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Narmer Palette

Artefact Details

Gallery number: 43 – Ground Floor

Period: Late Predynastic Period

Dynasty: Dynasty 0, reign of Narmer (ca. 3000 BC)

Size: Height: 64cm, Width: 42 cm

Place of discovery: Hierakonpolis (Nekhen) – Aswan Governorate

Material: Siltstone

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This ceremonial cosmetic palette discovered by British archeologist James Quibell and Frederick Green in 1897-1898 in the temple of Horus at Nekhen (city named Hierakonpolis by Greeks) celebrates the conquest of Northern Kingdom (Lower Egypt) by Narmer, king of the Southern Kingdom (Upper Egypt) and maybe symbolize the unification of Egypt. The palette contains some of the earliest hieroglyphic inscriptions ever found and has been considered “the first historical document in the world”.
The recto side of the palette is dominated by the depiction of the king (his name is in the rectangular enclosure called serekh flanked by two bovine heads in the upper part of the palette) wearing the White Crown of Upper Egypt smiting a prisoner with a mace and the verso side by two “serpopard”, a mythological creature, mix of serpent and leopard.