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King Khyan and Avaris. Some Considerations Concerning Khyan Seal Impressions from Area R/III at Tell el-Dabʿa, in Forstner Müller I., Moeller N. (Eds.), The Hyksos Ruler Khyan and the Early Second Intermediate Period in Egypt: Problems and Priorities of Current Research, Ergänzungshefte zu den Jahresheften des Österreichischen Archäologischen Institutes, Heft 17 (2018)

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Several sealings bearing the name of the Hyksos king Khyan have been found in Tell el-Dabʿa/ancient Avaris during recent excavations in area R/III. This area is situated east of the modern village of ’Ezbet Rushdi. A magnetometry survey and three excavation campaigns conducted from 2010 to 2012 investigated and uncovered approximately 2,400 m² of a settlement district of the ancient city. Thanks to intensive sieving, it was possible to recover a remarkable quantity of administrative material. Eleven sealings found in area R/III show impressions bearing royal names, specifically ten sealings dating to the Second Intermediate Period – nine of Khyan and one of a king whose throne name is Khawoserra – and one sealing attesting the co-regency of Amenemhat III and Amenemhat IV. This article will focus on the seal impressions of Khyan, which will be evaluated according to their typology, stratigraphic position, ceramic context and their relation to other impressions found in each locus. A short excursus about further Khyan seal impressions found at Tell el-Dabʿa in past excavations is included, summarizing their typological data and provenance.
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The Hyksos Ruler Khyan and the Early Second Intermediate Period in Egypt:
Problems and Priorities of Current Research
Proceedings of the Workshop of the Austrian Archaeological Institute and the
Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, Vienna, July 4 – 5, 2014
Irene Forstner-Müller – Nadine Moeller (eds.)
Chajan_Text.indd 1 10.07.18 17:13
ERGÄNZUNGSHEFTE ZU DEN JAHRESHEFTEN DES
ÖSTERREICHISCHEN ARCHÄOLOGISCHEN INSTITUTES
HEFT 17
WIEN 2018
Chajan_Text.indd 2 10.07.18 17:13
Irene Forstner-Müller – Nadine Moeller (eds.)
THE HYKSOS RULER KHYAN AND THE
EARLY SECOND INTERMEDIATE PERIOD IN EGYPT:
PROBLEMS AND PRIORITIES OF
CURRENT RESEARCH
Proceedings of the Workshop of the Austrian Archaeological Institute
and the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago,
Vienna, July 4 5, 2014
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Herausgeber
Österreichisches Archäologisches Institut
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‹www.oeaw.ac.at/oeai›
Das Österreichische Archäologische Institut ist eine Forschungseinrichtung
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Salvatore Ortisi, LMU München
Frank Vermeulen, Universität Gent
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Content
Introduction
Nadine Moeller – Irene Forstner-Müller .......................................................... 7
How Early (and How Late) Can Khyan Really Be. An Essay Based on ›Conventional
Archaeological Methods‹
David A. Aston .......................................................................................... 15
Pottery from the Late Middle Kingdom through the Second Intermediate Period at
Tell Edfu. The Broader Archaeological Context of the Khyan Sealings
Natasha D. Ayers ...................................................................................... 57
The Sealings from the Administrative Unit at Tell Edfu. Chronological and Historical
Implications
Daphna Ben-Tor ........................................................................................ 83
King Khyan and Avaris. Some Considerations Concerning Khyan Seal Impressions
from Area R/III at Tell el-Dabʿa
Irene Forstner-Müller – Chiara Reali .............................................................. 91
Second Thoughts on Cypriot Pottery and First Appearances
Irmgard Hein ........................................................................................... 125
An Early Date for Khyan and Its Implications for Eastern Mediterranean Chronologies
Felix Hömayer ........................................................................................ 143
The Context of the Khyan Sealings from Tell Edfu and Further Implications for the
Second Intermediate Period in Upper Egypt
Nadine Moeller – Gregory Marouard .............................................................. 173
Chronological Concepts for the Second Intermediate Period and Their Implications
for the Evaluation of Its Material Culture
Vera Müller ............................................................................................. 199
The Territorial Claim and the Political Role of the Theban State at the End of the Second
Intermediate Period. A Case Study
Daniel Polz .............................................................................................. 217
Seals and History of the 14th and 15th Dynasties
Kim Ryholt .............................................................................................. 235
Khyan’s Place in History. A New Look at the Chronographic Tradition
Thomas Schneider ..................................................................................... 277
Woseribre Seneb-Kay. A Newly Identied Upper Egyptian King of the Second
Intermediate Period
Josef Wegner ............................................................................................ 287
Addresses of Contributors ............................................................................ 307
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Irene Forstner-Müller – Chiara Reali
King Khyan and Avaris
Some Considerations Concerning Khyan Seal Impressions from
Area R/III at Tell el-Dabʿa
1 Introduction1
Several sealings bearing the name of the Hyksos king Khyan have been found in Tell el-Dabʿa/an-
cient Avaris during recent excavations in area R/III. This area is situated east of the modern village
of ’Ezbet Rushdi (es-Saghira) (g. 1). A magnetometry survey and three excavation campaigns
conducted from 2010 to 2012 investigated and uncovered approximately 2,400 m² of a settlement
district of the ancient city here2 (g. 2). Thanks to intensive sieving, it was possible to recover
a remarkable quantity of administrative material. Unstamped lumps of clay still bearing the im-
pressions of the sealed objects represent the main group; stamped clay sealings3 form the second
largest group (more than 1,200 examples), and scarab seals4 and further administrative material
(tokens, bullae, clay sticks, numerical tablets) constitute the two less common assemblages.
Eleven cretulae 5 found in area R/III show impressions bearing royal names, specically ten
sealings dating to the Second Intermediate Period6 nine of Khyan and one of a king whose
throne name is Khawoserra and one sealing attesting the co-regency of Amenemhat III and
Amenemhat IV
7. This article will focus on the seal impressions of Khyan, which will be evalu-
ated according to their typology, stratigraphic position, ceramic context8 and their relation to other
1 The royal seal impressions presented in this article, along with the other sealings, scarab seals and administrative
material found in the area R/III are the object of the PhD research of one of the authors, Chiara Reali, at the Uni-
versity of Vienna. We would like to thank Daphna Ben-Tor, Claus Jurman and Kim Ryholt for their advice and
help, Vera Michel for the information about the complete ceramics from area R/III and Pamela Rose for editing our
English.
2 Forstner-Müller – Rose 2012/2013, 55 – 66; Forstner-Müller et al. 2015.
3 To which will be referred here also as cretulae. For the different terms used as synonym for »sealing«: Fiandra
Frangipane 2007, 16 – 23; Keel 1995, 116 – 117.
4 In addition to the group of 47 scarab seals, to which belong both incised and unnished scarabs, there is a single
example of an incised stamp seal.
5 The documentation of the administrative material from the eastern side of the area has been delayed, but will be
resumed. Thus, the number of sealings with royal impressions may increase in the future.
6 The previously-suggested reading of the cartouche impressed on a sealing from R/III (inv. 9467) as
ʿ
ȝ-wsr-r
ʿ
(Reali
2012/2013, 70 – 71) and the subsequent attempt to attribute this sealing to king Apophis (Reali 2012/2013, 70 – 71)
may have to be revised, as suggested during the workshop in Vienna by several of the participants, to read it more
cautiously as (s?)wsr n rʿ.
7 The 13th Dynasty features displayed on this kind of seal impression and on further examples of the same design on
scarabs (Tufnell 1984, pl. 53, 3091. 3092; Ben-Tor 2007, pl. 20, 39. 40), may indicate that they are actually posthu-
mous (Ben-Tor 2007, 38).
8 Most of the chronological indications from the ceramics of the loci considered here originate from a preliminary
assessment conducted during the autumn campaign 2011 by Irene Forstner-Müller and Pamela Rose with the help
of Karin Kopetzky and David Aston (Forstner-Müller – Rose 2012/2013, 56). Additional information on the pottery
was kindly made available by Vera Michel, who is conducting a PhD research on the ceramics of this area at the
University of Heidelberg.
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92 Irene Forstner-Müller – Chiara Reali
Fig. 1 Plan of Tell el-Dabʿa with the indication of the areas of provenance of Khyan seal impressions (Plan: © OeAW-OeAI/A. Hassler)
Chajan_Text.indd 92 10.07.18 17:13
93
King Khyan and Avaris. Some Considerations Concerning Khyan Seal Impressions
R1
R2
R3
R1
R1
R2
R3
R4
R5 R6
R8
R6
R2
R3
R4
R5
R1 R2
R3 R4
R4
R5
R6
R7
R1
R8
R9
R3
R4
R5
R1
R2
R3
R1
R2
R10
R11
R12
R5
R7
R8
R9
R6
R1
R2
R3
R4
R4
R2
R5
R3
R1
R4
R10
R9
R6
R2
R5
R1
Building 5
Building 3
Building 6
Building 7
Building 8
Building 4
Building 1
Building 2
Building 9
Courtyard
Courtyard
A
C
E
D
B
G
Courtyard 1
Courtyard 2
FCourtyard
Courtyard 3
Street 5
Street 3
Street 4
Street 1
Street 2
Complex 3
Complex 2
Complex 1
S1
S2S3
S1
S1
S2
S3
S5 S4
S1
010 20m
N
9465
9466N
9466
9453M
9452R
9664M
9464
9446N
9664N
The figure conflates several building phases
© Austrian Archaeological Institute
Graphics: Astrid Hassler, Vera Michel
Seal-impressions Planum 1-2
Seal-impressions Planum 3-12
KHYAN SEAL IMPRESSIONS FROM R/III
Position within the plana
Fig. 2 Distribution plan of the Khyan sealings from area R/III and their position within the plan (Plan: © OeAW-OeAI/A. Hassler, V. Michel)
Chajan_Text.indd 93 10.07.18 17:14
94 Irene Forstner-Müller – Chiara Reali
impressions found in each locus9. A short excursus about further Khyan seal impressions found at
Tell el-Dabʿa in past excavations is included, summarizing their typological data and provenance.
2 Tell el-Dabʿa and the contexts of the Khyan’s seal impressions
2.1 The settlement of Avaris in area R/III
The western part of area R/III was settled initially during the early 15th Dynasty, and in the later
Second Intermediate Period the settlement extended gradually to the east. Up to that time, it was
a typical town quarter of Avaris, with no differentiation between domestic and funerary space.
In the late Second Intermediate Period the area was reorganised and divided into three complex-
es. These individual complexes are – as is typical for this period – oriented northnortheast-south-
southwest and they are separated from each other by two parallel streets, street 1 and 210 (g. 2).
Complex 1 consists of several abutting elements including rooms, casemate structures and
courtyards. The actual oor levels are mainly lost and only the foundations have been excavated.
Wall widths11 suggest that at least some of the buildings had upper oors. The courtyards con-
tained silos of varying sizes, which were accessed from the southeast, and ovens were built in the
corners. No burials (with the exception of infant jar burials) were found in this complex.
Complex 2, the central part of the excavated area, is dened on its western and eastern borders
by two streets. Two house units (building 1 and 2) were fully excavated. Their ground plans are
characteristic of ancient Egyptian architecture, and are similar to examples from other sites such
as Elephantine, Illahun and New Kingdom Amarna12. The houses consist of an entrance area, a
middle part with a central room and private rear quarters. Attached to them are open spaces and
courtyards with silos. Again no burials were found here.
Complex 3 in the east is a typical domestic town quarter with dense building activity, char-
acteristic of other areas in Avaris. Towards the east and south the settlement pattern changes: the
units become smaller and are separated from each other by subsidiary streets. In contrast to com-
plexes 1 and 2, burials are found within complex 3.
The ground plan, the architecture and in part the nds from the three complexes hint at a dif-
ferent use and function of the space within the area. The western part (complex 1) with its agglu-
tinating rooms and courtyards appears to be the most likely location for an administrative sector.
Complex 3 in the easternmost part is clearly a domestic quarter with streets, houses and burials.
The middle part (complex 2) shows architectural types well-attested in domestic architecture and
include nds that indicate that manufacturing may have taken place therein13.
Storage facilities are found all over the area. Silos are built within courtyards, and the elongat-
ed rooms of unit A in complex 1 possibly fullled a storage role. The presence of such facilities,
along with the recovery of seals, sealings and other administrative material suggest an ongoing
redistributive role at least in part of the area.
2.2 The contexts of the Khyan seal impressions from area R/III14
Seal impressions from area R/III referring to Khyan were retrieved from complex 1, from street 1
dividing complex 1 from complex 2 – and from the southern part of complex 3. None were found
within complex 2 (gs. 2. 3).
