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Rock face discoveries: Bonn Egyptologists decipher the oldest place name sign in the world

Rock face discoveries : Bonn Egyptologists decipher the oldest place name sign in the world

Egyptologists from the University of Bonn have deciphered what they claim to be the oldest place-name sign in the world. The inscription consists of four hieroglyphics and means "Domain of the Horus King Scorpio".

The scientists, together with staff from the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, succeeded in deciphering an inscription from the late fourth millennium BC from a rock face in a dried-up river east of Aswan, the university announced on Thursday. The inscription consists of four hieroglyphics and means "Domain of the Horus King Scorpio“.

"This ruler with the name 'Scorpio' was a prominent figure in the phase of the formation of the first territorial state in the world," said Egyptologist Ludwig D. Morenz of the University of Bonn. The ruler lived around 3070 BC. The title 'Domain of the Horus King Scorpio' refers to a place name. "This makes it the oldest known place-name sign in the world," said Morenz.

The political, social and economic conditions under which people lived more than five thousand years ago in the constituting Egypt are still unclear due to the scarcity of sources. "That is precisely why the rediscovery of the rock inscription is an enrichment," said the Egyptologist. The very early use of the cultural technique of writing in this remote place was unusual for the time. "For the first time, the process of internal colonisation in the Nile valley is becoming more concretely tangible with this inscription here," Morenz emphasised.

For several years now, the Bonn scientists have been working together with two employees of the Ministry of Antiquities from Egypt. The research team has already documented several rock paintings dating back to the Neolithic Age.

(Original text: (epd) / Translation: Mareike Graepel)