Summary of the Article B.I.F.A.O. 95, 1995 p.23-63 (Michel Baud - Vassili Dobrev)
A portion of 6th Dynasty annals has been recently published by M. Baud and V. Dobrev (B.I.F.A.O. 95,1995 and 97,1997).
This is one of the most important text discovered in the last decades together with the better preserved Historical inscriptions of Amenemhat II found at Memphis (Memphis 1991: Epigraphy by J. Malek - S. Quirke in J.E.A. 78. 1992/ 13-18).
The South Saqqara Stone is the lid of the Sarcophagus of Ankhesenpepi; it was found in 1932-3 by G. Jequier in the Saqqara Pyramid complex of Pepi II, exactly in the westernmost of the five storerooms south of the satellite pyramid of Queen Iput II.
Jequier briefly reported (ASAE 32 p.48) that the inscriptions on it were unreadable. Actually the upper and lower lines are partly preserved, whilst the central lines are lost. The verso (BIFAO 97) produced only few readable blocks of glyphs.

The lid stone is Basalt, size 2,43 x 0,92 x 0,2 m. The provenance corresponds with that of the other fragments of the Annals (which, although unprovenanced -except for Cairo 4 found in situ at Mit Rahina- are said to come from the area of Memphis). As all the Annals the stone was inscribed on both sides. The reading is from upper right to lower left.

The text begins with a column on the right containing the titulary of the king (probably Pepi II) in whose reign the annals were carved. Only the initial Horus of the Horus-name is preserved and, c. 50 cm lower, ...nb 'ankh... and, at the very end of the column, ...djet. On the left of the initial Horus there is the first year-block over which there is the titulary-register: 'Hrw Shotep Tawy, Nswt-Bity Shotep Nebty, Zma Bik-nwb, (Sa-Ra Tety), mwt Nswt-Bity Zeshzeshet'.
Further to the left in this titulary band there are the names of Userkara and (circa 25 cm left of the middle of the slab breadth), the titles of Meryra Pepi and his mothers' names Ipwt.
The registers below, containing the events of each year, have no horizontal/vertical divisory line; thanks to the occurrances of the formula " Nswt-bity X ir.n.f m mnw.f " it has been possible to reconstruct 6 registers on the recto.
Each column is c. 1,1 cm wide (and c. 14-15 cm in height but the sixth is only 10cm); as in the Palermo/Cairo Stone, the years blocks broaden with the last kings (Merenra) and it's a pity that no vertical line marks the year block on the S.S. Annals; each year was made of various columns and was from 5,5 to more than 30 cm large. Teti's reign had 5 columns x regnal year (we know for him a HAt-xt-sp 12 and infact 1,1 x 5 x 12 = 66 cm); Userkara's reign would contain 8 year-cases according to the model of Teti's reign but only 2, 3 or 4 according to that of Pepi I; the reign of Pepi I had 10-15 columns year-compartments; it seems that the formula "Ir.n.f m mnw.f n ..." recurred in alternate years (only in the year of the x-th count, not in the year after the x-th count), but, probably since the 3rd year of Merenra, each 'Mnw' only comprehended one year and the breadth of the year compartments was much wider (20, 25 and, after the middle of the line 6, more than 30 columns, thus up to 40 cm).
The longest year block of the recto is Pepi I years 29/30 at the beginning of line 4 (c. 65 cm, zone D1, is one third of the whole register length), which surely had to contain the additional amount of informations related to the celebration of the Heb Sed.
The total breadth of the registers is c. 4 cubits (exactly 2,17m).

It's difficult, without year compartments, to make a count of regnal years; but the recto surely contained Teti, Userkara, Pepi I and Merenra's reigns, while the verso contained the second part of Merenra's reign and Pepi II's (but not the whole reign; the lid could have contained all Pepi II's reign as far as space, but it seems that only a part of it was carved).
The recognizable events are expeditions (military, commercial), products income (honey), statues' erection, King's offerings to temples (lapis-lazuli) or to other Kings, various rituals, ceremonies (Sma Tawy), cattle (and other animals and objects) counts.

