Dating the end of the Egyptian Old Kingdom: new contextualized dates from the reign of king Pepy II

Anita Quiles*, Karin Sowada, Naguib Kanawati

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Downloads (Pure)


In this study, the temporal accession date of king Pepy II is modeled by using a series of 14C dates based on samples from the burial of Djau at Deir el-Gebrawi in Middle Egypt. Djau was one of Pepy II's officials - overseer of Upper Egypt and nomarch of the 8th and 12th provinces. Five samples of Djau's wrapping as well as his wooden coffin were analyzed. ATR-FTIR (Attenuated Total Reflection-Fourier Transform InfraRed spectroscopy) analyses were carried out on textile samples to ensure they were not contaminated by organic chemicals due to the embalming process, prior to being dated using the conventional radiocarbon method at the IFAO Laboratory (Cairo). Based on archaeological evidence, the temporal density associated with Djau's death is then used as a chronological marker for the death date of king Pepy II. Taking into account the possibility of either biennial, annual or irregular censuses to assess the duration of his reign, the accession date of Pepy II is thus modeled using OxCal software. The results place king Pepy II's accession date between 2492 to 2256 BCE with 95.4% probability, and between 2422 to 2297 BCE with 68.3%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1080-1097
Number of pages18
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023
Event6th Australasian Egyptology Conference - Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 9 Jun 202211 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2023. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Egyptian chronology
  • Old Kingdom
  • radiocarbon dating
  • 14C modeling
  • Egyptian mummy
  • king Pepy II


Dive into the research topics of 'Dating the end of the Egyptian Old Kingdom: new contextualized dates from the reign of king Pepy II'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this