Petrie, William M. Flinders
Abydos: Part I: 1902 — London, 1902

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3. The earliest royal tomb that can yet be
placed in the series is that of king Ka, which
was described in the last volume {Royal Tombs,
ii, p. 7). Within the chamber were hundreds
of fragments of cylindrical jars (type, pi. vi, 1),
some of them with cross-lined pattern copied
from cordage. Such jars are well known in
the later prehistoric pottery, and belong to the
sequence date 78 in that scale. On many of
these jars are inscriptions, roughly written in
ink with a brush; and on comparing all of the
fragments, I have succeeded in putting together
those which are copied in plates i., ii., and iii.
They prove to be all of two formulae, one for
the king, and one for his queen. And as being
the oldest hieroglyphic inscriptions knoAvn,
probably half-way back in the dynasty before
Mena, they deserve our closest attention; they
show the oldest shapes of the signs, and prove
that at that age writing was so familiar that a
rapid form of it was freely used to write on
dozens of common pottery jars.

On plates i. and ii. it is seen that the whole
formula was Suten Ap, the Horus Ka, followed
by three strokes; and on plate iii. the second
formula was Ha hemt en Horus Ka. Thus, as
clearly as possible, these jars are inscribed for
the king Ap, whose Horus name is Ka, and for
Ha, the wife of the Horus Ka. The name Ap
occurs as a masculine name in the Old Kingdom,
and also very commonly the form Apa : while
Hay and Hayt are known as feminine names.
No objection has been made to this reading,
even by those who are most surprised by such
grammatical writing at that age. The meaning

of the three strokes below the Horus name is
not clear, and probably we shall have to wait
for some better drawn inscription to explain
them, as writin<r was so familiar to the scribe
that mere indications were then enough to give
the idea. There is no parallel to this group
following any of the other early Horus names;
and, as maa kheru and neb taui both belong to
far later times, we may perhaps suppose these
lines to represent some steps on which the
funereal stele was erected, as on the alabaster of
Azab, pi. v, or the pottery marks, probably all
from Azab, in Royal Tombs, i, pi. xlvi, 111—
155. The signs themselves show more than is
yet known about them. Observe especially the
suten plant, which is sometimes of the later
normal form, as in Nos. 4, 7, and 9; more
generally it has the leaf or flower at the top
like the qema or res sign of the south; and
generally the root is shown as a wavy line
hanging from it, see especially ISTos. 1, 2, 17, 19.
This plant Avas then separate from the nen or
uekheb plant, but no distinction between the
suten and qema plant was yet made. Probably
the use of this plant for qema or south was
then in the stage of naming the kingdom, par
excellence, before any other region to the north
had been formally included in it: much as Ave
should at present mean the British Isles by
speaking of "the kingdom," in contrast to the
far larger parts of the present kingdom in other

The inversion of the form of the Horus- or
/ca-name is strange. That the strokes above
the arms represent a panelling, like that placed
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