By Brian Muhs

(The following is a collection of bibliographic references to past exploration and discovered artifacts for the site of El Hibeh.)


 I. Early Third Intermediate Period (Dynasty 21 = 1050-950 BC). 

Upper Egypt became autonomous under the High Priests of Amun, who built a fortress at el-Hibeh, perhaps to mark the northern end of their domain; and possibly other fortresses at Shurafa opposite Minya, at Higazeh near Qus, and at Gebelein.[1] 

A. The mudbrick wall around the southeastern part of the town contains mudbricks with stamps of the High Priest of Amun (HPA) Menkheperre, of Menkheperre and his wife Esemkhebit, and of the HPA Pinudjem and Esemkhebit.  These presumably date the construction. 

B. The Berlin papyri mention the HPA Menkheperre, so they should be contemporary with the construction of the wall.

— P. Berlin 8524-8595 (Burkhard & Fischer-Elfert, VOHD XIX.4, nos. 1-69).

— P. Berlin 8525 (VOHD XIX.4, no. 2 = Fischer-Elfert, JEA 82, p. 132-4) = one-half of an oracle petition.
— P. Berlin 8526 (VOHD XIX.4, no. 3 = Fischer-Elfert, JEA 82, p. 135-6) = one-half of an oracle petition. 

C. The Louvre papyri also mention the HPA Menkheperre, so they too should be contemporary with the construction of the wall.

— P. Louvre 25359 (de Cenival, Naissance de l'ecriture, 1982, p. 285-6, no. 241) = letter from the HPA Menkheperre to the priest and scribe of the temple, Horemakhbit, in the service of 'He-of-the-camp'.
— P. Louvre 25360 (unpublished, on display in the Louvre). 

D. The Strasbourg papyri mention the HPA Masaharta, so they date slightly later than the construction of the wall.

— P. Strasbourg 31 (ZÄS 53, p. 6-7 [¶1] & pl. 1).
— P. Strasbourg 33 (ZÄS 53, p. 7-8 [¶2] & pl. 2).
— P. Strasbourg 24 IV (ZÄS 53, p. 9 [¶3]).
— P. Strasbourg 26 (ZÄS 53, p. 9-10 [¶4] & pl. 3).
— P. Strasbourg 25 (ZÄS 53, p. 11-12 [¶5] & pl. 4).
— P. Strasbourg 21 (ZÄS 53, p. 13-14 [¶6] & pl. 5-6; Wente, Letters, p. 208) = one half of an oracle petition.
— P. Strasbourg 23 II (ZÄS 53, p. 15 [¶7]).
— P. Strasbourg 22 I (ZÄS 53, p. 15-16 [¶8]).
— P. Strasbourg 23 I (ZÄS 53, p. 16-17 [¶9]).
— P. Strasbourg 24 I (ZÄS 53, p. 17-18 [¶10]).
— P. Strasbourg 24 V (ZÄS 53, p. 18-19 [¶11]).
— P. Strasbourg 32 (ZÄS 53, p. 19-20 [¶12] & pl. 7).
— P. Strasbourg 39 (ZÄS 53, p. 20-21 [¶13] & pl. 1).
— P. Strasbourg 43 (ZÄS 53, p. 21-22 [¶14]).
— P. Strasbourg 51 (ZÄS 53, p. 22-23 [¶15]) = one half of an oracle petition.
— P. Strasbourg 22 II (ZÄS 53, p. 24 [¶16]). 

E. The Moscow papyri probably date to the early 21st Dynasty.

— P. Moscow 120 ('The Report of Wenamun').
— P. Moscow 127 (Caminos, A Tale of Woe, 1977).
— P. Moscow 169 ('Onomasticon Golenischeff').
— P. Moscow 5560 or 5660 (Posener, JEA 68, p. 134-8; Wente, Letters, p. 208-9) = one half of an oracle petition. 

II. Middle Third Intermediate Period (Dynasty 22 = 950-725 BC). 

Upper and Lower Egypt were reunited under Shoshenq I and Osorkon I, but then Upper Egypt once again became autonomous under the High Priests of Amun.  A civil war then broke out between the HPA Prince Osorkon based in el-Hibeh, and the usurper King Pedubast I based in Thebes.  Prince Osorkon was ultimately victorious, and established himself as King Osorkon III of the (Theban) Dynasty 23. 

A. The temple bears inscriptions of Shoshenq I and Osorkon I, so both it and the temenos around it in the southern part of the site should be slightly later than the town wall.

— M. Ahmed Kamal, 'Description générale des ruines de Hibé, de son temple
et de sa nécropole', ASAE 2 (1901), p. 84-91.
— G. Daressy, 'Le temple de Hibeh', ASAE 2 (1901), p. 153-56.
— F. Ranke, Koptische Friedhöfe bei Karâra under der Amontempel Scheschonks I bei El Hibe (Berlin-Leipzig, 1926).
— E. Feucht, 'Zwei Reliefs Scheschonqs I. Aus El Hibeh', Studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur 6 (1978), p. 69-77.
— *E. Feucht, 'Relief Scheschonqs I. Beim erschlagen der Feinde aus El Hibeh', Studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur 9 (1981), p. 106-117. 

B. Prince Osorkon (later Osorkon III) launched his attacks on his unnamed foe in Thebes from El-Hibeh, the northern bastion of the Theban domain.

— R. Caminos, The Chronicle of Prince Osorkon (AnOr 37, Rome, 1958), ß28. 

 III. Late Third Intermediate Period (Dynasty 25 = 725-664 BC). 

Upper and Lower Egypt were virtually united by the invading Kushite Dynasty 25, except for the Saite Dynasty 24 in the northwest Delta. 

 IV. Saite (664-525) and Persian (525-404) Periods, and Dyns. 28-30 (404-342 BC). 

The invading Kushite Dynasty 25 was driven out of Egypt by the Assyrians, and Upper and Lower Egypt were reunited under their clients, the Saite Dynasty 26 (possibly the successors to the Saite Dynasty 24).  The Saite Dynasty 26 was then conquered by the invading Persian Dynasty 27, who were then driven out by the revolting Egyptian Dynasties 28, 29 and 30.  At the end of Dynasty 30, Egypt was reconquered by the Persians, just before they were in turn conquered by the Greeks under Alexander the Great. 

A. The Manchester papyri.

— P. Rylands 1-9 (Griffith, Catalogue of the Demotic Papyri in the Rylands Library, nos. 1-9). 

B. The Philadelphia papyrus.

— P. Philadelphia E. 16339 (Cruz-Uribe, Serapis 7, p. 1-5) = letter to a choachyte, dated to Year 40 of Amasis (530 BC); the scribe may be mentioned in P. Rylands 9 (The Petition of Petiesis), col. 16, line 3. 

C. The Florence papyri.
— P. Firenze ar. Inv. n. 11913 (Bresciani, Aegyptus 39, p. 3-8). 

D. The pronaos of the temple may be a later addition, perhaps dating from the time of the Nectanebos.

— D. Arnold, The
Temples of the Last Pharaohs (Oxford, 1999), p. 33-35. 

 V. Ptolemaic Period (332-30 BC). 

A. A large number of Greek papyri from the early Ptolemaic period (3rd Century BC) have been found reused in human mummy cartonnage from the cemeteries of el-Hibeh.  The cartonnage papyri were first acquired off site by Grenfell & Hunt and Reinhardt in 1896 (published as P. Grenf. II 1-8, P. Baden gr. [VBP] VI 178-180, and P. Heidelberg II 181-2, 184, 186-8, 190, 193, 196, 199-200, 205), then on site by Grenfell & Hunt in 1902-03 (published as P. Hibeh I 1-171 and P. Hibeh II 172-284), and then again offsite through dealers by the Deutsches Papyruskartell between 1906-14, among others.  The latter are now to be found in the Strasbourg collection, the Gradenwitz collection (later sold to the Fuad I University in Cairo), Heidelberg, Hamburg, Berlin and other German collections.[2]  The papyri found in the cartonnage do not necessarily come orginally from el-Hibeh, however.  Internal evidence indicates that many of the texts came originally from official and private archives in villages (Koba, Phebichis, etc.) in the Koite toparchy in the southern part of the Herakleopolite nome, on the western bank of the Nile opposite Ankyronopolis or el-Hibeh.  Apparently the obsolete portions of these archives were sold to embalmers in el-Hibeh when they ceased to be useful, to be used to make cartonnage mummy cases.

— P. Grenf. II, 1-8 (Grenfell & Hunt, New Classical Fragments, 1897).
— P. Hibeh I, 1-171 (Grenfell & Hunt, The Hibeh Papyri, Part I, 1906).
— P. Baden gr. (VBP) VI, 178-180 (Gerhard, Veröffentlichungen aus den badischen Papyrus-Sammlung 6, 1938).
— P. Heidelberg II, 181-2, 184, 186-8, 190, 193, 196, 199-200, 205 (Siegmann, Literarische Griechische Texte der Heidelberger Papyrussamlung, 1956).
— P. Hibeh II, 172-284 (Turner, The Hibeh Papyri, Part II, 1955). 

B. A significant number of Demotic papyri were supposedly found alongside the Greek papyri from human mummy cartonnage found by Grenfell & Hunt in 1902-03.  Only one of these has been published, however, and it is now in Cairo, suggesting that Grenfell & Hunt may have donated many of the Demotic papyri to the Cairo Museum, as they did with the Tebtynis papyri a couple of years earlier.

— P. Hibeh I, 164 descripta / P. Cairo dem. III 50148 = Tax receipt on papyrus, dated to Year 19 of Ptolemy (III? = 229/8 BC).  (Demotic:) Psentesous the administrator of Kb3 (villag)e says to Petosiris son of Petechons the administrator of the district (khy) and Thotortaios son of Samtous the royal scribe: 'One has given to me 5 deben on account of the tax (tny) of Kb3'.  (Greek:) From Koba, through Psintesous, 100 drachmas for Petosiris and Thotortaios. 

VI. Roman Period (30 BC-298 AD). 

A. Two Roman mummy portraits were found outside the northern wall of the town by Grenfell & Hunt in 1902-03.

— Female portrait mummy Cairo Museum CG 33217 (M.C.C. Edgar, Graeco-Egyptian Coffins: Masks and Portraits (Catalogue général des antiquités égyptiennes du Musée du Caire; Cairo, IFAO, 1905)).
— Male portrait mummy Fitzwilliam Museum Inv. E. 63.1903 (E. Vassilika, Fitzwilliam Museum Handbooks: Egyptian Art (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1995). 

B. A small number of Greek papyri from the late Ptolemaic and Roman periods were found in house excavations by H. Ranke in 1913-14.

— P. Baden gr. (VBP) IV, 70 (Inv. Pap. Graec. Nr. 27).       Zahlungsbescheinigung, 1st Cent. BC.
— P. Baden gr. (VBP) IV, 71 (Inv. Pap. Graec. Nr. 21).
Private letter, 1st Cent. AD.
— P. Baden gr. (VBP) IV, 72 (Inv. Pap. Graec. Nr. 7).      
Aus Prozeßakten, after 117/8 AD (Year 2 Hadrian).
— P. Baden gr. (VBP) IV, 73 (Inv. Pap. Graec. Nr. 26).      
Private letter, 2nd Cent. AD.
— P. Baden gr. (VBP) IV, 74 (Inv. Pap. Graec. Nr. 5).      
Lieferungsauftrag, 23 July 138 AD (Year 22 Hadrian).
— P. Baden gr. (VBP) IV, 75a (Inv. Pap. Graec. Nr. 68).      
Census Declaration, 133 AD (Year 16 Hadrian).
— P. Baden gr. (VBP) IV, 75b  (Inv. Pap. Graec. Nr. 4).      
Census Declaration, 10 March 147 AD (Year 10 Antoninus Pius).
P. Baden gr. (VBP) IV, 76 (Inv. Pap. Graec. Nr. 18).       

20 February 163 AD (Year 3 Marcus Aurelius)
— P. Baden gr. (VBP) IV, 77 (Inv. Pap. Graec. Nr. 16).      
Besitzveräßerung, 2nd Cent. AD.
— P. Baden gr. (VBP) IV, 78 (Inv. Pap. Graec. Nr. 9).      
Schlußstück einer Urkunde, 2nd-3rd Cent. BC.
— P. Baden gr. (VBP) IV, 79 (Inv. Pap. Graec. Nr. 6).      
Gegenquittung über naulon, reign of Antoninus Pius?
— P. Baden gr. (VBP) IV, 80 (Inv. Pap. Graec. Nr. 17).      
Petition, 2nd Cent. AD.
P. Baden gr. (VBP) IV, 81 (Inv. Pap. Graec. Nr. 20)      
9 June, 20 July and
26 August 182 AD (Year 22 Commodus).
— P. Baden gr. (VBP) IV, 82 (Inv. Pap. Graec. Nr. 70).      
Receipt for the third for the bath-tax, 232/1 BC 237 BC.
— P. Baden gr. (VBP) IV, 83 (Inv. Pap. Graec. Nr. 23).      
Briefsammlung, c. 200 AD.
— P. Baden gr. (VBP) IV, 84 (Inv. Pap. Graec. Nr. 25).      
Grundstücksverzeichnis (mit Steuerträgnis) bzw. Getreide-abrechnungen, 2nd Cent. BC.
— P. Baden gr. (VBP) IV, 85a and b (Inv. Pap. Graec. Nr. 30a-c).      
a) Warentransport, 2nd Cent. AD.      
b) Land register, 2nd Cent. AD.
P. Baden gr. (VBP) IV, 86 (Inv. Pap. Graec. Nr. 39)      
14 October 99 AD (Year 3 Trajan).
— P. Baden gr. (VBP) IV, 87 (Inv. Pap. Graec. Nr. 69).      
Private letter, 3rd Cent. AD.
— ?P. Heidelberg III 242 (Inv. Gr. 91)     
Lieferschein, 2nd Cent. AD.
— ?P. Heidelberg III 244 (Inv. Gr. 52)      
Petition, 222-235 AD.
— P. Heidelberg IV 297 (Inv. G 689)      
Petition to the Epistrategos, c.172-175 AD; same archive as P. Heidl. IV 321 & 322.
— P. Heidelberg IV 320 (Inv. G 654 + 1984)      
Receipt for Work on the Dikes, 3 July 138 AD.
— P. Heidelberg IV 321 (Inv. G 618 = P. Baden gr. [VBP] IV 76 [Inv. Pap. Graec. Nr. 18])      
Receipt for income, 18 November 162 and 20 February 163 AD (Year 3 Marcus Aurelius); same archive as P. Heidl. IV 297 & 322.
— P. Heidelberg IV 322 (Inv. G 620 = P. Baden gr. [VBP] IV 81 [Inv. Pap. Graec. Nr. 20])      
Receipt for income, 9 June, 20 July and 26 August 182 AD (Year 22 Commodus); same archive as P. Heidl. IV 297 & 321.
— P. Heidelberg IV 326 (Inv. G 687)      
Work or Apprenticeship Contract, 98 AD (Year 2 Trajan); same archive as P. Heidl. IV 327.
— P. Heidelberg IV 327 (Inv. G 639 = P. Baden gr. [VBP] IV 86 [Inv. Pap. Graec. Nr. 39])     
Apprencticeship Contract, 14 October 99 AD (Year 3 Trajan); same archive as P. Heidl. IV 326. 

C. 277 Roman coins were found in 1913-14 by H. Ranke in 15 'find groups' (Münzfunde).  9 find groups with a total of 26 coins were illegible.  Find Group I consisted of two sacks containing 237 coins (12xClaudius, 133xNero, 11xGalba, 14xVespasian, 2xTitus, 1xNerva, 6xTrajan, 49xHadrian, 1xAelius, 8xAntoninus Pius).  Find Group II consisted of 1 coin (1xTrajan), Find Group III consisted of 8 coins (2xClaudius, 6xVespasian), Find Group IV consisted of 2 coins (1xHadrian), Find Group V consisted of 2 coins (1xPhilippus I, 1xSeverus Alexander), and Find Group VI consisted of 1 coin (1x Licinus).

— W. Graf von Uxkull-Gylleband, "Münzen aus el Hibe", in F. Ranke, Koptische Friedhöfe bei Karâra under der Amontempel Scheschonks I bei El Hibe (Berlin-Leipzig, 1926), p. 53-57. 

D. 279 predominantly Roman coins were found in 1934-35 by Paribeni in an unknown number of 'find groups' (though there were at least two hoards, one of which consisted of coins of Nero and the Flavians): (3xPtolemy III, 1xBerenike II (w. of PIV), 1xPtolemy V, 4 xPtolemy IX, 7xClaudius, 184xNero, 7xGalba, 2xOtho, 11xVespasian, 2xTitus, 1xHadrian, 1xAntinoos, 1xAntoninus Pius, 9xProbus, 1xNumerianus, 1xGallienus, 1xMaximinus, 18xLicinius Sr., 6xLicinius Jr., 12xConstantine I, 3xConstantine Jr., 1xConstantius I, 1xConstantius II, 1 unreadable).

— G. Botti, 'Le monete Alessandrine da El Hibeh
del Museo Archeologico di Firenze', Aegyptus 35 (1955), p. 245-74. 

 VII.  Byzantine Period (298-642 AD). 

— *C. Nauerth, Karara und El-Hibe: Die Spätantiken Koptischen Funde aus den Badischen Grabungen 1913-14 (Heidelberg, Heidelberger Orientverlag, 1996).


[1] Kitchen, TIP, p. 269 (§226). 

[2] See Maria Rosaria Falivene, The Herakleopolite Nome, A Catalogue of the Toponyms with Introduction and Commentary (American Studies in Papyrology 37; Atlanta GA: Scholars Press, 1998), p. 14-15. 

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