In the archives of the Griffith Institute, there is a lot of correspondence between various Egyptologists.
Among their collection, there is this 1928 letter, written by Howard Carter to Percy Newberry, in which he asks Newberry to “render” two lines of hieroglyphs for him.
As it appears, at the time, Carter was still working on some sort of cataloguing and/or description of the finds inside the tomb of Tutankhamun.
This unique object is an effigy of Tutankhamun lying upon a funeral bier protected by the outspread wings of a ba-bird and Sokar-falcon. The text on the bier states that this object was dedicated by Maya, Overseer of the treasury.
It is thought that Maya may have placed this object in Tutankhamun’s tomb after it had been broken into by robbers. An inscription found in the tomb of Tuthmosis IV (KV 43) states that Maya, Overseer of the treasury, restored (resealed) that King’s tomb, suggesting the same Maya resealed Tutankhamun’s tomb as well, placing this effigy in the tomb as evidence of this.
Tutankhamun excavation number 331a (http://www.griffith.ox.ac.uk/gri/carter/331a.html). The effigy is now at the Cairo Museum, JE 60720 (SR 1-2744-2745).
Sept. 12. 1928
My dear Newberry,
Would you be so kind as to give me a correct rendering of the following:
Which seems to be of the same man as restored the tomb of Thothmes IV.
- The transliteration of the hieroglyphs is:
- The translation of the hieroglyphs is:
“The beneficial servant made (it) for his Majesty, one who searches well and finds excellently, who does things in an effective way for his lord, who does useful things in the Place of the Glorified Spirit (i.e. the tomb), the overseer of the building-works in the place of eternity, the royal scribe, the overseer of the treasury, Maya.”
- Reproduced with permission of the Griffith Institute, University of Oxford.
For scans and reproduction rights for the original document, email firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Thanks to Lee Young for transcribing the letter for me;
- Thanks to Huub Pragt for explaining and translating the hieroglyphs;
- Thanks to Sandro Vannini, for letting us use the photo he took of the object;
- Thanks to Dr. Mohamed Gamal Rashed GENEIDY, Curator at The Egyptian Museum of Cairo, for the accession number.
© t3.wy Foundation for Historical Research in Egyptology