A team of archaeologists has found in Egypt what could be considered the first border marker in history. It is a rock with hieroglyphs whose inscription marks the “domain of King Horus Scorpion.”
A group of researchers from the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and the University of Bonn has found what could be considered as the first inscription in history that identifies a territorial domain.
It is a rock located in Wadi el Malik (near Aswan, in southern Egypt) with some hieroglyphs that Egyptologists have deciphered as: “Domain of King Horus Scorpion.”
The rock presents four hieroglyphs, one of which is the name of the Scorpion king and another indicates, according to the researchers, that the complete inscription is the name of the place itself, similar to a sign that indicates the limits of a municipality.
In this case it refers to a domain, that is, a geographical and economic entity under the direct control of a single sovereign. Dr. Ludwig D. Morenz affirms that “this is the oldest known place marking in the world”, since the reign of the Scorpion king is around 3070 BC.
It is not the first time that a similar inscription has been found, since these “domain names” have been found on cylinders, plates and stamps.
But the importance of the discovery lies in the fact that until now an inscription had not been found in the same place to which it refers, allowing it to be identified. Arguably, they have discovered the first known “border sign” in history.
The mystery of the Scorpion king
The Scorpion king was a ruler of the predynastic period or dynasty 0 of Egypt who according to some theories is considered the father of Narmer, the first pharaoh in history, and according to others an alternative name of Narmer himself.
Until then the Egyptian rulers had controlled territories of limited extension and it is with Scorpion king that a centralized power first emerges that has authority over a territory large enough to be called a country, although at first it was limited to the Nile Valley or Upper Egypt., not including the delta yet.
“For the first time, the internal colonization process of the Nile Valley is made visible through writing,” explains Dr. Morenz.
The Egyptologist points out that “the early use of writing in such a remote place is unusual” and that “the inscription opens a window to the emergence of the Egyptian state and its culture”, since it tangibly marks the limit of the territory controlled by a sole sovereign.
The area is still in an early stage of archaeological exploration and the team hopes to continue investigating it to gain a more precise understanding of the process of consolidation of pharaonic power.
Source: National Geographic