Amenemhat Scribe of Hatshepsut in Buhen

Replica statuette of Amenemhat, scribe of Hatshepsut Replica statuette of Amenemhat, scribe of Hatshepsut
Replica statuette of Amenemhat

The University of Pennsylvania's excavations in Buhen in 1909-10fn1 fn2 explored a site layered with many eras, from a Middle Kingdom fortress through Coptic ruins. They uncovered remains of a temple bearing traces of Thuthmoses I - III and Hatshepsut constructed during the Eighteenth Dynasty. There was the only surviving temple of Hatshepsut, although ruined and incomplete, except for hers at Deir Al Bahri.

Neither in a temple nor tomb, they found a cache of three displaced statues just a few feet into the sand along the northern wall of the city. Two of these represent the scribe Amenemhat (1479-1458 B.C.). By serendipity they found a stela, trimmed for reuse as the base of a column, that also belonged to the scribe Amenemhat in room 55 in one of the houses adjoining Hatshepsut's temple. Between the inscriptions on the three monuments Amenemhat's lineage and position are clear. He was a Nubian born in Tahekht to the chieftan Resu and the lady of the house Rena. Inscriptions on his scribe statue title him, "the watchful foreman of the king's daughter (god's wife), the scribe Amenemhat," that is, a scribe of Hatshepsut before she became king.

Another stela, round topped and complete, now in Khartoum, was recoverd from Amenemhat's undecorated tomb at Debiera West, by the Scandinavian Joint Expedition.fn3 His older brother Djehutyhotep's tomb was painted but Amenemhat's inscribed monuments tell his story instead. He held the chieftian position in turn from his brother, inherited down the line from their father. According to that funerary stela, Amenemhat's wife was named Hatshepsut, and the couple died without heirs. So, he was the last chief of Tehkhet to carry the hereditary position.

Amenemhat might well have trained in Egypt. He went by an Egyptian name while his brother went by an Egyptian and also a Nubian name, Paitsy. Amenemhat held his postion under the Thuthmoses. Since one inscription speaks of the god's wife, we know he also served under Hatshepsut before she declared herself king. And the UPENN stela indicates that Amenemhat served Hatshepsut while she was king fn4 but the scribe statuette depicts his earlier career as a scribe. Since the scribal figure was dedicated to the god Horus of Buhen, it was probably placed in a shrine or temple intending to keep the owner's dedication to the god alive, as well as his own standing among the offerings.

The original 14+" tall scribe statuette got around in the 20th century. After its discovery in the 1909-1910 excavations, it became the property of the UPENN Museum in Philadelphia and toured on loan a couple of times. For the "The American Discovery of Ancient Egypt" exhibition the statuette featured in Los Angeles, Saint Louis, and Indianapolis in 1995-1996.fn5 For an exhibition of the University of Pennsylvania's ancient Egyptian collection it traveled to Dallas and Seattle in 1998-1999.fn6 Then in 2005 it joined artifacts from many museums in the Metropolitan's "Hatshepsut from Queen to Pharaoh" exhibit.fn4

Lake Nasser covers the Buhen site today since the flooding of Nubia in 1964 with the completion of the Aswan Dam. Hatshepsut's temple was moved and preserved in Khartoum. The block stature of Amenemhat is in the Sudan National Museum at Khartoum along with the whole stela; the reshaped stela and the seated scribe with one knee elevated are in the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelpia.

These hieroglyphs read from right-to-left just like the ones that wrap around Amenemhat's thighs on his statuette

  1. University of Pennsylvania Egyptian Department of the University Museum
    Eckley B. Coxe Junior Expedition to Nubia: Vol. VII
    BUHEN
    by D. Randall-Maciver and C. Leonard Woolley
    University Museum, Philadelphia MCMX1 (1911)
    Vol VII pdf
  2. University of Pennsylvania Egyptian Department of the University Museum
    Eckley B. Coxe Junior Expedition to Nubia: Vol. VIII
    BUHEN
    PLATES
    by D. Randall-Maciver and C. Leonard Woolley
    University Museum, Philadelphia MCMX1 (1911)
    Vol. VIII Plates pdf
  3. The round topped stela:
  4. Hatshepsut from Queen to Pharaoh, Catharine H. Roehrig, Renée Dreyfus, Cathleen A. Keller, Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.) 2005
  5. The American Discovery of Ancient Egypt, Nancy Thomas (Author) , Gerry D., III Scott , Bruce G. Trigger, Los Angeles County Museum 1996 p. 181 Gerry D.Scott III
  6. Searching for Ancient Egypt: Art, Architecture, and Artifacts from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology , David P. Silverman, Cornell University Press 1997. p. 135 by Donald B. Redford

TOC
Hieroglyphic vocabulary
Amenemhet's inscriptions
Who was Amenemhet?
Lintel inscriptions
Kings' Cartouches
Horse hieroglyphs
WikiHiero
Tut's Djed Amulet