Thanks to the unfailing diligence of the curator of the papyrus collection in the Museo Egizio, Susanne Töpfer, and her team of collaborators, the almost Herculean work of creating an online database of the dozens of hieratic papyri and the thousands of fragments has made considerable progress.1 The subsequent work of transcription and searching for joins and/or fragments belonging to the same original document is meanwhile in full swing.

Publications of several documents have already seen the light, and more are in various stages of preparation. Many fragments will hopefully end up in publications of complete documents, but on account of their text passages with historically relevant information the versos of two fragments deserve preliminary advance publication.

CP29/035 = Cat.2105/360 verso

The recto of this fragment (Fig. 1) bears six incomplete lines of a list of commodities, most likely dating to the mid-20th Dynasty. The passage I am concerned with here is on the verso (Fig. 2).

CP29/035 = Cat. 2105/360, recto. Scan by Museo Egizio.

CP29/035 = Cat. 2105/360, verso. Scan by Museo Egizio.




(x+1) n pA sS 2 n mr[y.t …]

(x+2) Smsw Wsr-HA.t-ms, Smsw […]

(x+3) hrw pn di.t tA wDA.t […]

(x+4) rnp.t-sp 4, Abd III […]

(x+5) iw smHy m-Dr.t […]

(x+6) rnp.t-sp 1, Abd IV Ax.t […]


(x+1) of the two scribes of the river-[bank …]

(x+2) retainer Userhatmose, retainer […]

(x+3) This day: giving the remainder […]

(x+4) Regnal Year 4 Month III […]

(x+5) Entered (for) the left side from […]

(x+6) Regnal Year 1 Month IV of Ax.t […]


  • (1) The two scribes are most likely members of the team of four rwDw-agents of the riverbank mentioned in O. Ashmolean Museum HO 53, rt. 3 (Černý-Gardiner, Hieratic Ostraca, 1957, pl. XLIX, 1).
  • (2) A retainer Userhatmose is not known from other sources.

The importance of the text on this fragment lies in lines 4 and 6. The few incomplete lines doubtlessly present fragmentary journal notes,2 in view of the paleography dating to the second half of the 20th Dynasty. The dates in lines 4 and 6 indicate a change in a monarch’s reign between a Regnal Year 4 Month III of Ax.t and a Regnal Year 1 Month IV of Ax.t. The only king in the second half of the 20th Dynasty who reigned for a brief period was Ramesses X. So far, this king was thought to have reigned for 3 years, based on the evidence of the so-called “Giornale” of Year 3. The last date mentioned in this journal text is Year 3 Month II of Ax.t, Day 2 (recto 7, 27), or Month IV of Ax.t, Day 24.3 Based on the text of the fragment under discussion, his reign continued after Year 3 Month II of Ax.t for more than a year, until sometime between Month III and Month IV of Ax.t of Year 4. The accession date of Ramesses X fell on I pr.t 27. Consequently, his reign lasted almost 10 months into his fourth regnal year. The last date of the reign of Ramesses X coincides with the accession date of his successor Ramesses XI and therefore lies in the same period between Month III Ax.t and Month IV Ax.t. This then contradicts the proposed date of the latter king’s accession, namely III Smw Day 20.4 This date has been accepted by most authors until recently.5 Yet, the sources to support this suggested date can hardly be called decisive. The two key documents quoted are P. Turin Cat. 1888 + Cat. 2095 and P. Ashmolean Museum 1945.96, the Adoption Papyrus. The first is a journal text from the reign of Ramesses XI containing a series of dates spread over several months, with only one full date: Year 18 IV Smw Day 14 or 24.6 Considering this as certain indication of a recent year change is speculation and beyond proof. The 66second document is the famous Adoption Papyrus, P. Ashmolean Museum 1945.96. In the words of its first editor, Alan Gardiner, the opening lines of this document record, on III Smw Day 20, a visit by Ramesses XI to the Temple of Karnak to announce his accession to the god Amun, followed by an offering to this deity.7 The text clearly only speaks of informing the god Amun of the accession of the king – sr.t xa n nTr pn Sps n Imn.8 Contrary to the opinion of the scholars who first posited III Smw Day 20 as the coronation date, the accession of the king did not take place on that day at Karnak. This ceremony certainly had already taken place earlier either in the Delta residence or at Memphis, and as usual the king later had to pay visits to other state gods to inform them of his accession. A third source supporting an accession date on III Smw 20 was allegedly found in P. Turin Cat. 2097/297 + Cat. 2105/376, verso.9 This small fragment of a journal text most probably from the reign of Ramesses X or Ramesses XI only contains a few dates in the Smw season of a Year 2. There is no indication of a change in regnal year at all, and this also holds for a similar unpublished journal text on P. Turin CP21/004 containing dates in the same Year 2.

CP37/092 verso

The recto of this fragment (Fig. 3) bears six incomplete lines of a journal text dating to the second half of the 20th Dynasty. Again, the text we are concerned with here is on the verso (Fig. 4).

CP37/092, recto. Scan by Museo Egizio.

CP37/092, verso. Scan by Museo Egizio.