Cattle counts:
Pepi I
(line 4, zone D4): ... 600 sqr Year of the 18th (?) cattle count;
(line 6, zone E7): Year after the 23th cattle count;
(line 6, zone E8): Year (after ??) 25th cattle count (at the end of a column, thus the last year of Pepi I).

(line 6):
(zone F1): Year of the Union of the Two Lands, Cattle count;
(zone F3): Year of the 2nd c.c. (1 [+1] thus third year of reign);
(zone F5): Year after the 2nd cattle count (1[+1?]). This is c. 40 cm after the previous c.c. which closes the third year column: therefore, as I have mentioned above, henceforth each Mnw formula covers one year block, not two as before.

At the left hand end of the fifth line of the recto there's Pepi I's 25th cattle count (his last ?): thus the last line below contained the first part of the reign of Merenra. There's therefore a confirmation of Urkunden I, 95.10 -Hatnub III- of 49-50 years of reign for Pepi I, whose reign length by Manetho (53 years) is nearer to the reality than the Turin Canon's (20). This latter one began with a "Cattle count in the year of the Union of the Two lands": the first cattle count was, now, in the accession year, so for example the Tnwt 5 mustn't be acknowledged as the 10th year of reign but the 9th!
Anyhow we must add that M. Dobrev has recently found evidence of a 32th cattle count of Pepi I: this would make the biannual count very unlikely and adds value to the thesis of annual or alternate annual - biannual cattle counts. A 32th c.c. for Pepi I is not compatible with the reconstruction and data provided by the S.S. Annal (could Verner's doc. be a scribal error for Pepi II?).
Albeit in the Pepi I reign on S.S. Annals there seem to be two nearby year of the x-th count and year after the x-th count the reading of the ciphers is very problematic for the state of the lid-slab and the microscopic size of the signs.
Also the reading of xt (after) in the formula of the Cattle Count is sometimes problematic.

The Annals don't evidence the way in which a coregency could be indicated onto them: thus we remain uncertain for a possible coregency Userkara-Pepi I; but something else is clarified; Pepi I's passage from Sa Ra Nefersahor to Meryra had for some scholars happened at the end of the coregency with Userkara (c. year 10), while others firmly believed it had been done after the Heb Sed (from year 36 on). The appearance of Meryra in the middle of the second line of these annals means that Pepi I changed his prename not after his 15th year of reign circa (unless the compiler of the Annals did use retroactively 'Meryra' for all Pepi's reign).

Counting the size of each year block (even if no line enclosed it) for a possible number of blocks (and finding cattle counts) the authors extimate at least 12 years of reign for Teti, 2-4 for Userkara, 49-50 for Pepi and at least 11-13 for Merenra (on Turin.C. x+4); it can't be told where did the (verso) second half of Merenra's reign end to be followed by Pepi II's.
The name of Userkara is not very clear, but partly deducible from a difference in the titularies between Teti and Pepi; in the last years it was going to be abandoned the idea of a sovereign between Teti and Pepi (seals were said to be of dyn. 5 Userkaf or of dyn. 13 Khendjer Userkara); the problem is confused by the possibility that Userkare could have been the chief of the conjurates who killed Teti, and so Pepi-of the Teti's lineage- would have erased his memory. But a possible coregency Userkara-Pepi prevents from hypothesizing that Userkare and Pepi were of two different families...
Owing to the damaged condition of the piece, no trace remains of a coregency Pepi I-Merenra, if there was one indeed.

A last important conclusion (which concords to my belief on the Palermo-Cairo stones reconstructions): the very probable existence of Userkara's name on the South Saqqara Stone must be taken into account in the light of a fairly probable Damnatio Memoriae which hit Userkara in the aftermath of Teti's death: this means that the calendaric purpose of the document in object couldn't allow an exclusion of kings- it would have faked the years count- but the reigns were preserved (we can't tell in which way and with which titularies and names).

