Egypt in South Africa


The bulk of the Ancient Egyptian collection of ceramics dates from the Early Dynastic Period (3050-2686 BCE). These artefacts were excavated during Sir Flinders Petrie’s 1911-1912 and 1912-1913 expeditions to the Kafr-Tarkhan region. Petrie found cemeteries from the early dynasties to the Roman Period. To distinguish between the older and later burials, Kafr-Tarkhan, a nearby village, was selected for the earlier phases and the other one, Kafr-Ammar, was used to identify the periods from the Second Dynasty onwards, including the Roman Period.
Excellent pieces of furniture, linen, basketry, slate palettes, copper tools and alabaster jars were recovered from tombs. A very important jar, with a seal indicating the name of Narmer, was found. Narmer is believed to be the founder of the First Dynasty.
A catalogue of the Tarkhan pottery was compiled to establish a cultural historical background against which ceramics, as part of the material culture, could be discussed. Ex-curator of the Antiquities Collection at Iziko Museums, Anlen Boshoff, compiled the catalogue. Click here to download
Apart from the Tarkhan pottery excavated by Petrie in the early 20th century there is a large corpus of ceramics also excavated by Petrie in the late 19th century. Research is underway to establish the provenance. This is undertaken with the assistance of the Petrie Museum in London and the University of Stellenbosch (Department of Ancient Studies).
There are a number of Predynastic and Early Dynastic alabaster and pottery vases, palettes and other objects excavated by Guy Brunton at Mostagedda in 1928. He previously worked with Petrie on some of his excavations.


A storage vessel used during the First Dynasty in Egypt, excavated during Sir Flinders Petrie's 1911-1912 and 1912-1913 expeditions to the Kafr-Tarkhan region.