9 To which will be referred as »sealing context« in the following pages.
10 Forstner-Müller – Rose 2012/2013, 56; Forstner-Müller et al. 2015.
11 Some of those walls are almost 1 m wide.
12 Bietak 1996; Ricke 1932.
13 See, e.g. a model of a hippopotamus: Forstner-Müller – Prell 2016.
14 The dating of the stratigraphic units is based on the pottery found in them.
Chajan_Text.indd 94 10.07.18 17:14
95
King Khyan and Avaris. Some Considerations Concerning Khyan Seal Impressions
None of the nine Khyan sealings was found in a primary context: all of the impressions, pos-
sibly including the earliest piece, were found in stratigraphically later contexts.
The seal impression uncovered in the earliest deposit (inv. 9465) was found in square r/5,
planum 12, L47315. There a test trench was excavated along the northwestern edge of the 2010
excavation area in order to reach the lowest settlement layers, and to clarify the stratigraphy of the
town quarter (g. 2)16. L473 is a muddy-ashy deposit, probably a refuse layer, within a courtyard
or open space running from a partly excavated building below complex 1. This layer can be dated
to stratum E/117 (1st half of the 15th Dynasty).
Three Khyan seal impressions (inv. 9464. 9446 N. 9466 N) were found within complex 1
(g. 2). Inv. 9464 and 9446 N were found in square q/6 – 7, planum 2, L338: this is a muddy de-
posit from the northernmost elongated room of unit A (room 1 in the plan, g. 2) which can be
dated to the end of the Second Intermediate Period (stratum D/2) at Tell el-Dabʿa.
Inv. 9466 N was found in the southeastern area of complex 1, in courtyard 3, between silo 3
and the western enclosure wall of courtyard 2. The deposit to which the sealing belongs to (L325)
consists of pale compact mudbrick debris, that accumulated after the dismantling of a former stor-
age area containing silos. Later pits disturbed this area. According to the rst ceramic assessment,
the locus may be dated to the late Second Intermediate Period (stratum D/3 or D/2).
Two further Khyan seal impressions (inv. 9664 M and 9664 N) were found in complex 3
(g. 2). These two sealings were retrieved from abandonment layers of the same building (build-
ing 7), situated in the eastern part of the excavated area of complex 3. Both date to the late Second
Intermediate Period (stratum D/2) at Tell el-Dabʿa, and in the case of 9664 M may continue into
the New Kingdom.
Inv. 9664 N comes from the abandonment phase of the building, from L1335, a compact
mudbrick debris layer uncovered in planum 2 of square q/10 and covering room 4 of building 7.
Inv. 9664 M was found to the east of inv. 9664 in square q/10, planum 1, within L1239: this is
a mix of compact mudbrick debris with patches of muddy material and occasional fragments of
pottery and limestone. This locus is an abandonment layer, which covered room 3 of building 7.
Finally, three sealings (inv. 9466. 9453 M. 9452 R) were discovered in street 1, which sepa-
rates complex 1 from complex 2 (g. 2). Inv. 9466 and 9453 M were found in square r/7, planum
3 – 4 within a muddy-sandy layer (L260) of the street. This was the earliest street layer, and more
likely a preparation level for the street than an actual street surface. It was identied at the founda-
tion level of the buildings of the complexes 1 and 2. The context can be dated to the late Second
Intermediate Period (possibly to the transition between stratum D/3 and D/2).
Inv. 9452 R was also found in square r/7, in a locus (L66) belonging to the later phase of the
same street, a muddy-sandy layer which corresponds to the uppermost street surface. The context
can be dated to the late Second Intermediate Period (stratum D/2 or even later).
2.3 The contexts of other Khyan seal impressions from Tell el-Dabʿa
Up to now, seal impressions bearing this royal name have been found only in two areas of Avaris,
in area R/III (described above) and area F/II (g. 1). A scarab seal with the name of king Khyan
was found in ʿEzbet Rushdi to the west of the Middle Kingdom temple18 (g. 1).
A concise description and the stratigraphic evaluation of the contexts from area F/II containing
sealings bearing impressions of Khyan will be presented below. The classication of the Khyan
15 The stratigraphic units in the Tell el-Dabʿa excavation system are called »loci« (shortened to L).
16 The settlement seems to have maintained the same orientation throughout its occupation.
17 For the proposed correlation of the Tell el-Dabʿa phases with absolute chronology, see generally Bietak 2010a, 33
(previously published in 2008).
18 The scarab was found in the debris near an oven wall, Adam 1959, 221 pl. 10, B. For the description see § 3.3 and
tab. 1.
Chajan_Text.indd 95 10.07.18 17:14
96 Irene Forstner-Müller – Chiara Reali
seals found in F/II will be briey presented in excursus § 4 (tab. 2) concurrently with the seal
types from areas R/I and R/III.
In area F/II, a palatial district of the Second Intermediate Period19, Khyan-related sealings
were found in three contexts20. A total of seven seals were found in this area21, ve of them (inv.
9354. 9355. 9354 Q. 9373 M and 9374 C) in locus L8122, one (inv. 9376 J) in L803 and one
(inv. 9396) in L1023 (g. 4). All seal impressions were found in residual contexts. According to
the pottery, it seems that the palatial area in F/II was in use over a long period of time during the
Second Intermediate Period.
In a courtyard of the palatial precinct a pit system with an enormous quantity of nds, sub-
sumed under locus L81, was discovered (g. 4). The ve Khyan sealings were found in the lling
of these pits (subpits 6 and 12)23. L81 was originally considered to be connected with ritual activ-
ity (offering meals, etc.)24. Recently, however, it has been convincingly suggested by David Aston
that it is in fact a huge waste dump associated with the abandonment of the palace25.
L81 dates from the middle to advanced phase of the Second Intermediate Period, although the
precise dating is disputed26. The dating is based, as are all Tell el-Dabʿa phases/strata, mainly on
pottery. The pits partly cut into one another and thus cannot have been cut simultaneously, but
the time span over which this activity took place is not known. Whether the pits were lled in
one event27 or over a longer period of time is also unclear however, this took place certainly
sometime between the transition from stratum E/1 to stratum D/3 or D/2 (middle or latter phase
of the Second Intermediate Period). While Manfred Bietak and David Aston have proposed a date
in the earlier half of the 15th Dynasty28, Karin Kopetzky has suggested a later dating29. From the
archaeological point of view, it is clear that the L81 pit system is not a closed and secure context:
the pits are cut from layers lost to later agricultural activity and were not lled and overbuilt dur-
ing the palace use30. The uppermost layer of the inlling was deemed recent in date, and therefore
was discarded in 2006.
L803 is the remains of an offering pit, belonging to a system of offering pits in a courtyard
north of the palatial area (g. 4). The whole pit system can be dated to the second half of the
Second Intermediate Period (stratum D/3 or D/2). The Khyan seal inv. 9376 J was found in the
muddy-sandy lling of the pit.
L1023 consists of the ashy lling of a pit which cuts into a building (building S), situated south
of the actual palace (g. 4): inv. 9296 was found within this ll. Building S cannot be directly
linked to the palace stratigraphically. It is cut by a large well, which was lled up during the late
Second Intermediate Period. Pit L1023 postdates the use of building S, but a more precise dating
is not possible.
Irene Forstner-Müller
19 For the preliminary reports of the excavation campaigns at area F/II see: Bietak – Forstner-Müller 2006; Bietak –
Forstner-Müller 2009; Bietak et al. 2012/2013.
20 Six of these seals, those from L81 found in 2006 and from L803 in 2008, have been published by Sartori 2009, and
a picture of the seventh can be found in Bietak 2010b.
21 All Khyan seal impressions found in F/II are listed together with the sealings from R/III and the scarab seal from
R/I in tabs. 1 and 2.
22 Bietak – Forstner-Müller 2007; Aston – Bader 2009, 63. For further bibliography see also D. Aston’s contribution
to this volume.
23 See tab. 2.
24 Bietak – Forstner-Müller 2007, 25 – 27; Aston – Bader 2009, 63; Forstner-Müller 2011, 2 – 6. For further bibliogra-
phy see also D. Aston’s contribution to this volume.
25 Aston 2012, 160; Aston 2015, 2.
26 Bietak 2007, 778; Aston – Bader 2009, 20; Aston 2012, 159 – 162; recently Aston 2015 and originally also Forstner-
Müller have proposed a dating corresponding to the time span from stratum E/1 to stratum D/3. Karin Kopetzky on
the other hand proposes a dating to the late Hyksos Period: Kopetzky 2010, I, 125 n. 742.
27 Aston 2015, 2.
28 See above n. 26.
29 Kopetzky 2010, I, 125 n. 742, followed by the author: see Forstner-Müller – Rose 2012, 193 – 194.
30 Against Aston 2015, 2.
Chajan_Text.indd 96 10.07.18 17:14
97
King Khyan and Avaris. Some Considerations Concerning Khyan Seal Impressions
R1
R2
R3
R1
R1
R2
R3
R4
R5 R6
R8
R6
R2
R3
R4
R5
R1 R2
R3 R4
R4
R5
R6
R7
R1
R8
R9
R3
R4
R5
R1
R2
R3
R1
R2
R10
R11
R12
R5
R7
R8
R9
R6
R1
R2
R3
R4
R4
R2
R5
R3
R1
R4
R10
R9
R6
R2
R5
R1
Building 5
Building 3
Building 6
Building 7
Building 8
Building 4
Building 1
Building 2
Building 9
Courtyard
Courtyard
A
C
E
D
B
G
Courtyard 1
Courtyard 2
FCourtyard
Courtyard 3
Street 5
Street 3
Street 4
Street 1
Street 2
Complex 3
Complex 2
Complex 1
S1
S2S3
S1
S1
S2
S3
S5 S4
S1
010 20m
N
9464
9446N
9466
9453M
9466N 9452R
9664N
9465
9664M
The figure conflates several building phases
© Austrian Archaeological Institute
Graphics: Astrid Hassler, Vera Michel
KHYAN SEAL IMPRESSIONS FROM R/III
Seals Typology
Type a
Type b
Type c
Type d
Fig. 3 Distribution plan of the Khyan sealings from area R/III, seals typology (Plan: © OeAW-OeAI/A. Hassler, V. Michel)
Chajan_Text.indd 97 10.07.18 17:14
98 Irene Forstner-Müller – Chiara Reali
Fig. 4 Distribution plan of the Khyan sealings from area F/II by type (Plan: © OeAW-OeAI/L. Masoud)
Chajan_Text.indd 98 10.07.18 17:14
99
King Khyan and Avaris. Some Considerations Concerning Khyan Seal Impressions
3 Khyan seal impressions from area R/III and their typology
The nine sealings of Khyan found in area R/III were impressed by four (or possibly ve) different
seals, which are typologically grouped and listed below from type a to type d (their nd spot is
shown in g. 2, as discussed above in § 2.2 and summarized below in tab. 1).
Table 1 Kyhan seal types from Tell el-Dabʿa listed in order of their stratum of provenance
Tell el-Dabʿa
stratum of
provenance
Type of seal and inv. Position
area – locus – square –
planum
Context
D/2 – transition New
Kingdom
Type b – 9664 M R/III, L1239, q/10, pl. 1 latest abandonment layers
obliterating R/3 of building 7
D/2
Type a – 9464, 9446 N R/III, L338, q/6 – 7, pl. 2 room ll, northernmost room
of unit A
Type d – 9664 N R/III, L1335, q/10, pl. 2 earliest abandonment layers
obliterating R/4 of building 7
D/3 – D/2
Type a – 9466 N R/III, L325, s/6, pl. 3 deposit, south eastern open
area of unit F
Type a – 9466, 9453 M R/III, L260, r/7, pl. 3 – 4 earliest recognizable layer
(preparation level) of street 1
Type c – 9452 R R/III, L66, r/7, pl. 2 rst street surface of street 1
Type e – 9376 J31 F/II, L803, j/23, pl. 132 pit of the offering pits system
in the court of building F33
E/1 – D/334
Type h (?) – 9373 M F/II, L81, r/23, subpit 12,
pl. 2 – 335
subpit of pit L81
Type a – 9374 C F/II, L81, r/23, subpit 12, pl. 4,
sit. 3 – 436
subpit of pit L81
Type e – 9355, 9354 Q37
Type f – 935438
F/II, L81, r/22, subpit 6,
pl. 4 – 5, sit. 139
subpit of pit L81
ca. late E/1 = c/240 Type f – 939641 F/II, L1023, u/22, pl. 1 – 242 re-pit south of the palace in
building S43
early E/1 Type b – 9465 R/III, L473, r/5, pl. 12 muddy deposit, outer area of
earlier structures below unit F
possibly early Hyk-
sos Period44
Adam 1959, pl. 10, B R/I, west of the Middle King-
dom temple in ʿEzbet Rushdi
debris layer near an oven45 wall
31 Bietak – Forstner-Müller 2009, 94. 105.
32 Sartori 2009, 285.
33 Bietak – Forstner-Müller 2009, 94.
34 Aston – Bader 2009, 20; Aston 2012, 159 – 162.
35 Sartori 2009, 285.
36 Sartori 2009, 287.
37 Sartori 2009, 287.
38 Sartori 2009, 288.
39 Sartori 2009, 287 – 288.
40 Bietak et al. 2012/2013, 25.
41 Bietak 2010b, 989 g. 15 (top right).
42 Bietak – Forstner-Müller 2009, 95.
43 Bietak – Forstner-Müller 2009, 95; Bietak et al. 2012/2013, 25.
44 For the stratigraphy of area R/I after the excavations of 1996 see generally: Bietak – Dorner 1998, 12.
45 Adam 1959, 219 pl. 20, C.
Chajan_Text.indd 99 10.07.18 17:14
100 Irene Forstner-Müller – Chiara Reali
Type a is the most common group in area R/III with ve sealings (g. 3).
