Ancient Egyptian place name sign discovered

THE oldest known place name sign, more than 5,000 years old, has been discovered carved in rock in the Sudan, in what was in the domain of Ancient Egypt.

Researchers from the University of Bonn (Germany), in collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, found that they had stumbled upon a place name after deciphering the hieroglyph of a rock found in a recent excavation in the bed of an ancient river in the Sudan.

The inscription consists of four hieroglyphs carved more than 5,000 years ago, and found to mean ‘Domain of the Horus King Scorpion’. The inscription was discovered more than two years ago in the area of Wadi Abu Subeira, east of Aswan in Egypt.

As explained by Egyptologist Ludwig D. Morenz of the University of Bonn, “this ruler called ‘Scorpion’ was a prominent figure in the phase of the birth of the first territorial state in the history of the world”. He explained that he “lived around 3070 BC”, although “his exact dates and the length of his reign are unknown.”

One of the hieroglyphics has a circular design that revealed that the stone was actually a sign with the name of a place. “This makes it the name of the oldest known place in the world,” says Morenz.

What makes this discovery even more valuable is that there is very little written information about the political, social, and economic conditions in which people lived more than 5,000 years ago.

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Jennifer Leighfield

Jennifer Leighfield, born in Salisbury, UK; resident in Malaga, Spain since 1989. Degree in Translation and Interpreting in Spanish, French and English from Malaga University (2005), specialising in Crime, Forensic Medicine and Genetics. Published translations include three books by Richard Handscombe. Worked with Euro Weekly News since November 2006. Well-travelled throughout Spain and the rest of the world, fan of Harry Potter and most things ‘geek’.