 1021 H. 17 W. 47
KHD4060 Body Wine jar 888 H. 53 W. 55
KHD4061 Bottom Oval breadmould 970 H. 23 W. 24
KHD4062 Base Oval breadmould 970 H. 15 W. 18
KHD4063 Shoulder Wine jar 970 H. 15 W. 10
KHD4064 Shoulder Beer jar 913 H. 47 W. 16
KHD4065 Shoulder Beer jar 913 H. 30 W. 29
KHD4066 Shoulder Beer jar 923 H. 58 W. 30
KHD4067 Rim Piriform jar 1014 H. 4 W. 10
KHD4068 Lower body Bowl 184 H. 14 W. 14
KHD4069 Body Squat jar 111 H. 69 W. 59
KHD4070 Body Beer jar 186 H. 83 W. 57
KHD4071 Body Wine jar 143 H. 330 W. 150
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 229
230 G.J. TASSIE, F.A. HASSAN, J. VAN WETERING & B. CALCOEN
Potmark Placement Type of Vessel Grave Height & Width
No. on vessel No. of Potmark in mm
KHD4072 Body Wine jar 123 H. 17 W. 16
KHD4073 166 H. 18 W. 29
KHD4074 184 H. 12 W. 11
KHD4075 186 H. 19 W. 22
KHD4076 210 H. 32 W. 38
KHD4077 222 H. 19 W. 50
KHD4078 223 H. 26 W. 56
KHD4079 229 H. 18 W. 54
KHD4080 233 H. 21 W. 44
KHD4081 233 H. 11 W. 26
KHD4082 233 H. 12 W. 20
KHD4083 298 H. 27 W. 32
KHD4084 384 H. 26 W. 11
KHD4085 551 H. 12 W. 36
KHD4086 551 H. 18 W. 24
KHD4087 551 H. 14 W. 40
KHD4088 Body Wine jar 601 H. 17 W. 39
KHD4089 Body Wine jar 601 H. 95 W. 80
KHD4090 716 H. 12 W. 49
KHD4091 Rim Bowl 184 H. 4 W. 88
KHD4092 Body Wine jar 834 H. 33 W. 63
KHD4093 Body Wine jar 834 H. 60 W. 78
KHD4094 Body Wine jar 834 H. 8 W. 17
KHD4095 879 H. 15 W. 43
KHD4096 Body Wine jar 890 H. 66 W. 44
KHD4097 Body 142 H. 28 W. 80
KHD4098 Body Wine Jar 651 H. 13 W. 11
KHD4099 Body Wine jar 651 H. 38 W. 26
KHD4100 Body Bowl 956 H. 22 W. 50
KHD4101 Body 927 H. 25 W. 88
KHD4102 Body 923 H. 115 W. 55
KHD4103 Shoulder Beer Jar 923 H. 14 W. 11
Table 3. Contextual information for the KHD potmarks.
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 230
POTMARKS FROM THE CEMETERY AT KAFR HASSAN DAWOOD 231
Grave Number of vessels Number of
with potmarks on Potmarks
111 1 1
123 1 1
142 1 1
143 1 1
166 1 1
171 ? ?
184 2 3
186 2 2
210 1 1
222 1 1
223 1 1
229 1 1
233 3 3
298 1 1
299 1 1
384 1 1
551 3 3
601 2 2
651 2 2
716 1 1
823 1 2
834 3 3
879 1 1
888 1 1
890 3 3
913 19 23
923 4 6
927 2 2
956 3 3
968 1 1
970 14 19
1005 1 1
1008 3 4
1011 1 1
1014 1 1
1021 1 1
1024 1 2
1027 1 1
1034 1 1
Table 4. Distribution of KHD potmarks amongst the various graves.
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 231
232 G.J. TASSIE, F.A. HASSAN, J. VAN WETERING & B. CALCOEN
KHD MAO Van den Brink KHD
Group Group Group Potmarks
ASerekhs (Tab. 2a) 10.a.1* 4010; 4053
BPr/Hwt with fish XXVI / I 4000; 4034; 4051; 4058
(Tab. 2a) (LX; XII)
CHwt (Tab. 2a) I / II 4063
DPr/Hwt with second I 4035 (LXI); 4042 (XII; XIV);
elements (Tab. 2a) 4089 (XII)
EHwt ? (Tab. 2b) II / XVIII 4006; 4008; 4048; 4076;
4077; 4078 (XVIII); 4079;
FMr –hoes (Tab. 2c) XVII 4031
GkA (Tab. 2b) III 4016 (XXXVII); 4021 (XI;
XXI); 4049
H with njwt (Tab. 2b) XXVIII / XXXI 4041; 4052
I Angles, triangles XII / XIII / 4026; 4047; 4055; 4087;
and segments XXXII 4100
(Tab. 2b)
J Simple impressions / N/A 4059; 4067; 4091
cuts on the lip
(Tab. 2c)
K Plant/like (Tab. 2c) XLII 4023; 4024 (XII; IV); 4025;
4093; 4096
L Circle & circular V 4011
(Tab. 2d)
M Animal/like XXXIV 4005; 4017
(Tab. 2b)
N Crosses (Tab. 2d) VIII 4002; 4004; 4028; 4044; 4045;
4057; 4070; 4075; 4086
O Criss-cross (Tab. 2f) XLVIII 4032; 4050; 4054; 4080; 4088
P Harpoons & other LXXVII 4036
hooks (Tab. 2b)
Q 2 strokes or dots XX 4015; 4039; 4040; 4056; 4064;
(Tab. 2d/e) 4068; 4074; 4081; 4094
R 3 lines and/or dots XXXV 4003; 4007; 4009; 4018; 4033;
(Tab. 2e) 4061; 4062; 4066; 4072; 4073;
4082 (XLV); 4084 (XLV); 4085
S 4 lines and/or dots LIV 4027; 4030; 4083; 4097
(Tab. 2e/f)
T More than 4 strokes N/A 4038; 4043; 4065; 4069 (IV)
and/or dots (Tab. 2f)
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 232
POTMARKS FROM THE CEMETERY AT KAFR HASSAN DAWOOD 233
KHD MAO Van den Brink KHD
Group Group Group Potmarks
UnTr (Tab. 2c) XI / XLVII 4019 (II); 4029; 4099; 4103
V Single stroke? VII
4037 (XXV); 4040; 4092 (XXV);
(Tab. 2d) 4095; 4098
W N/A N/A 4071
X Fragmentary N/A 4001; 4012; 4013; 4014; 4020;
(Tab. 2f) 4027; 4046; 4060; 4101; 4102
Table 5. A concordance of the published Protodynastic to Early Dynastic potmark
corpuses based on van den Brink 1992; 2001 and Kroeper 2000. In the KHD
Potmarks column, the numbers in brackets refer to additional signs or alternative
readings in the van den Brink Corpus.
* When the potmark was sent electronically the potmark was unfortunately turned upside down,
and should rather be categorised under 10.b.1.
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 233
0244-07_Hendrickx_OLA172_03 06-12-2007 15:50 Page 234
... Archaeologi- cal fi eldwork was conducted at this large site covering 38.5 hectares between and 1999(Hassan 2000Hassan et al. 2003), although the analysis of the material is still on-going (i.e. Tassie et al. 2008;Rowland 2014a). A total of 1069 graves were excavated at this cemetery site, of which 752 date to this early period and the rest to the Late Period to Roman era. 2 Th is makes it the largest Predynastic to Early Dynastic cemetery site so far excavated in Lower Egypt outside of the Memphite region (Dębowska-Ludwin 2013: 80-84). ...
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Thesis
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