Type b seems to be exemplied by two impressions (g. 3) but, despite evident similarities
between the two examples, we cannot be completely sure whether they were stamped using the
same seal or not. For this reason, we may postulate the existence of a fth scarab seal of Khyan
used to seal the cretulae from area R/III, to which we refer as type b1.
The third scarab seal type – type c is represented only by one example from area R/III (g. 3)
and it seems to be a variant of type a.
Similarly, the last identied seal type – type d is attested only on one cretula from area
R/III (g. 3).
3.1 Khyan seal type a
Type a (g. 5) shows a subdivision into panels46 made by double lines: in the central panel the
title ḥḳȝ-ḫȝswt appears, followed by the nomen of the king without cartouche; the side panels are
lled lengthwise by three signs47, which show an
ʿ
nḫ at both extremities and the sign wḥm in the
middle of the panel48.
The ve impressions identied as type a are inv. 9464, 9446 N, 9466 N, 9466, 9453 M49 and
they originate from three nd spots within the area (g. 3). The most recent context in area R/III,
in which impressions made by this seal have been found is L33850 (g. 2).
As well as the two seal impressions of Khyan (inv. 9464 and 9446 N51, g. 5), the sealing
context of L338 includes an example of a oral motif design (Design class 1E)52, belonging to the
Second Intermediate Period53 scarab typology, and examples of the Late Palestinian series54 such
as the asymmetric pattern with Horus eyes (Design class 3B4)55 and continuous oblong scrolls
(Design class 7A2)56.
46 Design class 3E, the most widespread design on Second Intermediate Period royal-name scarabs. It also appears on
private-name scarabs of this period. Ben-Tor 2007, 86 – 87.
47 Situating this seal within the subclass 3E1, the most widespread design of Khyan using the ḥḳȝ-ḫȝswt title: Ben-Tor
2007, 86 – 87. For Khyan’s exclusive use of 3E1 within the subclasses of panel designs see generally Ward 1984, 165.
48 Closest comparisons for this seal are Chicago 18465 in the Oriental Institute Chicago Museum, and Journal d’Entrée
30458 in Cairo Museum (respectively Tufnell 1984, pl. 65, 3215 and 3210). Ward attributes the origin of the panel
Design class (3E) to a Middle Kingdom design, showing pairs of hieroglyphs along the long sides of the seal, hence
forming two columns (Ward 1984, 165). The development of this design follows through the gradual alteration
of the hieroglyphs lling the side panels, which nally lose their original auspicious meaning to become (Design
class 3E4) mere horizontal decorative additions to the vertical lines of the panel (Ward 1984, 165). This is why
the two hieroglyphs wḥm and
ʿ
nḫ, sometimes visible on the panel design of Khyan’s seals, are never interpreted as
repeating life‹ but as pseudo-hieroglyphs. This epithet does not seem to have been used for rulers of the Second
Intermediate Period (Ryholt 1997, 121 n. 414). The earliest occurrence of the epithet ›repeating life‹ dates to the
nal phase of the reign of Amenemhat III. The rst uses of this formula are recognized during the late 12th Dynasty,
when they mostly appear in inscriptions from Sinai expedition sites dated to Amenemhat III and IV. There is no
evidence of such an epithet on contemporary stelae found at Egyptian sites, where it is only attested during and
after the 13th Dynasty (Doxey 1998, 102). By the end of the 12th Dynasty – beginning of the 13th this epithet seems
to have been used for ofcials having a higher status (Doxey 1998, 102; Leprohon 1996, 530 – 531).
49 Except inv. 9453 M, the other Type a sealings are already published in Reali 2012/2013, 67 – 73.
50 For the stratigraphic evaluation of this locus see § 2.2 and tab. 1.
51 For a detailed description of the obverses: Reali 2012/2013, 69 – 70. The preserved stamped surface measures
17.0 × 10.5 mm in the case of inv. 9464 and 12.2 × 6.0 mm as for inv. 9446 N.
52 Closest parallel: Ben-Tor 2007, pl. 32, 12.
53 The beginning date for the Second Intermediate Period, which is used for the Ben-Tor seriation is ca. 1700 B.C.,
see Ben-Tor 2007, 5.
54 Ben-Tor refers to the chronology of the Middle Bronze Age only using the division between Middle Bronze IIA and
Middle Bronze IIB, refusing the term Middle Bronze IIC. However, she divides the Middle Bronze IIB into an early
and late phase, attributing the Early Palestinian series to the early Middle Bronze IIB and the Late Palestinian series
to the later phase of the Middle Bronze Age, which dates it to the time span between the 15th and early 18th Dynasties.
For the chronology of the Late Palestinian series and its dating, see generally Ben-Tor 2007, 155 and below.
55 Closest parallel: Ben-Tor 2007, pl. 79, 35.
56 Closest parallel: Ben-Tor 2007, pl. 92, 20.
Chajan_Text.indd 100 10.07.18 17:14
101
King Khyan and Avaris. Some Considerations Concerning Khyan Seal Impressions
The third fragment of a sealing bearing the impression of a type a scarab seal of Khyan (inv.
9466 N57, g. 5) was found in an open area of unit F within L32558 (g. 3).
Besides the Khyan seal impressions the sealing context contains examples of the Early Pales-
tine series59, such as three columns of three hieroglyphs each (Design class 3A3 varia)60 or two
pairs of paired scrolls (Design class 7B2 ii)61, and sealings bearing Late Palestinian series impres-
sions such as the anra formulae (Design class 3C)62.
The last two cretulae bearing the impression of type a (inv. 946663 and 9453 M64, g. 5) were
found within L260 (g. 3)65. The sealing context contains further Egyptian Second Intermediate
Period examples, such as Horus eye motifs (Design class 3B4)66, and Late Palestinian series pat-
terns such as the nude standing goddess (Design class 10D1)67.
57 For a detailed description of the obverse: Reali 2012/2013, 71. The preserved stamped surface measures 12.5 ×
5.0 mm.
58 For the stratigraphic evaluation of this locus see § 2.2 and tab. 1.
59 The chronological limits suggested by Ben-Tor for the Early Palestinian Series are between 1700 – 1650/1630 B.C.,
which corresponds to the proposed dates for the 14th Dynasty and the beginning of the 15th Dynasty in the Eastern
Delta: Ben-Tor 2007, 119.
60 Closest parallel: Ben-Tor 2007, pl. 51, 35.
61 Closest parallel: Ben-Tor 2007, pl. 61, 21.
62 Closest parallel: Ben-Tor 2007, pl. 84, 24.
63 The preserved stamped surface of inv. 9466 measures 14 × 12 mm. For a detailed description of the obverse: Reali
2012/2013, 69 f.
64 The preserved stamped surface measures 8 × 9 mm and bears the impression of the lower part of the seal. The pre-
served impression shows the underside of the sign wḥm and the complete inferior
ʿ
nḫ of the right side panel of the
scarab (the double dividing line of which is partly preserved), as well as the phoneme ȝ of the name ḫyȝn and a tiny
part of the second panel line.
65 For the stratigraphic evaluation of this locus see § 2.2 and tab. 1.
66 Closest parallel: Ben-Tor 2007, pl. 34, 31 or pl. 42, 8.
67 The example representing this design class within L260 bears the impression of a nude standing goddess holding
plants. Closest parallel: Ben-Tor 2007, pl. 105, 11. For this piece see also Reali 2017, 28–29. 39 g. 9.
Fig. 5 Khyan seals from area R/III: Type a (Photo: © OeAW-OeAI/A. Krause)
Chajan_Text.indd 101 10.07.18 17:14
102 Irene Forstner-Müller – Chiara Reali
3.2 Khyan seal type b
The second largest group of Khyan cretulae from area R/III (two examples, inv. 946568 and
9664 M69), are designated type b, assuming that both seal impressions were stamped using the
same seal70 (g. 6).
The upper part of the impression is lost in the case of inv. 9465, and it has been mostly erased by
ngerprints on the second sealing (inv. 9664 M). As can be seen on similar Khyan scarab seals71, we
would expect to recognize at least the impression of the lower part of the hieroglyphs belonging to
the title72 on the tiny part preserved above the cartouche. However, what seems to be certain about
type b is that it displays a cartouche with the nomen of the king, which is enclosed in a three-paired-
oblong scroll border, where the scrolls are looped at the bottom and possibly open on the top73. The
lower part of the impression displays the inverted given life epithet below the cartouche.
The rst of the two examples representing type b, inv. 9465 (g. 6), was recovered in L473
(g. 3)74 the stratigraphically earliest deposit, in which Khyan seal impressions occur in R/III75.
68 For a detailed description of the obverse: Reali 2012/2013, 70. The preserved stamped surface measures 10 × 8 mm.
69 The preserved stamped surface measures 9.9 × 6.0 mm and it shows the upper part of the original scarab impres-
sion, with portions of one oblong scroll on each side, anking the upper extremity of a cartouche containing the
beginning of the nomen of the king, i.e. ḫy.
70 These two sealings will be treated as belonging to the same group, although in both cases the preserved stamped
surface is incomplete and it is possibile that these two impressions were left by two different seals, which would
hence be classiable as type b and type b1, as mentioned above.
71 Tufnell 1984, pl. 56, 3207. 3216. 3218.
72 However, it is important to bear in mind that these are seal impressions and not actual seals and to consider both
distortion and damage to the clay and to the impressed surface. These factors do not seem to allow any certainty
about the original dimensions of the stamp seal and about the distance between hieroglyphs and other components
of the motif. Likewise, due to these factors, it may be difcult to have an exact similarity between the impression
preserved on sealings and its original matrix (the seal used).
73 Depending on the features of the top of the seal (i.e. looped or open scrolls) the corresponding design class deno-
mination changes: 7B3(ii) – Paired scrolls, three pairs, oblong if the upper scrolls are looped; or 7C3(ii) – Paired
scrolls, open, three pairs, oblong if they are open (Ben-Tor 2007, 29 – 30). Both borders are attested on Khyan
seals: 7B3(ii) on Tufnell 1984, pl. 56, 3216 – 3218 and 7C3(ii), though with the variation of two confronted cobras,
on Tufnell 1984, pl. 56, 3220. The rst one is the most widespread late Middle Kingdom scroll border appearing
on private-name scarabs (Ben-Tor 2007, 29); the second is rarer and appears on a small number of Late Middle
Kingdom private-name scarabs. The variant with cobras is attested on few private-name scarabs of the late Middle
Kingdom and on some late 12th Dynasty royal-name scarabs (Ben-Tor 2007, 30).
74 For the stratigraphic evaluation of this locus see § 2.2 and tab. 1.
75 A 13th Dynasty private-name seal impression of the vizier and overseer of the city Ḏd-Ptḥ dd.tw-snb that was found
in the foundation of an interior space of a previous phase of the same building (F), within the materials of L589
(planum 15 – 16 of the test trench) is already published: Marée 2012/2013, 76. This impression was stamped on a
cretula, closing a small jar rather than a bag, contrary to what has been suggested by Marée by simply referring to
the textile impressions on the reverse (Marée 2012/2013, 76). For further textual evidence about this ofcial see:
Marée 2012/2013, 76; Grajetzki 2000, 27 – 28; Martin 1971, 1775 – 1778. Both names Ḏd-Ptḥ and dd.tw-snb and
titles (»overseer of the city« and »vizier«) appear only on a scarab seal, the origins of which are not known (Marée
2012/2013, 76 n. 7; Martin 1971, 1778). The same person seems to be attested as Ḏd-Ptḥ and »chief of tens of Up-
per Egypt« on two scarab seals, one unprovenanced (Marée 2012/2013, 76 n. 10; Martin 1971, 1776) and the other
from the excavations of the pyramid cemetery of Amenemhat I at Lisht (Marée 2012/2013, 76 n. 9; Martin 1971,
1777). Finally, two seal impressions found at the fortress of Uronarti (Marée 2012/2013, 76 n. 5; Martin 1971,
1775; Ryholt 2010, 114 g. 1) bear the sole name Ḏd-Ptḥ associated with both titles registered at Tell el-Dabʿa and
on Martin 1971, 1778 (though these impressions were not left). According to Reisner, the fort was abandoned by
Egyptian troops in the early 13th Dynasty. Ryholt agrees, stating that its abandonment by the Egyptians took place
before the middle of the 13th Dynasty. Skeptical about this dating, Allen and Ben-Tor date this occurrence to the
late 13th Dynasty, from the Uronarti ceramic assemblage related to the abandonment phase (Ben-Tor et al. 1999,
55 – 58), which corresponds to strata F–E/3 of Tell el-Dabʿa (opposed by Ryholt 2010, 115 – 120). For the different
dates of the Uronarti context, see Ben-Tor et al. 1999, 55 – 58; Ben-Tor 2010, 94 – 95; Ryholt 2010, 113 – 117). Reis-
ner, Ryholt and Grajetzki consider Ḏd-Ptḥ dd.tw-snb a vizier of the rst half of the 13th Dynasty (Grajetzki 2000,
9), contemporary with or at least not much later than Khabau and Djedkheperu (Ryholt 2010, 114 – 115). While
evaluating the material from Tell Edfu, Moeller – Marouard adhere to the interpretation that puts the Uronarti fort
Chajan_Text.indd 102 10.07.18 17:14
103
King Khyan and Avaris. Some Considerations Concerning Khyan Seal Impressions
The sealing context of L473 shows a couple of Late Palestinian series seal impressions, in-
cluding the one of an antelope (Design class 9B)76, and a convoluted coil motif (Design class
6B1 – 2)77 of the Late Middle Kingdom series.
