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OLD KINGDOM EGYPT AND HER NEIGHBOURS. FOREIGN CONTACT. Contact With…. Sinai Palestine Nubia Libya Byblos Punt. Sinai. North East of Egypt Mining for Luxury goods Sinai Desert important Arabian Trade Route Military Expeditions – Punish Bedouins

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contact with
Contact With….
  • Sinai
  • Palestine
  • Nubia
  • Libya
  • Byblos
  • Punt
  • North East of Egypt
  • Mining for Luxury goods
  • Sinai Desert important Arabian Trade Route
  • Military Expeditions – Punish Bedouins
  • Wadi Maghara: Copper, Turquoise & Malachite mines
  • Cliff carvings of Pharaohs smiting locals

King of Upper and lower Egypt, Favourite of the two Goddesses, Lord of Truth; Golden Horus; Sneferu, Great God, who is given satisfaction, Stability, Life, Health, all Joy forever. Horus, Lord of Truth. SMITER OF BARBARIANS.


Sinai Inscription of Sneferu: 3rd Dynasty

  • The ‘Asiatics’
  • Have evidence of campaigns but unsure of reason
  • Possibility of Trade: Pottery found in OKE sites/Egyptian goods in Palestine.
  • Scenes of bound prisoners led away

Shows an Egyptian siege of a Palestinian fortified town. The Egyptians use a ladder to scale the walls and also dig into the base of the walls.

Shows the chaos and despair of the inhabitants


Relief from the tomb of Inti at Deshasha

  • Controlled by Egypt
  • Many rebellions
  • Trade: Gold, Building Stone
  • Trade way from Africa: Ebony, Ivory, ostrich feathers
  • Troops

The King leans on his staff, wearing a lion’s tail, and behind him is the god khnum and before him are the chiefs of NUBIA:

The coming of the king himself, standing behind the hill-country, while the chiefs of Mazoi, Irthet and Wawat did obeisance (paying homage) and gave great praise.


Inscription of King Merenere at the First Cataract:

6th Dynasty


Hacking up the land of the Negro.

Bringing up 7000 living prisoners and 200 000 large and small cattle…

Bringing up 40 ships filled with cedar wood…


Palermo Stone in the reign of Sneferu:

3rd Dynasty

  • Trouble for the Egyptians
  • Military expeditions sent to punish
  • Capturing Stock: Raiding

Show Sheshat, goddess of writing, recording the number of stock captured during a raid in Libya


Records of Sneferu

  • Important source of Cedar Wood; lacking in Egypt
  • Maritime Trade
  • Trade for commodities: Lapis Lazuli (deep blue gemstone), wine, oils

Royal Palace

GaeCallender: timbers holding up masonry in Bent Pyramid is from Byblos

Found at Byblos with King Unas & Djedkare’s names on them.

Temple to Egyptian goddess, Hathor has been excavated there



Inner structures of Pyramids

5th Dynasty Vases



Trade of exotic goods imported: Incense & Resins (used for mummifying)


Punt, 80 000 measures of myrrh, 6000…of electrum,2600….


Palermo Stone in the reign of Sahure:

5th Dynasty

modern historians
Modern Historians
  • Carl Roebuck - The world of Ancient Times
  • Gae Callender – Eye of Horus
  • I.E.S. Edwards
  • J. Malek – In the shadows of the Pyramids

Weni: 6th Dynasty

Begun career under

Teti I -custodian of the storehouse

Pepi I - Senior Warden of Nekhen (Judge: hearing cases in royal harem)

- Commander of army

Merenere - Count & Governor of Upper Egypt from Yebu in the South to Medenyt in the North (Collected revenue, levied labour…).

under pepy i

Sent to organise an army against Bedouins north of Sinai.

He returned 5 timed to quell rebellions.

Ventures north into Southern Palestine.

- no military experience but has gained the king’s trust -

Under Pepy I


His Majesty made war on the Asiatic Sand-dwellers and his majesty made an army of many ten thousands.

The army returned in safety after it had hacked up the land of the Sand-dwellers…after it had thrown fire in all its troops…and having carried away a great multitude as living captives.

under merenere

Made Governor of the South

Sent to dig a canal around the First cataract to enable ships to sail further south into Nubia

Under Merenere


His majesty sent me to dig 5 canals in the South and to make 3 cargo-boats and 4 tow-boats of acacia wood of Wawat. Then the negro chiefs of Irthet, Wawat, Yam, and Mazoi supplied timber for the boats and I did the whole in only one year.

usefulness of weni
Usefulness of Weni
  • Supplied information on military activities during 6th Dynasty.
  • Shows a development in Foreign Contact over the period of 3 kings
  • First insight into the workings of the army

Harkhuf: 6th Dynasty

Governor of the south under King Merenere & one of the most successful caravan merchants from Aswan.

Made 4 trips to the South: the last under Pepi II.

1 st journey

The majesty of Merenere, my lord, sent me, together with my father, the sole companion and ritual priest Iri, to Yam in order to explore a road to this country. I did it in only 7 months & I brought all kinds of gifts from it…

1st Journey
2 nd journey

My majesty sent me a second time alone; I went forth upon the Elephantine road and I visited Irthet, Mekher, Tereres, Irtheth, altogether taking 8 months. When I returned, I brought gifts from this country in very great quantity. ..Never before had any companion or caravan-leader who went forth to Yam before this, succeeded.

2nd Journey
3rd journey

His majesty sent me a 3rd time to Yam…I found the chief of Yam going to the land of Temeh to smite it…I went forth after him and pacified him…

I returned with 300 assess laden with incense, ebony, grain, panthers…ivory…now when the chief of Irthet…saw how strong and numerous was the troop of Yam…and the soldiers who had been sent with me, then this chief brought and gave to me bulls and small cattle…

3rd Journey
4th journey

Harkhuf wrote to the young king Pepy II to say he was returning with gifts & a dancing dwarf.

Kings reply is the only surviving royal letter from OKE (it is inscribed in the tomb of Harkhuf):

I have noted the content of your letter…you have brought a dancing dwarf…like the dwarf the treasurer of the god Burded brought from Punt in the time of Isesi…My majesty desires to see this dwarf more than the gifts of Sinai and of Punt.

4th Journey
question time
Question Time…

Provide arguments, based on evidence, to refute the statement: Old Kingdom Egypt was an isolated inward-looking society’.