Conclusive remarks
The Annals are very valuable sources for the comprehension of the history (and thought) of ancient Egyptians.
The view of Redford (King lists, annals and day books, 1986) becomes strenghtened with this discovery and that connected with the reign of Amenemhat II, which seem to progressively pass from a mere calendaric documents to something nearer to our concept of history, even if it's still hard to figure the real intents and ideas of the Egyptians about this kind of documents.
I have recently speculated on the possible Annals' reconstructions in relation to the parts of these documents containing reigns of perhaps "heretic" or usurper kings.
What would have been the behaviour of the later kings and priests in the eventuality that they had to order such a kind of text?
We have to do here with a non-religious text: and the purpose/aim of the inscription is what we must consider to shed light on these questions.
I think that sovereigns like Akhenaton and Peribsen, object of later damnatio memoriae by their 'religious revolutions' (but for Peribsen see my pages on Peribsen and Dyn 3 antecedents) , as well as possible usurper kings, would have been included in these annals -we don't know with which device for naming them-because their exclusion would have faked the year count.
Cairo 1 fragment of the Annals preserves the brief reign of Semerkhet, who was an usurper(?) of Adjib in some scholars' opinion.
The Turin Canon, even if only a mere list of kings and their reigns' length, with few further notices, is much closer to the Annals concept than the Saqqara and Abydos lists. These latters' religious character made it obvious the exclusion of kings not in line with the Maat. The Annals were placed in Temples (Cairo 4 was found in situ at Mit Rahina), but they were surely used first of all for practical purposes by the priests (scribes used papyrus copies). It would be useful to know the precise context of the discovery in relation with the temple plan: was it a place open to the view of all or instead an archive, a closed chamber ?

It seems that the aim of the compilers wasn't to evoke all the ancestor-kings in the dynastic line of the actual living sovereign, but to keep a record of the ceremonies, offerings, rituals, tributes, wars and monuments done year by year since the most ancient times, as far back as their sources could go.
Although poorly preserved, the presence of another possible usurper like Userkara on the South Saqqara Stone, could give credit to this hypothesis: Egyptian Annals did include the names of all the kings that their composers knew of.
Anyhow only a dedicated study and more data on the subject will clarify the problem here treated.

A final remark must be done for what concerns the informations provided by the South Saqqara Stone about the development of the Annalistic sources: we have the Vth Dynasty sources which comprehend the uninterrupted sequence of kings of the first five dynasties of Manetho's tradition. On the other hand, the Amenemhat Annals seem to be related with this king'r reign only.
The S.S.S. makes a grouping of the sovereigns whose names were included in Manetho's Sixth Dynasty: as the Turin Canon might also witness (Menes-Unas years summation), it seems that already in the OK there was the consciousness of a break between the reign of Unas and that of Teti (cf. D. Redford, Pharaonic King lists..., 1986); the S.S. Annals do reinforce our convinction about this fact.
There is a large number of further considerations which one could draw about the progressive change of focus of the 'facts' recorded on the different sources (as it also occurs along the cases of the 5 dynasties preserved on the Palermo Stone); only one example: M. Baud has recently discussed the different calendaric system provided on Palermo stone during the first four dynasties: the evenemential dates count seems to have prevailed in the First and Third Dynasty, the numeric one in the Second and, finally, from the Fourth Dynasty on (cf. M. Baud, Menes, la memoire monarchique et la chronologie du IIIe millénaire, Archéo-Nil 9, 1999, 109-147; id., Les frontières des quatre premières dynasties. Annales royales et historiographie égyptienne, BSFE 149, 2000, 32-46; id., Djéser et la IIIe dynastie, 2002, 53ff.).

Example of translation of some parts of the South Saqqara Annals

NOTE: These passages are after M. Baud - V. Dobrev in B.I.F.A.O. 95, 1995 p.23-63.
I have added nothing to their translations, but I have excluded many passages, whole zones and the extensive notes of the authors; this summary is only an indicative synthesis of the document state and informations provided by the authors; for a thoroughly more in depth evaluation the original publication is unreplaceable; any error which might have crept in my copy of some of the passages of the transliteration and translation is only mine. For the reconstructions of the general outline of the inscriptions on the lid and for the complete fac-simile and translation (with many chapters of comments and treatment particular problems concening these annals) see B.I.F.A.O. 95 and 97;
also cfr. "Memphis 1991 : Epigraphy (J. Malek - S. Quirke) J.E.A. 78. 1992/ 13-18" for the Memphite Annals of Amenemhat II.
I have inserted the image of one portion (zone A3, Pepi I year 4); the referenced article contains the fac-simile of the whole lid and of each preserved portion of text.