The second cretula bearing a type b impression78 (inv. 9664 M, g. 6) comes from L123979
(g. 3).
3.3 Khyan seal type c
The third type of Khyan seal from area R/III (inv. 9452 R80), type c (g. 7), is very similar to type
a, the only difference being the hieroglyph for ḫȝswt, here assuming the shape of two reected
triangles, whereas on type a (g. 5) its mountains resembles comb teeth.
A scarab found in 1959 by Shehata Adam in his excavation of the Middle Kingdom settlement
area of ʿEzbet Rushdi81 bears the same calligraphy for ḫȝswt and shows only a slightly different
treatment of the same prototype. In fact, a single line instead of a double line – as on types a and
c – separates each panel82.
Inv. 9452 R was recovered in L6683 (gs. 2. 3), a layer in which two further Khyan sealings of
type a were found (inv. 9466 and 9453 M). In this deposit also occur Second Intermediate Period
panel motifs (Design class 3E)84; Late Palestinian series cartouche (Design class 3D1 or 2)85 or
gold sign (nbw) motifs (Design class 3B6)86 and Second Intermediate Period or Early/Late Pal-
context in the late 13th Dynasty, distancing themselves from the dating to the early 13th Dynasty as suggested by
Ryholt (Moeller et al. 2011, 108).
76 Closest parallel: Ben-Tor 2007, pl. 96, 13.
77 Closest parallel: Ben-Tor 2007, pl. 14, 6.
78 Assuming a common matrix (scarab seal) used for both impressions.
79 For the stratigraphic evaluation of this locus, see § 2.2 and tab. 1. is not possible to supply information concerning
this sealing context yet because the analysis of the material coming from the western side of the area R/III is still
ongoing.
80 Design class 3E1, Ben-Tor 2007, 86 – 87. For a detailed description of the obverse: Reali 2012/2013, 70 – 71. The
preserved stamped surface measures 11 × 5 mm.
81 Adam 1959, 207. This area is very close to R/III, and was previously excavated by Shehata Adam at the end of the
1950s, and then again investigated in 1996, constituting the current area R/I. It revealed a Middle Kingdom temple
dedicated to the Ka of Amenemhat I that was abandoned in the course of the 13th Dynasty as well as a settlement da-
ting to the beginning of the 12th Dynasty: Bietak 1994, 424; Bietak – Dorner 1998, 9; Czerny 2001, 13; Czerny 2012;
Czerny 2015.
82 Adam 1959, pl. 10, B; Tufnell 1984, pl. 56, 3208.
83 For the stratigraphic evaluation of this locus see § 2.2 and tab. 1.
84 Closest parallel: Mlinar 2001a, TD 1061, 163. For this scarab and its context also Ben-Tor 2007, 86.
85 A similar example: Ben-Tor 2007, pl. 85, 1 although the one from area R/III shows confronted cobras on the top.
86 Closest parallel: Ben-Tor 2007, pl. 81, 11.
Fig. 6 Khyan seals from area R/III: type b (Photo: © OeAW-OeAI/
A. Krause, N. Gail)
Fig. 7 Khyan seals from area R/III:
type c (Photo: © OeAW-OeAI/
A. Krause)
Chajan_Text.indd 103 10.07.18 17:14
104 Irene Forstner-Müller – Chiara Reali
estinian series87 red crowns designs (possibly tête-bêche, Design class 3B3e, or addorsed, Design
class 3B3b)88.
3.4 Khyan seal type d
The fourth and nal scarab type of Khyan from area R/III (type d) is a new type in the series of
Khyan seals (g. 8). On inv. 9664 N89 Khyan is attested with both Egyptian and Hyksos titles,
and this is contrary to what textual evidence has suggested previously about the use of titulary
and royal names by this king, or to the idea that his seals bearing the ḥḳȝ-ḫȝswt title never show a
cartouche nor other Egyptian royal features90.
The seal impression shows the panel subdivision made by a single line with a variation on the
more usual panel scheme (3E with two signs in margins91): at the bottom of the dividing lines
there is a pair of addorsed cobras, which are linked on the top. This panel arrangement is other-
wise attested only on Canaanite scarabs92 and on some private-name scarabs93.
A parallel from Tell el-Dabʿa (stratum E/194) with looped uraei panels is a pseudo-king’s name
scarab bearing the name of Sobekhotep, which was found in a tomb context in area A/II (square
p/20, tomb 295). Analogies for the layout of panels and cobras in connection with the name of
Khyan can be seen on a steatite scarab, today in the Metropolitan Museum of Art96, two seal
impressions from the pit system L81 of area F/II of Tell el-Dabʿa (inv. 9355 and 9354 Q97) and a
further cretula from area F/II (inv. 9376 J98).
87 Since only part of the seal impression is preserved and there is no additional information about the rest of the scarab
features, this impression cannot be attributed to one or the other Second Intermediate Period group (i.e. the one for
the scarabs produced in Egypt, or for those from the Levant).
88 Closest parallel: Ben-Tor 2007, pl. 79, 19.
89 The preserved stamped surface measures 10 × 10.1 mm.
90 Ryholt 1997, 124.
91 Ben-Tor 2007, 86 – 87; Tufnell 1984, 122 – 123.
92 Ben-Tor 2007, pl. 57, 22. 29. 31.
93 Ben-Tor 2007, 87 n. 430.
94 Mlinar 2001a, 26.
95 Mlinar 2001a, 26 und TD 518, 201.
96 MMA 10.130.36; Martin 1971, 1173; Tufnell 1984, pl. 56, 3211.
97 Sartori 2009, 286 – 287; Bietak – Forstner-Müller 2009, 96.
98 This sealing comes from the same area as L81 but not from the pit itself. It was found in L803, a pit in a court situ-
ated north of a possible storage area of the building, in the so-called Abschnitt F. Sartori 2009, 285. 287; Bietak
Forstner-Müller 2009, 94.
Fig. 8 Khyan seals from area R/III: type d (Photo:
© OeAW-OeAI/C. Reali)
Chajan_Text.indd 104 10.07.18 17:14
105
King Khyan and Avaris. Some Considerations Concerning Khyan Seal Impressions
The impression on 9664 N shows both the titles sȝ R
ʿ
and ḥḳȝ-ḫȝswt, followed by the nomen of
king Khyan (preserving only its initial phoneme 99; however, there appears to be enough space
below it to accommodate the rest of the king’s nomen), which occupies the central panel. The
hieroglyphs for
ʿ
nḫ and wḥm are visible on both side panels above the cobras’ heads.
This sealing was found at the southeastern edge of the excavation area within L1335 (gs.
2. 3)100.
4 Excursus: An overview of Khyan seal types from Tell el-Dabʿa
The typological classication of Khyan seals (type a–d) presented in this paper up to now sum-
marized seal impressions related to the Hyksos ruler Khyan, which were found in the area R/III
of Tell el-Dabʿa. However, in other excavation areas of this site (precisely in R/I and F/II), further
Khyan-related seals and seal impressions were discovered, which do not t within the above-
mentioned seal types. Therefore, as anticipated above, a brief review of the Khyan-related seal
types identied so far at Tell el-Dabʿa will be presented. The following table 2 summarizes the
main features, the number of examples and their provenance, adding four further types (type e–h)
to those discussed above (type a–d). The entries list the eight Khyan seal types (a–h) identiable
within the Khyan-related administrative material from Tell el-Dabʿa: that is overall a total of six-
teen sealings and one scarab from the three areas101.
Two of the eight types (type c and g) actually represent a variant of type a and are differenti-
ated from it through the presence of a distinctive calligraphy for the same hieroglyph (type c and
g) and through the presence of a single instead of a double line dening the panels (type g).
Despite the use of two distinct seals for sealing inv. 9354 and 9396, they have both been as-
signed to type f, because neither the design nor the calligraphy that was adopted differs. Their
dissimilarity consists essentially in the dimensions of the impressed surface102, some slight dimen-
sional differences within the elements of the composition and, nally, a coarser nish103.
Type h shows the almost complete Hyksos titulary, and for this reason it is possibly linked to
Khyan; however, given the lack of parallels for the kind of border used in this type of seal in as-
sociation with the nomen of Khyan preceded by the Hyksos titulary104, the attribution to Khyan
cannot be certain.
The following classication of the seal types encountered at Tell el-Dabʿa has only an illustrative
intention: it is far from establishing a scarab typology for Khyan and does not attempt to do this.
99 Aa I in the list of hieroglyphic signs, Gardiner 1957, 539.
100 For the stratigraphic evaluation of this locus see § 2.2 and tab. 1. Unfortunately, as for inv. 9664 M, it is not possible
to supply information concerning this sealing context, because the documentation of the material from the western
side of the area R/III is ongoing.
101 This excursus does not include a sealing found in 2009 east of the magazine area of the so-called Abschnitt A in F/
II. In the preliminary report of the 2009 excavation campaign (Bietak – Forstner-Müller 2009, 94 – 95), ›Abschnitt
A‹ is indicated as the area of provenance of a »possible« Khyan sealing, however no picture of the object has been
published along with the report. For the number of Khyan sealings from area F/II see also n. 128.
102 In this case, it seems to me that the difference in the dimensions of the impressed surface is not attributable to the
distortion of the clay, but rather to the larger size of the seal that was used.
103 The coarser nish may be the result of poor quality execution or of the recourse to a lower quality material for the
scarab.
104 Sartori 2009, 285. A single existing scarab seal showing the same border as 9373 M (7C3, paired scrolls open) in
association with Khyan was found at Tell el-Yahudiyeh (Ben-Tor 2007, 106). However, the nomen of the king is
preceded there by the sȝ R
ʿ
title: Ben-Tor 2007, pl. 43, 7. Both examples, the scarab seal from Tell el-Yahudiyeh
and the seal impression from Tell el-Dabʿa area R/III, represent the extremities of the open scroll border as two
confronted cobras, following the Late Middle Kingdom variant of 7C3 design (Ben-Tor 2007, 107).