(x+1) [rnp.]t-sp 15 [Abd I Ax.t] sw 10 (+x…)]

(x+2) TAy n ra-wnm […]

(x+3) DAi r Imnt.t i[n …]

(x+4) rnp.t-sp 15, Abd I Ax.t sw 18 […]

(x+5) […] nswt 1r-m-Hb […]

(x+6) […] di.t diw […]



(x+1) [Reg]nal Year 15, [Month I of Ax.t], Day 10 [+ x …]

(x+2) food basket […]

(x+3) crossing to the West by […]

(x+4) Regnal Year 15, Month I of Ax.t, Day 18 […]

(x+5) […] King Horemheb […]

(x+6) […] distributing grain rations […]


This fragment bears six incomplete lines of a journal text from Regnal Year 15 of Ramesses IX. The incomplete state of the fragment slightly hampers a definite reconstruction of the event recorded in lines 4 and 5, but parallel records in other journal texts may help to offer a solution. Notably, during the 20th Dynasty the anniversaries of both the accession to the throne and the date of death of several deified or venerated monarchs were observed in the community of Deir el-Medina.10 Among these first and foremost are the founder patrons of the village, Amenhotep I and his mother Ahmose-Nefertari, followed by Sethi I, Ramesses II and Ramesses III.11 In the journal texts these events are usually noted in similar terms: xa – “accession of king NN”, or Xnw n – “sailing of king NN”, sometimes preceded by a standard formula like wsf n tA is.t – “the gang was idle”, or bAkw – “working”. A few examples will illustrate this style of recording such events.

The accession of Ramesses II:

P. Turin Cat.1898 + Cat.1937 + Cat.2094/244, rt. 5,15: III Smw 27 wsf tA is.t xa n nswt Wsr-mAa.t-Ra-4tp-n-[…].12

P. Turin CP21/004 (unpub.), rt. 3: III Smw 27 bAkw xa n nswt […].

The accession of Ramesses III:

O. DeM 55, vs. 1-2: I Smw 26 ir.t xa nsw.t n pr-aA .13

P. Turin Cat.1898 + Cat.1937 + Cat.2094/244, rt. 2,26: I Smw 26 xa nswt Wsr-mAa.t-Ra-4stp-n-[…].14

The death of Sethi I:

O. Ashmolean Museum HO 11, vs. 7: III Smw 24 m pA Xnw 4tXy.15

O. Cairo 25503, vs. 4: [III Smw 24 aHa.n tA] is.t m wsf n pA Xnw 4t[Xy].16

The death of Ramesses II:

P. Turin Provv.8538, rt. I, 5: II Ax.t 6 wsf xnw Wsr-mAa.t-Ra-4tp-n-Ra.17

One event recorded in a journal text but not yet noticed in this respect is: P. Turin Cat. 1898 + Cat. 1937 + Cat. 2094/244, rt. 5,10: III Smw 22 DA 1r-m-Hb.18 The spelling of the word DA with the determinative D1 looks suspicious. This D1 is most likely a mistake for P1, the determinative of the verb DAi, “to cross”. “Crossing” may well be an earlier version for the term Xnw – “sailing” later used to indicate the date of death of a monarch. If so, we would have here a dated note observing the day of death of king Horemheb on III Smw 22. This finding allows for a possible reconstruction of the dated note in lines 4-5 of the journal fragment under discussion as: “Regnal Year 15, I Ax.t 18. Observing the accession day of King Horemheb”.


Antoine, J.-C., “Ramsès XI, le premier prophète d’Amon et l’ascension de Piankh à Thèbes pendant l’Aire de la Renaissance”, JEH 12 (2019), pp. 1–35.

Barwik, M., The Twilight of Ramesside Egypt: Studies on the History of Egypt at the End of the Ramesside Period, Warszawa 2011.

Beckerath, J. von, Chronologie des pharaonischen Ägypten: die Zeitbestimmung der ägyptischen Geschichte von der Vorzeit bis 332 v. Chr. (Münchner Ägyptologische Studien 46), Mainz 1997.

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Černý, J., Catalogue des ostraca hiératiques non littéraires de Deir el Médineh. [Tome I] (nos 1 à 113) (DFIFAO 3), Le Caire 1935.

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Gardiner, A.H., Ramesside Administrative Documents, Oxford 1948.

Jauhiainen, H., “Do Not Celebrate Your Feast Without Your Neighbours”: A Study of References to Feasts and Festivals in Non-Literary Documents from Ramesside Period Deir el-Medina, Helsinki 2009.

McDowell, A., “Awareness of the Past in Deir el-Medîna”, in: R.J. Demarée and A. Egberts (eds.), Village Voices: Proceedings of the Symposium ‘Texts from Deir el-Medîna and Their Interpretation, Leiden May 31 – June 1, 1991, Leiden 1992, pp. 95–109.

Moezel, K. van der, Administrative Hieratic from Dynasties 19 and 20. Case Studies on Selected Groups of Ostraca with Necropolis Administration (Hieratic Studies Online 4), Mainz 2022,

Ohlhafer, K., “Zum Thronbesteigungsdatum Ramses’ XI. und zur Abfolge der Grabräuberpapyri aus Jahr 1 und 2 wHm-mswt”, GM 135 (1993), pp. 59–72.

Töpfer, S., “The Turin Papyrus Online Platform (TPOP): An Introduction”, RiME 2 (2018).