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International Conference
Origin of the State. Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt

(Cracow, Poland: 28th August - 1st September 2002)
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Early Dynastic Egypt
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The Late Predynastic - Early Dynastic Cemeteries of Minshat Ezzat and
Tell el-Samarah (el-Dakahliya Governorate), Northeastern Delta Salem


Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mansura Inspectorate (Egypt)


The El Dakahliya governorate located in the Northeastern Delta includes many important Late Predynastic and Early Dynastic cemeteries. The excavations presented were carried out by Salem el-Baghdadi as field director, under the supervision of Naguib Mohamed el-Sayed Nour, director general for the SCA in the Dakahliya governorate.

Minshat Ezzat

The site of Minshat Ezzat is situated about 15 km. east of el-Simbillâwein and about 20 km. southwest of Mendes, which was already an important place during late prehistoric times. The cemetery of Minshat Ezzat is at present situated within the cultivated land.
Seasons of excavation work of the SCA at Minshat Ezzat started in September 1998 and continued until June 2002.
The excavations revealed a settlement to the east of the cemeteries. At the latter, 20 poor Greco-Roman graves were discovered. They were build from mud-bricks and at the second stratum, intermingled with 102 graves dating back to the late predynastic and Early Dynastic periods. The excavated parts of the site consist of two areas of half an Egyptian feddan (2100 m²) each. The tombs have been dug into the ground up to the level of the Gezira sand. Often they were lined with slabs of mud.
The tombs contained pottery and an important amount of stone vessels, made among others from alabaster schist and porphyric rock. Furthermore there were flint knives, stone bracelets and necklaces.
Some of the fine pottery jars bear signs of the fish symbol. Amongst the unearthed objects a cylindrical bead has an hieroglyphic inscription reading smr-sk3. smr.s Hr that might represent the owner's title.
In one tomb a beautiful flint knife (48cm. long) was found, inscribed with the serekh of Den, the fourth or fifth king of the 1st Dynasty.
However, the masterpiece from the cemetery was an important decorated palette, the first in many years to be found in situ (el-Baghdadi 1999). It was broken into five parts, but repaired it looks almost complete.
Some of the objects from Minshat Ezzat are at present on display in the Cairo Museum.

Tell el-Samarah

Tell el-Samarah is situated one km. to the west of el-Samarah village and about 40km. southeast of El-Mansoura City. The distance from the Minshat Ezzat cemetery is about 20km.
Excavation seasons have been undertaken between 1998 and 2002. They revealed a Late Predynastic - Early Dynastic cemetery and settlement. 75 graves were excavated in the southeast side of the tell. As at Minshat Ezzat, the tombs were often lined with slabs of mud.



The excavated area covered two feddans (8400 m²).
Five Early Dynastic graves were found inside houses of the settlement.


EL-BAGHDADI, S.G., 1999.
La palette décorée de Minshat Ezzat (delta). Archéo-Nil, 9: 9-11.


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