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106 Irene Forstner-Müller – Chiara Reali
Table 2: Classication of Khyan seals from Tell el Dabʿa
Type Design class Description No. of
examples
Inv. Provenance
area
Figure reference
a3E1105 Three signs in margins, pan-
els divided by double line,
ḥḳȝ-ḫȝswt title + nomen
6 9464
9446 N
9466 N
9466
9453 M106
9374 C107
R/III
R/III
R/III
R/III
R/III
F/II
g. 3
Sartori 2009, 287
g. 10
b7B3(ii)108 Three paired oblong scrolls
border, looped at the bottom
and possibly open on the top,
title (?), cartouche + nomen
2 9465
9664 M109
R/III
R/III
g. 4
c3E1110 Variation of type a (the only
visible difference is in the
writing of ȝswt), ḥḳȝ-ḫȝswt
title + nomen
1 9452 R111 R/III g. 5
d3E2112 Two signs in margins, pan-
els, addorsed cobras at the
bottom113, sȝ R‛ and ḥḳȝ-ḫȝswt
titles + nomen
1 9664 N114 R/III g. 6
e3E2115 Two signs in margins, panels,
addorsed cobras at the bot-
tom, which are linked on the
top; ḥḳȝ-ḫȝswt title + nomen
3 9355
9354 Q
9376 J
F/II
F/II
F/II
Sartori 2009, 286
g. 8
Sartori 2009, 286
g. 9
Sartori 2009, 285
g. 7
f7B3(ii)116 Three paired oblong scrolls
border, looped on the top and
open at the bottom; ḥḳȝ-ḫȝswt
title + nomen
2 9354117
9396118
F/II
F/II
Sartori 2009, 287
g. 11
Bietak 2010b, 989
g. 15
g3E1119 Variation of type a (panels
divided by single line and
different writing of ȝswt),
ḥḳȝ-ḫȝswt title + nomen
1Adam
1959,
pl. 10,
B120
R/I Tufnell 1984, 3208
h (?) 7C3121
Martin’s
Type I122
Paired oblong scrolls border,
open and with cobras on the
top, ḥḳȝ-ḫȝswt title
1 9373 M F/II Sartori 2009, 285
g. 6
105 Tufnell 1984, 122 – 123; Ben-Tor 2007, 86 – 87.
106 Inv. 9464. 9446 N. 9466 N. 9466: Reali 2012/2013, 67 – 73 inv. 9453 M (discussed above).
107 Inv. 9374 C: Sartori 2009, 281 – 292.
108 Tufnell 1984, 129; Ben-Tor 2007, 92. Or 7C3(ii): Tufnell 1984, 130; Ben-Tor 2007, 92 – 93.
109 Inv. 9465 (Reali 2012/2013, 67 – 73). 9664 M (discussed above).
110 Same references as for type a.
111 Inv. 9452R: Reali 2012/2013, 67 – 73.
112 3E2; Tufnell 1984, 122.
113 Ben-Tor 2007, 87.
114 Inv. 9664 N (discussed above).
115 Same references as for type d.
116 Tufnell 1984, 129; Ben-Tor 2007, 92.
117 Inv. 9354: Sartori 2009, 281 – 292.
118 Bietak 2010b, 989 g. 15 (top right).
119 Same references as for type a.
120 In this case, a scarab: Adam 1959, pl. 10, B; Tufnell 1984, pl. 56, 3208.
121 See also n. 104.
122 Type I of Martin bases’ typology. Martin 1971, pl. 49, a1ᶟ.
Chajan_Text.indd 106 10.07.18 17:14
107
King Khyan and Avaris. Some Considerations Concerning Khyan Seal Impressions
5 Parallels for Khyan seal impressions from area R/III
The search for chronologically reliable parallels concerning sealings and scarab seals is not un-
problematic. The main sources for comparison are indeed scarabs sold on the antiquity market
and nowadays belonging to private collections, which do not supply any indication about their
provenance123; or seals coming from old excavations, for which not always clear indications about
the stratigraphic position are available or, nally, scarabs uncovered in funerary contexts, which
as status symbol items in addition to their use as amulets, may be much older than the burial it-
self 124. However, for two of the seal types identied at area R/III (type a and b), there are parallels
(in this case, sealings) coming from stratied contexts, which may contribute to their chronologi-
cal evaluation.
5.1 Parallels from Tell el-Dabʿa
A sealing recovered in the already-discussed area F/II (inv. 9374 C)125 shows similarities with
type a (see tab. 2) but it preserves only the upper part of the impression, showing a panel division
using double lines, the ḥḳȝ-ḫȝswt title and the beginning of the nomen: . It originates from a sub-
pit126 of the pit complex L81 (see § 2.3)127.
The additional six sealings from area F/II128 bearing impressions of king Khyan129 show at least
two130 seal types, which are not found at area R/III.
123 Keel 1995, 259.
124 Ward 1987, 508.
125 Sartori 2009, 287 – 288.
126 Sartori 2009, 287 – 288.
127 Bietak 2007, 778; Aston – Bader 2009, 20; Aston 2012, 159 – 162 date the lling of this large pit system to the
transition from stratum E/1 to stratum D/3 of Tell el-Dabʿa. Kopetzky on the other hand reaches a different chrono-
logical estimation of the same lling, proposing a dating in the late Hyksos Period: Kopetzky 2010, I, 125 n. 742.
I personally accept Aston’s chronological interpretation of the material, while Forstner-Müller considers a longer
time span for the ceramic material lling the pit complex (strata E/1 – D/2 of Tell el-Dabʿa), embracing Kopetzky’s
interpretation.
128 Some clarication should be given here concerning the actual number of Khyan-related seal impressions from
area F/II (7). The preliminary report of the 2008 – 2009 excavation campaigns gives a total of nine Khyan-related
sealings from F/II, two more than the actual number. Such confusion may have originated from the following
sentence in Sartori 2009, 284 – 285: »Von besonderer Wichtigkeit für die Datierung des Gebäudekomplexes von
Areal F/II sind sechs Siegelverschlüsse, die in Verbindung mit den Hyksoskönigen stehen (Abb. 6 – 11): fünf Stücke
tragenden Titel ḥḳȝ-ḫȝswt und vier den Namen des ḥyȝn Ch(a)yan/Chiyaran/Chayran, eines der ›grossen Hyksos‹
der 15. Dynastie.« Here, in fact, the correct number of Khyan sealings (6) uncovered during the excavation cam-
paigns of 2006 and 2008 is given; there follows the partial sum of the sealings bearing the title (regardless of whe-
ther followed by the king’s name or not) or the name/part of the name. Besides the already-mentioned sealing from
the so-called Abschnitt A (see n. 101), the distribution chart in Bietak – Forstner-Müller 2009, 94 – 95 indicates an
extra piece of a Khyan impression from L81 (six sealings instead of the actual ve). Finally, the preliminary report
of the 2011 excavation campaign in F/II reports eight sealings bearing the impression of this king and coming from
L81 (evidently a misprint), besides a further Khyan sealing uncovered during the excavation campaign of 2009 in a
re-pit within the southern building S, which according to the excavator may be dated to stratum c/2, or E/1 of Tell
el-Dabʿa, see Bietak et al. 2012/2013, 25.
129 Two of them bear the complete nomen of the king; one preserves only the nal part of it and the fourth shows only
the ḥḳȝ-ḫȝswt titulary, but it is certainly attributable to the seal type of one the best-preserved impressions of Khyan
from this area (Sartori 2009, 285 – 287). Besides the sealings with the incontestable impressions of Khyan there is
one more, which preserves only the title ḥḳȝ-ḫȝswt. This may also have been stamped by a seal of Khyan, Sartori
2009, 285; Bietak – Forstner-Müller 2009, 94 – 95.
130 Or three seal types, in case Type f (see tab. 2) is effectively a Khyan’s seal impression.
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108 Irene Forstner-Müller – Chiara Reali
5.2 Parallels outside Tell el-Dabʿa
The Mission of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago at Tell Edfu, in Upper Egypt,
has recently discovered seal impressions bearing the name of the Hyksos ruler Khyan131.
There, in a columned hall of an administrative building132 excavated in 2010/2011, were found
44133 seal impressions stamped using the same scarab seal bearing the nomen of Khyan, which
seems to be very close to type b (g. 6). The seal used bore the nomen of the king, which was
inscribed in a cartouche set within a three paired oblong scrolls border, Design class 7B3(ii)134.
The nomen was preceded by the royal title R
ʿ
and followed by the given life epithet. The same
context revealed six impressions bearing the name of the 13th Dynasty king Sobekhotep IV135, fur-
ther cretulae showing late Middle Kingdom private-name seals impressions136, sealings bearing a
Palestinian series motif 137 and, nally, ceramic shapes showing continuity with late Middle King-
dom styles138. According to the type b impressions from Tell el-Dabʿa, it is not certain whether
their original matrix bore the R
ʿ
title or not. However, comparisons with similar seals139 found
in Egypt and in the Levant, bearing the nomen of Khyan inscribed in a cartouche and introducing
him as an »Egyptian king« and not as »a ruler of the foreign countries«, may allow us to state with
a certain plausibility that type b also bore this title.
6 Khyan scarab seriation and his royal career: considerations in light of
the newly-discovered type d
Establishing a chronological sequence within the Khyan seal types is not an easy matter, rstly
because few examples with his name come from excavations rather than the antiquities market140
and also because the number of those coming from stratied contexts is even smaller. The result
of this situation is that we are lacking a series of points in the relative chronology that would al-
low us to undertake such an operation: and the same issues hold true for the establishment of a
royal-name sequence of the period in question.
From this basis it is difcult to identify potential valid criteria for the establishment of a
chronological seriation (both within the whole series of royal names and within the Khyan-related
examples), but it is still possible to make some suggestions in this regard based on the material
presented here.
Ward used the seal length of royal-name scarabs along with further stylistic features to create
a seriation of the royal-name scarabs of this period141, although it did not result in the creation
of a suitable parameter for chronological classication142. However, the length of the seal types
from area R/III supplies some additional information, which may be useful to tentatively group
different types together. For instance, the correspondence suggested by the designs of the above-
listed panelled examples (Design class 3E1) falling into type a (g. 5) and type g (tab. 2), may be
conrmed by their similar length143. The fragmentary condition of inv. 9452 unfortunately does
131 Moeller et al. 2011.
132 Moeller et al. 2011, 87.
133 Moeller et al. 2011, 110.
134 Tufnell 1984, 129; Ben-Tor 2007, 92; Moeller et al. 2011, 109 – 110.
135 Dated to the mid-13th Dynasty. Moeller et al. 2011, 93. 110. 113; Ryholt 1997, 229 – 231.
136 Moeller et al. 2011, 110: 2654s.138; 2654s.34; 2654s.13.
137 Moeller et al. 2011, 2654.s.1.
138 Ayers 2011, 115 – 119.
139 Tufnell 1984, pl. 56, 3207. 3216 – 3220; Ben-Tor 2007, pl. 43, 1. 5 – 8.
140 Tufnell 1984, pl. 56; Ryholt 1997, 383 – 385.
141 Ward 1984, 164 – 165. 188.
142 Ward himself judges the length of scarabs insufcient if used as the only criterion: Krauss 1998, 39. For further
debate about this subject: Ryholt 1997, 43; Ben-Tor 2007, 106.
143 Type a (only the best-preserved examples): inv. 9464, length 17 mm; inv. 9466, the preserved length is 14 mm,
but it seems reasonable to attribute a length of 16 – 17 mm to the complete impression. The length of the scarab
Chajan_Text.indd 108 10.07.18 17:14
109
King Khyan and Avaris. Some Considerations Concerning Khyan Seal Impressions
not tell us anything about the original length of type c (g. 7), which also seems to be a variant of
type a. The length of type b seems to correspond to that of the seal impressions from Tell Edfu144,
whereas further known scarabs displaying similar designs have bigger dimensions145. Finally,
type d (g. 8) and type e (tab. 2), which despite the use of different titularies show panels and ad-
dorsed cobras at the bottom, present similarities in size as well146.
Beyond the suggestions based on seal length, one of the identied seal types (type d g. 8)
may allow further deductions concerning a potential Khyan-seal seriation and about the changes
of his titulary. Khyan is assumed to be the rst king to adopt the prenomen and nomen and to
abandon the title ḥḳȝ-ḫȝswt147.The only ruler of this period other than Khyan who is attested using
both Egyptian and Hyksos titles is Sakir-Har. In fact, Sakir-Har’s rst three royal names148 were
found on a limestone doorjamb uncovered within the 18th Dynasty palatial district of H/III at Tell
el-Dabʿa in a secondary context149. Because of this similarity, Khyan has been proposed as a suc-
cessor – possibly the direct successor – of Sakir-Har150. Thus far, Sakir-Har is the sole Hyksos
king for whom a simultaneous adoption and use of the Egyptian and the Hyksos titles has been
ascertained before the excavations in area R/III. Earlier evidence about the kingship of Khyan us-
ing Hyksos and Egyptian151 titulary separately was interpreted as reecting two distinct stages of
his life152 and political career, in which Khyan initially assumed the ḥḳȝ-ḫȝswt title and only later
the prenomen/nomen, at that time abandoning the former title and possibly adopting the whole
Egyptian titulary153. The newly discovered Khyan seal type (to which we refer as type d) suggests
that Khyan also – possibly at a specic stage during his rise of power – used both titularies con-
currently, that is, the ḥḳȝ-ḫȝswt title and the R
ʿ
.
As mentioned above, Kim Ryholt suggests that Khyan might have adopted the prenomen and
nomen in an advanced stage of his reign, replacing the title of ḥḳȝ-ḫȝswt that was supposedly no
longer used after his reign154. This assumption derives from the observation that the seals of Khy-
an inscribed with ḥḳȝ-ḫȝswt never show cartouches nor other royal attributes155, and furthermore
that Apophis thus far supposed to be the direct successor of Khyan156 seems to have never
reused the Hyksos titulary157.
With regard to type d, which shows a joint Egyptian and Hyksos titulary, considering Tuf-
nell’s hypothesis that the panel design (3E) – absent in the Late Middle Kingdom and rst occur-
ring among the Early Palestinian series – may derive from the cobra addorsed and linked design
(3B1b)158, we may tentatively suggest an earlier stage for type d (similarly showing panels and
found by Adam (Adam 1959, pl. 10, B) in area R/I, which we assigned to type g, is 18 mm (Tufnell 1984, pl. 56,
3208).
