This is part of the grave goods of a man called Hemaka, who was Seal Bearer of the King of Lower Egypt in the reign of Den. Den was the fifth king of the First Dynasty of Ancient Egypt and reigned for four decades around about 2950 BCE.

It’s not clear what purpose this disc had – there are others with different designs from this tomb, and they have definite holes in the centre. So they’re been suggested to be spinning discs (but still the function isn’t clear).

And you can see that this design would probably work quite well if it was spinning round: the dogs would seem to chase and catch their prey. It’s a very typical Egyptian scene and has connotations of the victory of order (domestic dogs) over chaos (desert gazelles).

Found at Saqqara in the tomb of Hemaka, now in the Cairo Museum (acc. no.: JE70164).

Disc from the Tomb of Hemaka. These have been suggested to be spinning disks but their function is unclear. From the Tomb of Hemaka, Saqqara. Early Dynastic Period, Dynasty 1, reign of Den, c. 2920-2770. Acc. No.: JE70164

See it on my photo site: and go left for photos of the other two discs.

I’ve written about Den’s mother on the blog before:

Jigsaw puzzles:

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