The recto is divided in 6 registers (A-F) with spotty portion of text preserved; here are the most consistent:

TETI (Teti titulary: the authors read the Golden Horus title as zmA Bjk-nbw; the king's mother is clearly ZSzSt).
A1: (below Teti's titulary; Teti accession year)
1) months count
2) xa nswt
then: ms(t) wpt-r (birth and opening of the mouth;
and further on a name of building(?) formed with the cartouche of Teti.
Under the line with the formula "Nswt Bity Za-Ra Teti Ir.n.f m mnw.f n", exactly under mnw there are four columns with equal heading signs: there may be reconstructed the Ka-houses of Teti (Hwt-KA Ttj) (Hwt Teti, Per+det, standard with Ka)
At the end of the year block there is the (offering) MA-HD (oryx) with the animal det.
At the end of the column placed below the Mnw, probably written in a line, the Nile flood measurement: [cubits]3, digits 3, [fractions of digits ...].

USERKARA (Userkara titulary is completely erased but a W and a sitting king (or queen?) determinative).
3 1/2 or 4 years (blocks); only part of the titulary and loose glyphs/numbers remain (no comment by the authors except for the titulary line)

PEPI I (Pepi titulary: the epithet Bjk-nbw has the last falcon out of the gold sign space; it might be placed on a standard but nothing remains).
A3: See Fig. below (12 fragmentary columns after the 3rd partly preserved Mnw formula; this is the fourth year of Pepi; after this year there is the poorly preserved portion A4 and finally there must be the last year of the first (A) register, the sixth year of Pepi I, which is completely erased).
x+1) ...Ppjj... (...Pepi I cartouche...)
x+2) jwt wpwtjw n... (arrival of the messengers of...= coming of + persons)
x+3) jwt mSa wn... (arrival of the troop ...)
x+4) jwt m wDb tp (Htpw?) nHs(jw) ... (pacification ? {= coming to bow down the heads} of the Nubians)
x+5) jwt m wDb tp (Htpw?) nHs(jw) ... jn.n.[s]n sw (pacification ? cfr. above ... when (or after) they took the products...)
x+6) jwt m wDb tp (Htpw?) nHs(jw) ... jn.n.[s]n sw (pacification ? cfr. above ... when (or after) they took the products...)
x+7) xrw (?) ... r ... xAtt ... bjt (...of first quality... honey...)
x+8) ... bjt 4 Hb-Ra, bjt ... (four honey jars for the feast of Ra... honey...)
x+9) ms(t) m aH-nTr Smaw r wp-rnpt m Hwt-nTr n(t) ... HAt ... 20 (birth in the chapel of the south for the New Year's festival in the temple of [place] 20 (+x)
x+10) ms(t) m aH-nTr Smaw ... twt Ppjj ... twt Ppjj ... (birth in the chapel of the south of the [material] statue of Pepi and of the statue(s) of Pepi in [material]
x+11) ms(t) ...t twt (birth of a statue of the god ?...) The crowned-god figure must both determine the godly statue and define the god
in object.
x+12) jdt, bjt (young cattle, honey)

Baud and Dobrev copy of South Saqqara stone zone A3 (early Pepi I reign)

D4: (36th year)
... rnpt ...t 600 sqr (?) HAt-zp 18 (?) ... (the year of the 18th [cattle count])

E6: year 44 (last years of Pepi I reign, in the middle up to the very end of the 5th register of the annal; note there is a wide space between zones E 6,7,8)
Three white crown and flagellum kings ... a number (3664 + x for the authors)

E7: year 46-47 (traces at the bottom of the first columns of this year block)
HAt-xt(?)-zp 23 Tnwt jH .... (the year after the 23th cattle count)
some columns after ...bjt (honey + number) ... and the verb Sm.