144 The best-preserved example of type b, inv. 9465, reaches a length of 10 mm, whereas the length of the Khyan im-
pressions from Tell Edfu is 16 mm. Although the different state of preservation of the material does not allow direct
comparisons of length, the distance from the bottom edge to the of the nomen Khyan on the Tell Edfu impressions
matches that of the type b example from R/III.
145 Most of the similar examples of Tufnell (Tufnell 1984, pl. 56, 3216 – 3220) have a length ranging between 18 and
25 mm. Only Tufnell 1984, pl. 56, 3207 has a length of 16 mm.
146 Type d: inv. 9664 N, the preserved length is 10 mm; however, with the re-integration of the missing bottom part
it feasibly reaches 12 – 13 mm in length. The best-preserved F/II example with panels and addorsed cobras at the
bottom, which bears only the Hyksos titulary (type e, inv. 9355) has a length of 12 mm.
147 Ryholt 1997, 121. 123 n. 418; 124.
148 Ryholt 1997, 123 – 124.
149 Bietak et al. 2002, 56 – 57.
150 Ryholt 1997, 124.
151 With prenomen and nomen: Ryholt 1997, 124.
152 Ryholt 1997, 124.
153 Ryholt 1997, 124.
154 Ryholt 1997, 124.
155 Ryholt 1997, 124.
156 Ryholt 1997, 120.
157 Ryholt 1997, 120. 124.
158 Tufnell 1984, 123; Ben-Tor 2007, 135.
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110 Irene Forstner-Müller – Chiara Reali
addorsed cobras) within the Khyan scarab sequence placed before type a (g. 5), which displays
only the Hyksos titulary.
The hypothetical nature of the last suggestion is obvious; nevertheless, it is a further clue to re-
think interpretations thus far made considering the lack of evidence rather than the evidence itself.
7 The functional aspects of the Khyan seal impressions from
Tell el-Dabʿa (area R/III–F/II) and Tell Edfu
A single scarab seal was used to stamp the cretulae of Khyan found at Tell Edfu, which were ap-
parently mostly afxed to boxes159. They were found in an approximately 10 cm thick debris layer
connected to the nal occupation phase of the administrative building160 and they were possibly
the result of a single administrative cycle161. A likely explanation for this cretulae is that they
sealed a batch of goods from the north, which was delivered in boxes162 within a relatively short
period of time163.
However, the evidence from the Hyksos palatial area F/II comes from the heterogeneous ll-
ing of pit L81164, which took place sometime between the phases identied at Tell el-Dabʿa as
stratum E/1 and stratum D/3 (David Aston) or D/2 (Karin Kopetzky)165, in the middle or latter
phase of the Second Intermediate Period. Six166 seal impressions related to Khyan, which were
found within L81 and L803 are already published167. In terms of functionality, from the published
images showing the reverse of the sealings, it is likely that, except for two examples (inv. 9354
and 9373 M168) clearly afxed to boxes, the rest closed small ceramic vessels (inv. 9376 J169. 9355.
9354 Q170) and possibly bags (inv. 9374 C171)172. Of inv. 9396 only the obverse was published,
therefore it is not possible to add any functional information to the iconographic details173.
The administrative material from area R/III is likely the result of dumping the material of vari-
ous administrative cycles covering a longer period of time than at Tell Edfu. Although the sealings
from R/III were found in probable tertiary contexts, the presence of pairs of sealings stamped
by the same seal within the same context174, if not accidental, might be interpreted as a – though
slight – surviving evidence for ling activities at R/III, consisting of collecting the receipts (i.e.
159 Only on 29 out of 44 examples the reverses were identied (Moeller 2012, 123): 10 sealings out of 44 bear the
impression of a peg on the reverse, 15 the impression of a at wooden surface with bindings and 4 of them fabric
impression (Moeller 2012, 123; Moeller et al. 2011, 100. 109). However, it should be mentioned that the impression
of fabric on the reverse of some of the sealings does not exclude the possibility that they were afxed to boxes,
both because the fabric impression might have reected part of the escaped content/lining of the box and because
the textile itself might have been used to bind/close the box. For boxes containing textile or fabric lining, see for
instance: Müller 2004, 50 and n. 56.
160 US 2654; Moeller et al. 2011, 97.
161 Moeller et al. 2011, 105.
162 A closer observation of the functional aspects of the Khyan sealings from Tell Edfu, compared to the ones found at
Tell el-Dabʿa, might help in the evaluation of the sealed containers and their provenience.
163 Moeller et al. 2011, 105.
164 See above § 2.3.
165 Aston – Bader 2009, 20; Aston 2012, 159 – 162; Kopetzky 2010, I, 125 n. 742.
166 9376 J is the only one recovered in L 803 (see tab. 2).
167 Sartori 2009; Bietak – Forstner-Müller 2009, 94 – 96.
168 Drawings and images of the reverse (respectively): Sartori 2009, 285. 287.
169 Alternatively, possibly a bag.
170 Drawings and images of the reverse (respectively): Sartori 2009, 285; Bietak – Forstner-Müller 2009, 96 and Sar-
tori 2009, 286.
171 Drawing and image of the reverse: Sartori 2009, 287.
172 This functional assessment of the Khyan’s sealings from F/II does not follow a direct analysis of the material but a
basic assessment of the images and the drawings of the reverses, which were published in Sartori 2009.
173 Bietak 2010b, 989 g. 15 (top right).
174 i.e. L 338 and L 260: each locus contained a pair of sealings stamped by type a seals, which had been afxed to
boxes.
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111
King Khyan and Avaris. Some Considerations Concerning Khyan Seal Impressions
the fragments of broken sealings retaining the seal impression) of the performed administrative
operations. Unlike to what happens at Tell Edfu, the archival activity can only be supposed at
area R/III, where contexts showing discarded sequences of sealings and the grouping of homo-
geneous series of administrative operations are lacking, most likely destroyed by the re-building
and levelling activities taking place in the settlement. Two main groups of sealed containers can
be distinguished within the cretulae from R/III sealed by the seal of Khyan. According to the
typologies of their reverses, the largest group seems to consist of cretulae closing boxes (g. 9)
whereas the second group is formed by sealings afxed to small pottery jars (g. 10). The cretulae
that sealed boxes (g. 9) are identied by a at surface showing a wooden impression175, running
perpendicularly to a concave surface/section, which is the impression of a wooden peg, usually
twined around by one or more rope loops. Among those sealings, two subgroups can be distin-
175 However, in other cases it might also bear the impression of plaited vegetal bers.
Fig. 9 Containers from area R/III sealed by Khyan seals: boxes (Photo: © OeAW-OeAI/A. Krause,
C. Reali, N. Gail)
Fig. 10 Containers from area R/III sealed by Khyan seals: small vases
(Photo: © OeAW-OeAI/C. Reali, A. Krause)
Chajan_Text.indd 111 10.07.18 17:14
112 Irene Forstner-Müller – Chiara Reali
guished in respect of the shape of their pegs, i.e. boxes with polygonal176 and boxes with rounded
pegs177. The second assemblage brings together cretulae closing small jars (g. 10). These are
recognizable by the presence of fabric and rope impressions following the outline of the vessel.
In one case (inv. 9664 N178), the transition between the fabric and the pottery impression, possibly
from the neck of the container, is visible; the meagre remnants on the reverse of 9446 N simply
show tightened fabric impressions forming folds, possibly around the neck of a jar.
In conclusion, the contexts of the Khyan impressions suggest that the sealings from areas R/III
and F/II underwent the following process: they were broken in order to open the containers they
sealed, collected and discarded, to be later used, together with other previously discarded mate-
rial, as lling deposits in the areas where they were found. On the other hand, the sealings from
Tell Edfu had been broken, possibly collected in specic spots of the administrative unit and not
yet discarded. This might mean that the sealings from Tell Edfu are closer to the actual adminis-
trative process (and to the act of sealing) than the ones from R/III.
8 General observations
Rather than drawing chronological conclusions about the Khyan seal impressions presented
above, I would like to complete this contribution by playing the role of an advocatus diavoli to
make some remarks about the methodological approach to this kind of material, or rather about
the tools used to evaluate it, as well as the role of this material in the chronological discourse.
The Hyksos ruler Khyan is well-known because of his signicant position in the current chron-
ological debate, obviously in relation to the site of Tell el-Dabʿa, but also to the Aegean chronol-
ogy179. However, hitherto no denitive position within the 15th Dynasty has been attributed to this
king, whose reign still uctuates within a sequence of the rulers of the beginning180, the mid181 and
the end of the main Hyksos dynasty182. Neither recourse to epigraphic nor archaeological material
has led so far to a commonly-accepted relative chronological position for this king, who is however
considered a key element for the absolute chronology of ancient Egypt and the Aegean world183.
Three recently discovered archaeological contexts, which seem to be connected to this king184
may shed some light on his chronological position. These contexts are L473, the earliest context
of area R/III at Tell el Dabʿa, in which a Khyan seal impression was uncovered; pit L81 in the area
F/II of Tell el Dabʿa, and US 2654, excavated in an administrative compound found in the eastern
part of Tell Edfu. The presence of artefacts found in these contexts contributes to the estimation
of a date within the relative chronology for this king. A common feature of these three contexts
176 Inv. 9464. 9466. 9465. 9452 R.
177 Inv. 9453 M. 9466 N. 9664 M. The last cretula (inv. 9664 M) is difcult to interpret, because the at surface, which
is usually perpendicular to the peg, is missing here, being substituted by an irregular sloping surface with fabric
impression. However, this reverse might be interpreted as a box sealing: in fact, the fabric impression does not
prevent us from recognizing it as a box sealing and the absence of perpendicularity between the two surfaces might
be due to the deformation, that occurred by unsealing a not yet completely dry cretula.
178 For the sake of clarity, and in order to allow a clear understanding of the three-dimensionality of the object, the
reverse of this cretula is shown with the same orientation of its obverse. However, a rotation of the reverse 100 °
clockwise would have been suitable for recognizing the features of the sealing here. Visible on its reverse: stretched
fabric impression; four rope-passing holes (two of them recognizable on the reverse, a further two visible only
along the broken section) of a cord holding the fabric around the neck (?) of the container; and the impression of
the surface of the vessel.
179 Manning et al. 2014, 1171.
180 For instance, D. Ben-Tor aligned to W. Ward’s sequence (Ben-Tor 2007, 106; Ward 1984, 163. 168) and T. Schnei-
der: Schneider 2006, 194.
181 E.g., Bietak et al. 2012/2013, 25: suggesting the position of the third king of the 15th Dynasty.
182 Ryholt 1997, 50. 120; Ryholt 2010, 124; Krauss 1998, 41.
183 Manning et al. 2014, 1171. For the position of Khyan in the ongoing chronological debate about high and low
chronology, see also: Manning 1999; Manning 2014; Bietak 2003; Bietak – Hömayer 2007; Hömayer 2012.
184 In the following pages, these three contexts will be referred to as »Khyan context/s«.
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113
King Khyan and Avaris. Some Considerations Concerning Khyan Seal Impressions
is the composition of their sealings corpora: all show Egyptian Late Middle Kingdom, Egyptian
Second Intermediate Period series and Late Palestinian series motifs185.
The tools used to evaluate the artefacts from these contexts in order to suggest a dating are
pottery and seal typologies that have already been established for the late Middle Kingdom and
the Second Intermediate Period. In addition to these typologies, Tell Edfu has resorted to a further
technique for the context in question (US 2654): the analysis of several 14C samples186.
In the following section these tools (scarab and pottery typologies as well as radiocarbon dat-
ing) and their limitations within the evaluation process will be briey considered, together with
the nal interpretation of the Khyan contexts at both sites.
8.1 Khyan contexts and the difcult comparison between
Lower and Upper Egyptian pottery seriation
The Khyan context at Tell Edfu contains a corpus of cretulae that includes sealings bearing the
impressions of a king connected to the mid-13th Dynasty, Sobekhotep IV187; Late Middle King-
dom private-name seal impressions188; impressions of the Hyksos ruler Khyan189; and nally im-
pressions of the so-called Palestinian scarabs series190. This context seems also to show ceramic
material of the Late Middle Kingdom (second half of the 13th Dynasty) as well as shapes that can
be assigned to the early Second Intermediate Period191. Based on the ceramic evidence, the exca-
vators positioned the abandonment of the administrative complex of Tell Edfu »within the second
half of the 13th dynasty, which coincides with the early Second Intermediate Period«192.
