Cylindrical ivory box with inlay

Early–Classic Kerma
2400–1550 B.C.

Findspot: Nubia (Sudan), Kerma, K2100, SE corner on floor


Width x Depth x Length: 6.8 x 0.5 x 6.8 cm (2 11/16 x 3/16 x 2 11/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World



This is a fragmentary cylindrical box of ivory with incised, inlayed decoration. The black filled decorative motif shows nine djed pillars (the hieroglyphic sign for “stability”). Several fragments have been joined, while some remain separate. A sizable portion of the box is missing.

The box was found with a gaming set comprised of throwsticks (object 20.1522, originally 14-1-601) and game pieces (object 14-1-602). G. Reisner (the excavator) hypothesized that this container may have been a box used to shake and cast throwsticks while playing. For a similar container see object 20.1782.


From Kerma, tomb K2100, SE corner on floor. January 1914: excavated by the Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition; assigned to the MFA in the division of finds by the government of Sudan.
(Accession Date: March 1, 1920)

Credit Line

Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition