Sign on
Date Made/Found: 1200-1186 BC
Material and Medium: Faience
Dimensions: Length 37mm, width 16mm, depth 4mm
Place Object Found: Thebes
Department: Archaeology
Accession Number: J1926.31b
This plaque features the name of Pharaoh Ramesses II, written in hieroglyphs. Royal names were enclosed in a cartouche, an oval shaped border. The hieroglyphs translate as 'Son of Ra, Ramesses, beloved of Amun'.

Most ancient Egyptian people could not read or write. Scribes were people who trained to be able to understand and write hieroglyphs. They had a high position in society. Hieroglyphs were considered sacred and were often used for religious texts. Each hieroglyph represented a sound in the ancient Egyptian language. The owl hieroglyph was the sound ‘m’, not the word for owl. But some hieroglyphs did represent a word as well as a sound e.g. the mouth sign meant the sound ‘r’ and also the word mouth.

The word hieroglyph comes from the Greek words for sacred writing. The ancient Egyptians believed that hieroglyphs were the words of the gods themselves. They were used for many centuries, from around 3250 BC to 394 AD. Scribes usually wrote religious texts such as prayers in hieroglyphs. Coffins were painted with hieroglyphic texts to ensure the dead person’s soul would successfully reach the afterlife.

This object was excavated from the foundation deposits of a temple dedicated to Queen Tawosret (reigned 1188-1186 BC). She was a queen who ruled alongside her young stepson Siptah and then for a few years in her own right after his death. Foundation deposits were religious offerings placed in the foundations of a building. A ceremony was performed before putting the offerings in place.
Display Location: Weston Park Museum

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