Shell Pendant



Large mother-of-pearl shell (Meleagrina) cut down to an almost circular shape and pierced with two holes for threading onto a necklace. At the centre it is incised with the prenomen of Senwosret I (kheper-ka-ra) in a cartouche. The inscription has been incised and was likely once to have been inlaid with blue pigment like other examples. The shell is probably amuletic in character, and would have been worn as a pendant with a string of beads. It has been suggested by Winlock that these inscribed shells were the insignia of a small military organisation associated with the king. Found within chamber 1 of tomb 263 at Esna along with a group of Middle Kingdom stone, faience and shell beads now in Manchester Museum (nos. 4072 and 4073). CONDITION NOTE 1998: Chipped, some pitting, surface dirt.