Conference Paper "The mummy of Djau and the chronology of the late Old Kingdom"

Activity: Talk or presentationPresentation


Defining the Old Kingdom absolute chronology is still a work in progress.
Radiocarbon dating projects have largely focussed on the early periods, with considerable progress when synchronised with Levantine chronologies.
Modelling a framework of absolute dates for the Old Kingdom using Bayesian
statistics is underway at the Institut français d’archéologie orientale (Cairo) in
a project led by Dr Anita Quiles (ANR Programme MERYT). Datasets include
material contributed by missions at Saqqara and Wadi el-Jarf, focussing on well-contexted samples linked to known historical anchors.

In 2019, permission was granted by the Ministry of Antiquities to take five
samples of linen textile from the mummy and a wood sample from the coffin
of the 6th Dynasty offi cial Djau, located at Deir el-Gebrawi. Djau was overseer
of Upper Egypt and nomarch of the 8th and 12th provinces under Pepy II. His
tomb was re-excavated by Macquarie University in 2006 and his burial chamber
discovered for the first time. Examination of the body determined his age as
between 50–65, with a mean of 55-60 years old. When Djau died under Pepy II
is unknown; a date late in the reign is postulated.

With Ministry permission, the samples were radiocarbon dated at the IFAO
radiocarbon laboratory during 2021. The calibrated results indicated a date for
Djau’s death in the 23rd century BC, no later than c. 2200 BC. This result helps
confirm placement of the reign of Pepy II during this period and underscores a
date for the end of the 6th Dynasty at c. 2200 BC.
Period10 Jun 2022
Event title6th Australasian Egyptology Conference
Event typeConference
LocationSydney, AustraliaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational