PT534 – Spell of protection for the king’s tomb

As promised, here is the Old Kingdom text that confirms the existence of encircling protective symbolism directly linked to the pyramids themselves. This is from the Pyramid Texts inscribed on the walls of the 6th Dynasty pyramid of Pepi I.

PT 534 – The encircling part of this spell or prayer of protection refers to the ideology of eternal encircling protection, represented by the ‘shen’, for the pharaoh. The shen is usually depicted as being carried by Horus. This text describes the same encircling symbolism as was identified in the pyramid architecture by Petrie. Also re-iterated by Edwards and Verner and others.


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Welcome to my archaeology website.

Hi! and Welcome to my webpage.

This new site presents a summary of my research into Ancient Egyptian symbolism, and in particular, the motif of the shen ring. If you click on the link on the top right it will take you to the page that explains the current status of my research into this symbol, and the implications of this for my forthcoming presentation at the CREXIII conference in Birmingham. (Check out the gorgeous CREXIII website here ūüôā¬†¬†)

The information I will make available on Wednesday morning has not been known to the public for over 2000 years. It is only by properly understanding the textual, archaeological and iconographic details that the underlying meanings can be understood, and the evidence correctly interpreted.

Symbols are visual motifs that carry associated meanings in the mind of the artist and the observer. These meanings can be complex, can vary through time, can be manipulated and even combined with other meanings through the combinations of different symbols.

Ancient symbols can be difficult to interpret if we are not familiar with them, but when we are, they can reveal valuable information about what the people in the past were thinking,

These pages are dedicated to the circular protective symbolism used in Old Kingdom Egypt, which was represented by the shen ring.

On the 28th of March this spring at the Current Researches in Egyptology conference at the University of Birmingham I will present the latest and surprising information relating to the shen ring and the meanings it carried in Ancient Egyptian artwork and iconography.

As a direct result of contacts I made at the previous conference in 2011 I have been able to identify a text from the Old Kingdom that conclusively confirms that the Egyptians did use this symbolism, and that it was intimately associated with their architecture. In this text they even detail exactly what it meant within the context of the Old Kingdom pyramids.

Watch this space for updates in the run-up to the CREXIII conference!

David Ian Lightbody

University of Glasgow

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