Ancient Egyptian Steatite Hyksos Period Scarab


An ancient Egyptian steatite scarab from the Second Intermediate Period, with incised hieroglyphs to the reverse. The obverse depicts a finely detailed head and clypeus. There are a multitude of incised hieroglyphs to the reverse: three nefer symbols (‘perfect’, ‘complete’), two red crowns of Egypt, Deshret, and the nebu sign, meaning ‘gold’. The signs are surrounded by a rope-like frame. The scarab has been pierced longitudinally for suspension.

Date: Circa 1650–1550 BC
Period: Second Intermediate Period
Provenance: From a Private Dorset collection, 1980s-1990s.
Condition: Fine condition with a very clear inscription on the reverse. There is a chip to the reverse under the head of the scarab and some discolouration on the obverse.


SKU: SK-139 Category: Tags: ,

The scarab beetle was an exceedingly popular symbol in the art of Ancient Egypt, thought to represent the sun god, Ra. The Ancient Egyptians believed that the scarab beetle rolling its ball of dung across the desert mirrored the journey of the sun across the sky from day to night. As the beetle laid its eggs within the dung, it became a symbol of rebirth and regeneration.

The term ‘Hyksos’ can be traced back to the Egyptian expression ‘heka khasewet’, which means, “rulers of foreign lands”. The Hyksos of the fifteenth Dynasty of Egypt, ruling during the Second Intermediate Period, were thus of non-Egyptian origin. They were probably Canaanite, and one tends to find the names of rulers on their scarabs. The Hyksos Kingdom was centred in the eastern Nile Delta and Middle Egypt. It was limited in size, never extending south into Upper Egypt, and it had Memphis as its capital. The Deshret crown of Lower Egypt frequently occurs on Hyksos scarabs to denote their conquered region.

To find out more about Ancient Egyptian amulets please see our relevant blog post: Egyptian Amulets and their Meanings.

Weight 2.71 g
Dimensions L 1.9 x W 1.4 x H 1 cm



Reference: For a scarab with a similar inscription, The British Museum, item E48230

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