Stele of Nebheq

Old Kingdom to First Intermediate Period, Dynast
2323–2061 B.C.

Findspot: Egypt, Dendara


Height x width: 42 x 45 cm (16 9/16 x 17 11/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World



Roughly square limestone stele of a woman named Nebheq [Nebuheq/Nb(w)Hq] and child in an offering scene. Apparently unfinished or perhaps very rapidly completed. An offering text appears at the top in two horizontal bands of hieroglyphs, reading: “An offering which the king gives to Anubis who is on his mountain in the place of embalming, lord of the sacred land….Nebheq.” Nebheq herself stands at left, shown wearing a long dress with shoulder straps, a long wig with front lappet over the shoulder which has been outlined but not carved in detail, and a beaded collar. She has been treated with more prominent relief and detailing than any other element of the scene. One of her arms hangs down at her side to hold the hand of her child, who appears somewhat faintly behind her. Oddly, an oval mirror has been rendered over the figure of the child. Nebheq’s other arm extends outward towards a number of offering items in an undivided field with a single baseline at bottom. At the her feet is a kneeling attendant, possibly a sandle-bearer, roughed out with deeply incised lines. Above this attendant is a box and another attendant, also standing and facing Nebheq, who carries a leg of beef. This figure has also been treated with reasonably detailed raised relief carving. Remaining depictions of offerings have been roughed in with thinly incised lines only; these include: large storage jars/vats and an offering table at bottom, heads of oxen & gazelle, and a goose. Fragments missing from upper right and left corners of the stele have taken minor portions of the text; the scene has not been affected.


From Dendara. 1898: excavated by William Flinders Petrie for the Egypt Exploration Fund; assigned to the Egypt Exploration Fund in the division of finds by the government of Egypt; presented to the MFA at the general meeting of the EEF.
(Accession Date: November 1, 1898)

Credit Line

Egypt Exploration Fund by subscription