Apart from the proposed overlap of the second half of the 13th Dynasty and the early Second
Intermediate Period, which cannot be estimated with precision, their interpretation of the aban-
donment of the building within the second half of the 13th Dynasty might not be the sole possible
explanation. In fact, as Anne Seiler points out about the pottery of the second third to the end of
the 13th Dynasty193 from the tombs of Dra’ Abu el-Naga, the changes within the pottery horizon
do not respect the usual Upper and Lower Egyptian division194 during the late Middle Kingdom
and the Second Intermediate Period, but they rather include regional developments appearing in
specic areas. Furthermore, in the Theban region, the production of typical early 13th Dynasty
shapes continues longer than in Lower Egypt and the innovations in the latter area with regard to
the morphology, which were created during the mid-13th Dynasty, never affected Upper Egypt195.
These considerations about pottery developments imply also the possibility of a slightly later
date for the Khyan context at Tell Edfu than the one proposed by its excavators. The unsynchro-
nized pottery development of this period in Egypt196 should generally prevent us from relying
automatically on the fact that a context with Late Middle Kingdom-Early Second Intermediate
Period ceramic material found in Upper Egypt corresponds chronologically to a similar ceramic
assemblage discovered in Lower Egypt.
185 Area R/III Khyan contexts: see information related to Late Palestinian series examples presented above. Area F/
II Khyan context: Late Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate series examples are published in Sartori 2009,
284 – 288. I owe the information about the presence of Late Palestinian series examples in F/II to Daphna Ben-Tor
and I am very grateful to Manfred Bietak for kindly letting me include and use this information in the present artic-
le. Tell Edfu Khyan context: see Moeller et al. 2011.
186 Moeller et al. 2011, 97.
187 Moeller et al. 2011, 103. 110.
188 Moeller et al. 2011, 102. 104. 110 – 111.
189 Moeller et al. 2011, 97. 109 – 110.
190 Moeller et al. 2011, 103. 110.
191 Moeller et al. 2011, 99; Ayers 2011, 116.
192 Moeller et al. 2011, 100.
193 Seiler 2012, 316.
194 Seiler 2012, 319.
195 Seiler 2010, 42 – 43.
196 Bourriau 2010, 11. 13. 32. 35.
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114 Irene Forstner-Müller – Chiara Reali
8.2 The Khyan contexts and the presence of Late Middle Kingdoms seal impressions
The presence of Late Middle Kingdom series seal impressions concerns the three contexts men-
tioned above (i.e. L473 and L81, respectively from area R/III and F/II at Tell el-Dabʿa, and US 2654
from Tell Edfu); however, various explanations may exist for their presence in each of the contexts.
According to the extremely mixed composition197 of the administrative material found in both
Tell el-Dabʿa Khyan contexts (L473 and L81) it appears reasonable to consider them as tertiary.
Therefore, any chronological association between earlier and later material belonging to these
contexts should be carefully considered. On the other hand, the sealings found in the court of the
administrative building at Tell Edfu and their grouping in quite large clusters according to their
impressions198 may suggest that this material is the result of one or more administrative cycle/
s199, or with the dispatch of one – or more (?) – delivery of goods from the north to Tell Edfu200.
As formerly mentioned, unlike Tell el-Dabʿa, Tell Edfu offers evidence for an earlier stage within
the course of the completion of the administrative process. The nature of the context from Tell
Edfu, which in the worst case might be labelled as secondary, may thereby allow possible ad-
ditional associations within the material. The administration of the 12th Dynasty and its practices
were maintained during the Late Middle Kingdom and the Early Second Intermediate Period201,
through the administrative system of the 13th Dynasty royal residence at Itj-tawy202, remaining
most likely almost unchanged at least until the relocation of the court to Thebes203 or the rise of the
16th Dynasty at Thebes204. Despite the transformations affecting the time span between 13th and
the 17th Dynasty205, information about the administration during this period is inadequate and does
not allow a detailed understanding of all its features in the different dynasties206. The rst clear
197 This heterogeneity lies not only in the different chronological attribution (Late Middle Kingdom/Early or Late Second
Intermediate Period) and source (Egypt or Palestine) of the seals, but also in the impossibility of identifying congruous
groups of sealings referring to administrative operations/cycles within the contexts.
198 Moeller et al. 2011, 96.
199 The excavators suggest a single administrative cycle: Moeller et al. 2011, 100.
200 Moeller et al. 2011, 100; Moeller 2012, 123.
201 Ben-Tor 2007, 6; Ben-Tor 2003, 240. About the adoption of the Egyptian administrative practice by the 14th Dy-
nasty see generally Ryholt 1997, 109 – 114.
202 Ben-Tor 2007, 6; Ben-Tor 2010, 92. For different theories about the relocation of the court from Iṯj-tawy to Thebes
before or after the end of the 13th Dynasty, see generally Ryholt 1997, 79 – 80. Against the relocation of the court of
the 13th Dynasty to Thebes and in favour of an overlap between the dynasties ruling at Iṯj-tawy and Thebes, genera-
ted rather by an independent rise of power from the local Late Middle Kingdom administrative structures of Upper
Egypt, see Ilin-Tomich 2014. About the estimation for the advent of the 16th Dynasty see Allen 2010, 4.
203 Ben-Tor 2007, 6.
204 The 16th and the 17th Dynasties show however a continuity with the previous Late Middle Kingdom administration
of the southern nomes (Ilin-Tomich 2014, 145. 158 – 159).
205 With the end of the Middle Kingdom and during the 16th and 17th Dynasty, although the ofce of ›overseer of the
sealed things‹ continues to be part of the administration, the practice of sealing goods seems according to the
archaeological data – to decline (Shirley 2013, 555) and a spontaneous decentralization of the formerly centralized
administration can be noticed. Tell el-Dabʿa and Tell Edfu offer examples for the continuation of the practice of
sealing after the 13th Dynasty although other centers along the Nile, unexpectedly, do not (Elephantine, for instance:
von Pilgrim 1996, 253; Shirley 2013, 555 or Thebes: Polz 2007, 13 – 14). However, the lack of evidence is not
always evidence of absence and this is conrmed, e.g., by Tell el-Dabʿa, where the recovery of large quantities of
sealings was possible only after the introduction of sieving within the excavation activities (Sartori 2009, 283).
About other changes in the administration in the Second Intermediate Period, see e.g. von Pilgrim 1996, 253 and
further references in his n. 788; Grajetzki 2010, 305. 308 – 310; Ilin-Tomich 2014, 155.
206 About the chronological placement and succession of 13th Dynasty high ofcials, see Grajetzki 2000 and Grajetzki
2010, 306; about the maintenance of the old structures or the whole reorganization at the lower levels of the ad-
ministration between the late 13th and the 17th Dynasty, see Grajetzki 2010, 310; about the absence of private-name
seals except for kings and treasurers in the 14th Dynasty, see Ryholt 1997, 110; about the difculties in the identi-
cation of 15th Dynasty ofcials, see Quirke 2004, 186 – 188; about the scarce knowledge concerning many of the
ofcials of Theban dynasties and the difculty of dating precisely their highest administrative titles, see Grajetzki
2000, 262 – 263 and Ilin-Tomich 2014, 152. 154; about the general difculties hampering the debates concerning
the administration of this period, see Shirley 2013, 522.
Chajan_Text.indd 114 10.07.18 17:14
115
King Khyan and Avaris. Some Considerations Concerning Khyan Seal Impressions
symptoms of transformation within the administrative structures inherited from the Late Middle
Kingdom appear in the north with the rise of the 15th and in the south from the 17th Dynasty207
beginning of the 18th Dynasty208 and the question that arises is to what extent can we be really
accurate in dening the chronological lower limits of the Late Middle Kingdom seal typologies
within the whole of Egypt?
The Late Middle Kingdom cretulae with private-name seal impressions found at Tell Edfu
may be useful in this respect. Among the published examples of names and titles209, only the im-
pressions bearing the name of the »seal-bearer«, »high steward«, »king’s retainer Redienptah«210
are found elsewhere in Egypt. These are widespread in Egypt (apparently concentrating mostly
in Upper Egypt211) and are found in the Levant212. However, although attested elsewhere, this of-
cial cannot be exactly dated and he is generally ascribed to the end of the 12th–13th Dynasty by
Wolfram Grajetzki213, not offering precise chronological links.
The royal-name seal impressions of Sobekhotep IV are closely linked to the mid-13th Dy-
nasty214 and at Tell Edfu they were found together with the sealings of Khyan, so far associated
with the rst or the second half of the 15th Dynasty. The imbalance between the quantities of seal
impressions of Sobekhotep IV (9) and of Khyan (44)215 found at Tell Edfu is evident. Although
this circumstance is not unequivocally interpretable as follows, the possibility that the cretulae
of Sobekhotep IV are residual216 or that – as documents probably having a higher administrative
value217 than the cretulae not sealed by royal-seals they might have been led and kept for a
longer period is not to be excluded a priori 218.
207 Quirke 2004, 186; Shirley 2013, 522; Shirley citing Polz about changes and renewal within cult and administration
during the 17th Dynasty: Shirley 2013, 554 – 555. 562. 564 – 565; Polz 2007, 305 – 307.
208 Ben-Tor 2007, 45 citing Tufnell 1984 as well.
209 Moeller et al. 2011, 102. 104. 110 – 111.
210 Moeller et al. 2011, 110.
211 Moeller et al. 2011, 110; Shirley 2013, 536.
212 Shirley 2013, 536.
213 Grajetzki 2000, 79. 101.
214 Sobekhotep IV is dated to ca. 1732 – 1720 B.C. by Ryholt (Ryholt 1997, 408) or to ca. 1709 – 1701 B.C. according
to Hornung et al. 2006, 492.
215 Moeller et al. 2011, 96. 110.
216 For the common reuse of scarabs during the Late Middle Kingdom, Second Intermediate Period and New Kingdom
see: Ben-Tor 2007, 6 – 7. 45. 48 n. 177; 72. For the possibility of appropriation and reuse of older seals see: Bietak
2004, 54 and Moeller 2012, 121. Against the aprioristic assumption that scarabs are »necessarily contemporary
with the context in which they are found« see Ryholt 2010, 124. For the reuse of Middle Kingdom royal scarabs/
seals: Williams 1977, 137 – 138. For seal re-use in the ancient Near East see generally: Collon 2005, 120 – 122.
217 The function of private/royal-name scarabs is still controversial (Ben-Tor 2004, 26). Royal-name scarabs were not
produced before the 12th Dynasty (Ward 1984, 151), the function of scarab seals having been previously executed
by cylinder seals. Given the original amuletic purpose of scarabs, some scholars do not recognize the administrative
value of private/royal-name scarabs, whereas other do. For the acknowledgment of an administrative value to royal
seals, see generally the scholars listed in Ben-Tor 2004, 31 n. 90. Against the attribution of an ofcial meaning to
royal-name scarabs, see Ben-Tor herself (Ben-Tor 2004, 26) and the studies and works quoted by her in Ben-Tor
2004, 31 n. 92. Since the apotropaic function of these objects remains in the background of their secondary ad-
ministrative – use, scarabs (royal-name scarabs included) cannot be unequivocally interpreted as to their purpose
(Ben-Tor 2004, 26). The presence of sealings bearing royal-name scarab seal impressions (although not in a large
number, Ben-Tor 2004, 26) attest their actual use within the administration. However, dening to what extent these
private/royal-name scarabs were actually used as ofcial/royal tools is a more difcult task: therefore, an interpre-
tation that includes both their ofcial and their unofcial character is advisable.
218 From the perspective of royal administrative records and their survival, it might be also signicant that after the
24-year reign of Merneferre-Aya – who ascended the throne four reigns after Sobekhotep IV – the administration
seems to collapse (Ryholt 1997, 298 – 299) as well as apparently the production/use of royal seals (Ryholt 1997,
298 – 299; Grajetzki 2010, 305).
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116 Irene Forstner-Müller – Chiara Reali
8.3 The Khyan contexts and the presence of Late Palestinian series seal impressions
The nal common feature in the composition of the Khyan contexts at Tell Edfu and Tell el-Dabʿa
is the presence of examples that can be assigned to the Palestinian series. The examples from Tell
el-Dabʿa are attributable to the Late Palestinian series219; the excavators of Tell Edfu attribute
their Palestinian examples220 to Christa Mlinar’s TD type IV221, and Daphna Ben-Tor recognizes
in them Late Palestinian series features222.
This type becomes popular at Tell el-Dabʿa in stratum E/1223, nevertheless the earliest example
categorized by Mlinar as belonging to this type224 is a scarab that was found in tomb 6 of area A/
II of Tell el-Dabʿa225 and she ascribed it to stratum E/2226. Unlike Mlinar’s attribution of it to stra-
tum E/2, the excavator includes this tomb – according to its stratigraphic relations – to the tran-
sitional phase between strata E/2 – E/1227, although stating that – according to its nds – the tomb
might already belong to the following stratum E/1228. Similarly, such a slight chronological shift
between stratum E/2 and E/1 in the dating of the Late Palestinian series is noticeable in Daphna
Ben-Tor’s seriation. Ben-Tor dates the Late Palestinian series according to their rst appearance
within Group III of the Jericho tombs229 and equates this group with stratum E/2 of Tell el-Dabʿa,
where the same Canaanite pottery assigned to Jericho Group III is attested230. Therefore, given
the correspondence between stratum E/2 and the beginning of the Hyksos Period231, Ben-Tor pro-
poses its contemporaneity with the 15th until beginning of the 18th Dynasty for the chronological
extension of the Late Palestinian series232. While the lower absolute date for the chronological
boundaries of this series (1500 B.C.) has never been adjusted, the beginning of this group was
originally dated to 1630 B.C.233 and was progressively raised to 1640 B.C.234 and currently to
1650 B.C.235. However, the correlation between Jericho Group III and Tell el-Dabʿa pottery is
actually only observable in the nal part of stratum E/2236. In fact, such a connection is essentially
based on the presence of a Piriform 2b juglet with three lozenge-shaped zones of decoration in one
of the Jericho tombs of Group III237 (i.e. tomb A 34, phase 4238), the Egyptian equivalent of which
(Piriform 2a juglet with three lozenge-shaped zones) appears in Tell el-Dabʿa at the earliest in late
219 At least the examples from area R/III.
220 i.e. 82 cretulae stamped by the same seal, which are part of the corpus of 333 sealings discovered in US 2654.
Moeller et al. 2011, 110.
221 Dated to the 1st half of the 15th Dynasty: Mlinar 2004, 134.
222 Moeller et al. 2011, 110.
223 C. Mlinar in: Bietak et al. 2001, 179; Ben-Tor 2007, 69.
224 Mlinar 2001a, TD 402, 72. 261 (here appearing as type IIIa and IIIb); Mlinar 2001b, 247 – 251.
225 Area A/II, square m/11, tomb 6: Bietak 1991a, 155 – 160.
226 It is worth mentioning that TD 402 is the sole example of type IV that Mlinar attributed to stratum E/2. In fact, the
rest of the seals grouped by Mlinar into this category originates from stratum E/1 and E/1 – D/3: Ben-Tor 2007, 69
and n. 347 – 349.
227 Bietak 1991a, 155.
228 Bietak 1991a, 156.
229 Ben-Tor 2010, 95 – 96; Ben-Tor 2007, 155; Ben-Tor – Bonl 2002, 38 – 39. 44.
230 »Canaanite pottery of the type assigned to Group III at Jericho was found at Tell el-Dabʿa in stratum E/2«: Ben-Tor
2010, 96.
231 Stratum E/2 is said to correspond to the beginning of the Hyksos rule (i.e. 15th Dynasty [?]) and the period shortly
before: Bietak 1991b, 55.
232 Ben-Tor 2007, 155.
233 Ben-Tor 2007, 155.
234 Ben-Tor 2010, 93.
235 Moeller et al. 2011, 110.
236 Bietak 1991b, 55.
237 Bietak 1991b, 55 (quoted as Kenyon, K. 1960, Archaeology in the Holy Land, London, 362, g. 142:5. Actually:
Kenyon, K. 1960, Excavations at Jericho, vol. 1: The Tombs Excavated in 1952 – 54, London 1960, 362 g. 142, 5).
238 Kenyon 1960, 352 – 368.
Chajan_Text.indd 116 10.07.18 17:14
117
King Khyan and Avaris. Some Considerations Concerning Khyan Seal Impressions
stratum E/2239, becoming common during stratum E/1240. Because of this discrepancy between
the archaeological record and the chronological conclusions reached both by Mlinar and Ben-Tor
about the beginning of the Late Palestinian series, I personally consider the end of stratum E/2 –
beginning of stratum E/1 is considered as a more suitable stratigraphic correspondence for setting
the relative chronology concerning the beginning of this series.
At this stage, it is worth mentioning the important fact that the grouping and dating of both
Ben-Tor’s Palestinian series scarab seals and Mlinar’s type IV are built on the stratigraphy of Tell
el-Dabʿa, on its pottery sequence and on its phasing241. The employment of these scarab seriations
as a working tool means an implicit connection with the phasing of Tell el-Dabʿa and, in terms of
absolute chronology, it means also the adoption of the low chronology242. For this reason, it may
be difcult to nd corroborations for a dating aiming at the high chronology using the chronology
of these typologies, as in the case of the Palestinian series examples from Tell Edfu243.
The latest datable sealings within the Tell Edfu Khyan context appear therefore to be the ex-
amples of the Palestinian series. The formation of the Khyan deposit at Tell Edfu should conse-
quently be dated according to them, rather than to further design or royal-name seal impressions
found in it.
Based on the ceramic material, the formation of the earliest Khyan context from the area R/ III
may be dated to early stratum E/1 of Tell el-Dabʿa. Here, as at Tell Edfu, the Late Palestinian
series sealings found in this context allow us to state that the deposit formation could not have
happened before the transition phase between stratum E/2 – E/1.
The ceramic material found in the Khyan sealing context from area F/II dates back to a time
span which extends between stratum E/1 and D/3244 or even D/2245 at Tell el-Dabʿa. The presence
of Late Palestinian series seal impressions within this context conrms this date for the deposit
formation, not allowing further conjectures about an earlier or a later date for this ruler within the
15th Dynasty.
However, these acknowledgements do not supply any information about the absolute chronol-
ogy but rather only about the relative sequence.
8.4 Khyan and radiocarbon dating
The excavators of Tell Edfu interpreted the nd assemblage of the Khyan context as supporting
an overlap of the 13th with the 15th Dynasty246, or at least of an earlier date for king Khyan247. This
earlier date would match with the radiocarbon dating of the Tell el-Dabʿa strata associated in
area F/II with this king (end of stratum E/1 and beginning of stratum D/3248) and therefore support
the recourse to a high rather than a Low chronology for Egypt249.
239 Bietak 1991b, 55.
240 Aston – Bietak 2011, 556.
241 Mlinar 2004, 107; Ben-Tor 2003, 243: »Establishing a typology of the Palestinian series depends rst and foremost
on the absolute chronology of the Middle Bronze Age phases in this region, which can only be based on synchro-
nisms with Egyptian chronology. It is now largely accepted that the most secure synchronism for this period is
provided by the Egyptian and Canaanite pottery found together in stratied deposits at Tell el-Dabʿa. The dates
proposed by Bietak for the occupation levels at Tell el-Dabʿa are based primarily on the Egyptian pottery found at
the site, which was compared with ceramic assemblages from Dahshur dated by Dorothea Arnold.«
242 Mlinar 2004, 107.
243 Moeller et al. 2011, 110.
244 Aston 2012, 159 – 162.
245 Kopetzky 2010, I, 125 n. 742.
246 Moeller et al. 2011, 107. 109.
247 Moeller et al. 2011, 107. 109; Manning et al. 2014, 1171 – 1174.
248 According to the date of pit L81 given by Aston: Aston Bader 2009, 20; Aston 2012, 159 – 162; Bietak et al.
2012/2013, 24; Manning et al. 2014, 1173 – 1174.
249 Moeller et al. 2011, 107 – 109; Manning et al. 2014, 1171 – 1173.
Chajan_Text.indd 117 10.07.18 17:14
118 Irene Forstner-Müller – Chiara Reali
The earliest Khyan context at R/III may be dated earlier than L81: to the early stratum E/1.
Judging from the phase transition chart by Manning et al. 2014250, there is a slight overlap of
the Bayesian modelled date ranges given for the Tell el-Dabʿa transitional phase E/2 – E/1 after
Kutschera et al.251 with the Tell Edfu 14C dating of the context associated with this king. Accord-
ing to the chronological timeline given in the above-mentioned chart, such an overlap seems to be
approximately translatable into a short timespan around 1700 B.C. This would mean a dating for
Khyan that is actually higher than the 80 years proposed by Moeller – Marouard252 and Manning
et al.253. Up to now254, the Khyan-related phase at Tell el-Dabʿa has been considered to be the tran-
sition between stratum E/1 and D/3255. Since the earliest Khyan-related context at Tell el-Dabʿa
(L473, R/III) is now dated to the transition stratum E/2 – E/1 – early E/1, the recourse to the 14C
dating given for this transition would suggest a date for Khyan that is at least 100 years earlier
than the previously proposed one. The question is whether the Egyptian absolute chronology and
the connected Levantine chronology are able to incorporate this adjustment.
Having considered some of the possibilities of measurement errors innate in our tools, which
may lead to the misrepresentation of the archaeological data, we should rather test and improve
them with the newly acquired data, rather than consider them the test itself.
Chiara Reali
9 Conclusions
Not a single Khyan sealing found at Tell el-Dabʿa was from a primary context. This is true for
both area R/III and for the so-called Khyan’s palace in area F/II. The Khyan contexts found in the
latter area are not connected directly to the phases of this large building. Even if they were found
in good or contemporary contexts, this would not allow an ad-hoc dating of the structure, as royal
name sealings are often found in later periods and contexts and therefore do not necessarily permit
the connection of buildings with kings256.
Sealings bearing the name of king Khyan are attested at Tell el-Dabʿa in contexts dating to the
following relative strata: E/1, D/3 and D/2.
Depending on the reliability of the Khyan contexts uncovered up to now at Tell el-Dabʿa, the
data allow several hypotheses about the relative chronology and the length of the reign of this
Hyksos ruler:
1. Khyan may have reigned in the earlier 15th Dynasty, embracing stratum E/1, or possibly
already the nal phase of stratum E/2 (therefore only his seal impressions found in contexts
attributed to stratum D/3 and D/2 would be residual).
2. Khyan may have reigned in the rst half of the 15th Dynasty, covering stratum E/1 and D/3
(therefore the seal impression found in the earliest context at Tell el-Dabʿa would be almost
contemporary with its context and the sealings in stratum D/2 would be residual).
3. Khyan’s reign may have covered a period of time including strata E/1 to D/2. This does not
mean however that he reigned longer in terms of years, but simply that one or more of the
phases/strata (E/1-D/3-D/2) may have lasted for a shorter time than currently estimated.
Another possibility connected to this third hypothesis is that his reign lasted until the very
beginning of Tell el-Dabʿa stratum D/2.
250 Manning et al. 2014, 1171 – 1173.
251 Kutschera et al. 2012.
252 Moeller et al. 2011.
253 Manning et al. 2014.
254 Kutschera et al. 2012, 408.
255 Approximately 1600 – 1580 B.C., according to the chronological chart in Bietak 2010a.
256 Bietak 2004. See also above (§ 2.3.) and Forstner-Müller – Rose 2012, 184.
Chajan_Text.indd 118 10.07.18 17:14
119
King Khyan and Avaris. Some Considerations Concerning Khyan Seal Impressions
In the evaluation of the archaeological data from Tell el-Dabʿa, it should be remembered that a
particular problem is the association of the relative strata of the site with absolute chronology257.
The Tell el-Dabʿa strata cannot be directly translated into absolute years. The applied chronologi-
cal model is based on a statistically-estimated average of 30 years per stratum derived from the
assumed lifespan of mud-brick architecture under the environmental conditions of the Nile Delta.
These postulated datum lines connecting the relative chronology of Tell el-Dabʿa with the abso-
lute chronology in Egypt258 have been criticized259.
An additional problem is that the chronological framework of the strata all over Tell el-Dabʿa
derived from the associated pottery. It is not possible to link any strata/phases to reigns of kings by
means of epigraphy260. Thus these new nds do not supply more information on the regnal length
of this king nor any information or possible links to absolute chronology.
However, Khyan was quite probably one of the earlier kings of the 15th Dynasty (before
Apophis and Khamudi), although the new nds do not suggest his denitive position within the
15th Dynasty.
Another crucial question is the length of the Hyksos Period, which is not certain and might
have either lasted 108 years or, as Kim Ryholt and Thomas Schneider have recently suggested261
much longer. Then there would be no discrepancy between the historical chronology and the 14C
dates262.
In consideration of the these issues, it may be concluded that the available data about Khyan
are insufcient or not sufciently comprehensible to rely completely on them. Therefore caution
is required in attributing a specic position to this king for measuring and corroborating absolute
chronologies.
Irene Forstner-Müller – Chiara Reali
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257 An extensive paper on the topic of the problem of Tell el-Dabʿa and the absolute chronology is in preparation by
I. Forstner-Müller.
258 Bietak 2013, 80.
259 Kutschera et al. 2012; Manning et al. 2014, 1174. For the problem of the Tell el-Dabʿa phases/strata and absolute
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260 Against D. Aston’s contribution to this volume.
261 Ryholt 140 (–149) years, Schneider 160 (–169) years or even 180 (–189) years, see K. Ryholt and T. Schneider
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262 I. Forstner-Müller is following here D. Aston’s schema x (Aston, same volume) assuming T. Schneider (same vol-
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