PROTOHIEROGLYPHS

MS 2787
MS Short Title PROTOHIEROGLYPHS
Text PROTOHIEROGLYPHS OF SHIP AND OAR (TRANSPORTATION)
Description MS in archaic Egyptian on clay, Egypt, Nagada II period, 3500-3100 BC, 1 black top jar, diam. 13-6 cm, h. 28 cm, (7x18 cm), 1 line of 2 large protohieroglyphs incised in the clay.
Context A related example incised with an ibis: Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, Predynastic Egyptian collection, fig. 25, no. 174.
Provenance 1. Found at Kamoula, Egypt (1897); 2. Pitt-Rivers Museum, Farnham, Surrey; 3. Private collection, Switzerland; 4. Sotheby's New York 5.6.1999:337.
Commentary

The present jar and the Ashmolean jar have, so far, the earliest "script" known in the Western world, preceding the earliest examples from Egypt and Sumer. Whether it actually is script is under discussion. It certainly is not continuos writing

A group of pottery and ivory tags was discovered in a predynastic Royal tomb in Abydos in 1998 with similar protohieroglyphs dated to 33rd - 32nd c. BC. A pottery shed was found in 1999 in Harappa in the Indus Valley with 6 signs, dated to ca 3500 BC, but without any connection to the later Indus Valley script, see MS 2645.

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Exhibited 1. Kon-Tiki Museet, Oslo, April 2002 - Jan. 2003; 2. Tigris 25th anniversary exhibition. The Kon-Tiki Museum, Oslo, 30.1. - 15.9.2003; 3. Kon-Tiki Museet, Oslo, September 2003 -.
Place of origin Egypt
Dates 3500 - 3100 BC

Location