E8: year 49-50 (latest hieroglyphs of Pepi I's reign, at the bottom of the last column of the last register of his reign)
HAt-zp (event. HAt-xt.zp) 25 Tnwt-jH (year of (or after) the 25th cattle count)

F1: (Merenra's accession year) This register is sensibly less high than the 5 before it.
The titulary above the 1st year is unpreserved (the authors reconstruct it as Hr anx xaw, Nswt bitj Nbty anx xaw Bjk nbw Merenra, mwt nswt anx n.s MrjjRa)

After the Irj.n.f m mnw.f n formula, the bottom part of the register preserve a long offering list:
x+1) ...cattle...
x+2, x+3) numbers (30+x and 20+y)
x+4) ...HAt...
x+5) Htp-dj-nswt (offering the king gives...)
x+6) xsbD (lapis-lazuli)
x+7) loaves
x+8) numbers
x+9) 6420 + x (prob. cattle ? It looks to me like a kind of vineyard sign but maybe fragmentarily preserved ox)
x+10) ...jars and pzn-bread 1010 (+ x)
x+11) 32 (+ x) cattle
x+13, x+14) long shaped breads (?)
x+15) ...nw, nm [n.]f n Sms.ty (?), HAtt, rnpt zmA-TAwy Tnwt-jH (Year of the Union of the Two Lands, Cattle Count)

(under year 3, in F2, col. x+7 reads: (offering) of cattle to Seth in the Snwty shrine -the double sanctuary also mentioned on the Palermo Stone with slightly different graphy- and another offering of 5 oxen to Wadjit)

F3 and F5 respectively contain the HAt-zp 1[+ 1?] Tnwt jH and HAt-xt-zp 1 [+ 1?; this must be 5th year of reign] Tnwt jH cattle counts.
Note that in this last register the space diminishes in height but increases in length (up to 40 cm each year block): the authors have supposed that in the earliest years of Merenra the formula Irj.n.f n mnw.f n doesn't mark anymore the odd years but each year: if we don't assume such a change (much verisimilar, for the augmented notices concerning the most recent reign before Neferkara Pepi) Merenra's reign on the recto would sum up 10 years (R. Anthes reports a year after the 5th count for Merenra -in Hatnub pl. 5 inscr. VI-) plus those on the first part of the verso (impossible to determine where Pepi II reign starts on the almost completely effaced verso); if we give credit to this change of concordance in Mnw-formula and years, the F register would only report the first 6 years of the reign of Merenra, as the authors do believe.

F6: (The best preserved zone of the whole monument -including verso-) This is year 5
x+1 - x+5) animals counts with numbers: birds, cattle, 107434 in col. x+5, one million + no hundred thousands... + 7287, cattle (x+6), cattle and small size mammals (numbered in x+7);
x+8) [offerings] for Nefertum
x+9) PsDt m pr-mDAt-nTr m snwtj snTr HrjSf snTr (to the Ennead in the House of the divine scripts which is in the double sanctuary snwt: balls of incense ...
x+10) name of a god (det. with standard) and also a place (?)- name with bull or elephant on standard.
x+11) ...Mr.n.f ir.t n.f ... n jAw 60 ... Ddt.n (?) (The God ... he has loved what he (the king) has done for him ... 60 cattle ... according to what has been said)
x+12) ... offerings .. silver...
x+13) ... snTr ... bird X:1, birds Y : 200, sT-Hb bAqt 32 xntj-jmntjw (to the god ? incense , a X bird, 200 Y birds, 32 vessels of essence for feast; to the god Khentyamentyw ...
x+14) Nswt Bity ...Ka-Ra (cartouche), statue (or sitting god), cattle (?)
x+15) ... [products] 5(000?) HD wsx 2 msdmt (?) arf (?), Xt-xntj (sic)... (... 5000 X, 2 wsekh silver colliers, X bags of galene powder; to Khentykhet offerings ...)
x+17) Nswt bity in cartouche W...(strangely this w seems to preced any possible Ra sign)

F7: (Should be year 6 -or year 9 if we refuse the presupposition above mentioned-); few traces remain of what must have been year 10 and nothing of year 11 and 12; as told the reign of Merenra continued on the verso before that of Neferkara Pepi II which must have covered the rest of the verso)
x+3) series of barks, PtH...
x+4,5) ... HkA......

Thanks to Dr. Michel Baud for some precisations on the chronology of Old Kingdom and for sending me two articles.
Thanks to (Leonard) Fabian Boudville from Canada for the informations on the recent re-discovery of Khufu's 17th count by Hawass and for sharing with me his own and M. Verner' s comments on cattle counts in the Old Kingdom.

© Francesco Raffaele