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Double Falcon

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Title: Double Falcon  
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Subject: Mekh, Pharaohs, Horus name, Nebiriau II, Sekhemre Shedwast
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Double Falcon

Double Falcon (also possibly Dju and Nebwy) was a Predynastic pharaoh of Lower Egypt belonging to Dynasty 0. He may have reigned during the 32nd century BCE. The length of his reign is unknown.


It was in 1910 that egyptologist M. J. Clédat discovered the first evidence for king Double Falcon. Clédat was excavating the site of el-Mehemdiah in the north-eastern delta when a peasant brought him a jar and some incised fragments that he had uncovered during the planting of a palm-grove in nearby el-Beda. Investigating the site, Clédat soon discovered four serekhs of king Double Falcon.[3][4]

The next attestation of Double Falcon was discovered in 1912 during excavations by Hermann Junker on the site of Tura, where a tomb yielded a complete jar bearing a serekh topped by two falcons.[5]

More recently, serekhs of king Double Falcon have been found in the Sinai,[6] in Tell Ibrahim Awad in the eastern delta,[7] in Adaima and Abydos in Upper Egypt,[8] and in the Palmahim quarry in southern Israel.[5][7]

The concentration of Double Falcon's serekhs in Lower Egypt and the north-western Sinai indicates that his rule may have been limited to these regions. Nonetheless, the wider geographic presence of his serekhs, notably in Upper Egypt and the Southern Levant, suggests that the long-distance authority of Dynasty 0 kings had already commenced towards the end of the Naqada III period, be it through trading or warfare.[5]


The serekh of Double Falcon is unique in its layout and composition. Firstly, it is the only serekh topped by two Horus falcons, facing each other. Secondly, the serekh does not have a name compartment, being filled by the vertical lines which usually represent the niched facade of a palace. The serekh also lacks the horizontal line that delimits the palace facade from the name of the ruler above. Finally, each falcon stands on its own peak. Egyptologists M. J. Cledat, Günter Dreyer and Edwin van den Brink suspect that a deeper symbolism explains these peculiarities. The two falcons could represent Lower Egypt and the Sinai, as it seems that Double Falcon reigned over both regions.[4] Dreyer believes that the falcons stand on a representation of the "mountain sign" N26 of Gardiner's sign list:
and reads the name as Dju (ḏw), so that the name of the king is represented by a pair of falcons on mountains above a plain serekh.[6] In contrast, van den Brink reads the name as Nebwy (nb.wy), "the two lords", and sees a similarity with a much earlier palette on display in the Barbier-Mueller Museum of Geneva.[9][10]


  1. ^ Photo of the original
  2. ^ Photo of the original
  3. ^ M. J. Cledat, Les vases de el-Beda, ASAE 13 (1914), pp. 115-121
  4. ^ a b Kaiser-Dreyer, in: Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Abteilung Kairo. (MDAIK) 38 (1982), Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Orient-Abteilung, p. 9.
  5. ^ a b c Raffaele, Francesco. 
  6. ^ a b Günter Dreyer, Ein Gefäss mit Ritzmarke des Narmer, in: MDAIK 55, (1999), pp. 1–6
  7. ^ a b E. C. M. van den Brink, Pottery-incised Serekh-Signs of Dynasties 0–1, Part II: Fragments and Additional Complete Vessels, in: Archéo-Nil 11, 2001
  8. ^ Eva-Maria Engel: Ein weiterer Beleg für den Doppelfalken auf einem Serech, Bulletin of the Egyptian Museum, 2 (2005), pp. 65-69.
  9. ^ Image of the palette
  10. ^ Edwin van den Brink: The Pottery-Incised Serekh-Signs of Dynasties 0-1. Part II: Fragments and Additional Complete Vessels, in: Archéo Nil 11, 2002, p. 114.
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