Slab from the end of a coffin bench

Meroitic Period
early 2nd century B.C.

Object Place: Sudan, Nubia, Meroe, pyramid N VIII, burial chamber


Block (Rolling steel I-beam frame ( 5" dia. 1 1/2" thick double wheels)): 67.95 x 191.14 x 373.38 cm (26 3/4 x 75 1/4 x 147 in.) Framed (Top frame is made of unistrut for holding various size stones): 101.6 x 139.7 x 335.28 cm (40 x 55 x 132 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World


Architectural elements

Sandstone “coffin bench” of an unknown Meroitic king. Partially restored, with traces of red pigment still visible. They feature many reliefs, but no inscriptions. On the sides are carved the falcon-headed “Souls of Pe” (representing the north), and the jackal- headed “Souls of Dep” (representing the south); mythological royal ancestors who were believed to protect the deceased king. Behind them stand mummiform fugures representing the larger company of protective underworld gods. On the east (short) side the king, depicted as the rising sun, is being re-born. He is flanked on each side by an obelisk, the king in human form, a hawk on a shrine, and a winged goddess.


Findspot Information: From Meroe: Pyr. Beg. N VIII, burial chamber. [Excav. date] 1923.

Credit Line

Harvard University—Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition