During the late Middle Kingdom (late Dynasty 12–13, ca. 1850–1640 B.C.), numerous scarabs were incised with inscriptions related to the sun god Ra. These scarabs are often quite small. The precise meaning of the inscriptions remains unclear however they were most likely to invoke a blessing, forming the name Ra and summoning the sun god’s protection.
Such scarabs continued to be manufactured during the Second Intermediate Period (ca. 1640–1550 B.C.), but show a variation of symbols to the reverse. We would thus date this scarab to the Second Intermediate Period as it does not follow the typical pattern of the Middle Kingdom Ra scarabs.
The ‘sw-plant’ hieroglyph inscribed, was used in reference to Upper Egypt.
To find out more about Ancient Egyptian amulets please see our relevant blog post: Egyptian Amulets and their Meanings.