Khufu’s harbour and papyri on the Red Sea

Mødedato: Tirsdag d. 20/11 2018, kl. 19.00
Lokale: KUA 21.0.54

Khufu’s harbour and papyri on the Red Sea: excavations at Wadi el-Jarf, v. Pierre Tallet, Professor of Egyptology – Sorbonne University, Paris

The Wadi el-Jarf site, excavated since 2011 by a team of the Paris-Sorbonne University, is a harbour on the Red Sea shore that was used at the beginning of the 4th dynasty to reach the copper and turquoise mines of the south-western part of Sinai Peninsula.

During the 2013 archaeological campaign, hundreds of fragments of papyrus from the end of Khufu’s reign were collected at the entrance of one of the storage galleries that are one of the most remarkable features of the site. This is, from now on, the oldest papyrus archive ever found in Egypt. This material was produced by a team of sailors which is already well known for its work on the harbour, and it mainly includes two categories of documents: accounts of commodities delivered to the workers, and logbooks recording their daily activities over several months.

Most surprisingly those last documents, for what is preserved of them, do not report to the activity of this group on the Wadi el-Jarf site. They describe previous missions led under the direction of the « inspector Merer », mainly devoted to the transport of limestone blocks from the quarries of Tura to the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza, then under construction on the opposite bank of the Nile.