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Kim Ryholt

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Title: Kim Ryholt  
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Subject: Sixteenth Dynasty of Egypt, Nerikare, Sekheperenre, Sobekemsaf I, Hyksos
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Kim Ryholt

Kim Steven Bardrum Ryholt (born 1970) is a professor of Egyptology at the University of Copenhagen and a specialist on Egyptian history and literature. He is director of the research center Canon and Identity Formation in the Earliest Literate Societies under the University of Copenhagen Programme of Excellence (since 2008) and Curator of the Papyrus Carlsberg Collection and director of the associated publication (since 1999).[1]


One of his most significant publications is a 1997 book titled The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period c. 1800-1550 B.C.[2] Aidan Dodson, a prominent English Egyptologist, calls Ryholt's book "fundamental" for an understanding of the Second Intermediate Period[3] because it reviews the political history of this period and contains an updated—and more accurate—reconstruction of the Turin Canon since the 1959 publication of Alan Gardiner's Royal Canon of Egypt. It also contains an extensive catalogue of all the known monuments, inscriptions and seals for the kings of this period.

Ryholt's study makes note of numerous recent archaeological finds including the discovery of a new Hyksos king named Sakir-Har, the find of a doorjamb at Gebel Antef in the mid-1990s which establishes that Sekhemre Shedtawy Sobekemsaf (Sobekemsaf II here) was the father of the 17th Dynasty Theban kings Antef VI and Antef VII. He also discusses Ahmose's Unwetterstele document.

The book also argues strongly that the Sixteenth dynasty of Egypt was made up of poorly attested Theban kings such as Nebiriau I, Nebiriau II, Seuserenre Bebiankh and Sekhemre Shedwast who are documented in the last surviving page of the Turin Canon rather than minor Hyksos vassal kings in Lower Egypt, as is generally believed.

Among the most significant discussions is Ryholt's evidence that Sekhemre Khutawy Sobekhotep rather than Ugaf was the first king of Egypt's 13th Dynasty,[4] and a discussion of the foreign origins of the Semitic 13th Dynasty king named Khendjer—whose reign lasted a minimum of 4 years and 3 months based on dated workmen's control notes found on stone blocks from his pyramid complex.[5]

The most controversial conclusion concerns the identity and dating of 14th Dynasty. Ryholt - like Manfred Bietak - argues that it was a forerunner of the 15th Dynasty, but differs in regarding it as contemporary with the 13th Dynasty from the latter's founding around 1800 BC until its collapse in c. 1650/1648 BC. This is contested in review of the book by Daphna Ben Tor and James/Susan Allen.[6] Ryholt's proposal that king Sheshi, 'Ammu Ahotepre and Yakbim Sekhaenre were also rulers of the 14th Dynasty is contradicted by Ben Tor's study of the known strata levels of their seals which, in her view, indicate that they date to the second half of the Hyksos 15th Dynasty and are not contemporary with the 13th dynasty. Sheshi, Yakbim and A'amu are more likely to be Hyksos vassal kings in the Delta. Therefore, not all of Ryholt's conclusions have been accepted by Egyptologists. Ryholt has since suggested that Sheshi, one of the best attested kings of the 14th Dynasty, was contemporary with the early 13th Dynasty on the basis of an archaeological deposit at Uronarti where a seal-impression of this king was found together with impressions of two early 13th dynasty Egyptian kings.[7] However, Ben Tor has posited that the context of Maaibre Sheshi seal is not secure and that it was most likely a New Kingdom seal impression.[8] According to Ben Tor, Reiser reported that two additional seal fragments among the Uronarti sealings, most probably display Eighteenth Dynasty designs."[9] This would corroborate the occurrence of 18th dynasty intrusions among the bulk of late Middle Kingdom seals at this site.[10] The likelihood of New Kingdom intrusions into the Uronarti context "was confirmed by Yvonne Markowitz," and also "acknowledged by Reisner" notes Ben Tor.[11] Therefore, the Uronarti context is not secure since it bears scarab seals bearing New Kingdom dynasty type which means that the Sheshi seals found there should not be used to date this Asiatic king to the early 13th dynasty. Ben Tor stresses that the use of Second Intermediate Period scarabs for sealing in the Eighteenth Dynasty is attested at Tell el-Dab'a, where a significant number of such examples were recently found in archaeological contexts dating from the reign of Thutmose III.[12]

Ryholt is also the author of books and articles about Demotic papyri and literature.

Turin Canon

Ryholt is regarded as one of the best scholars on the study of the Turin Canon, having examined the document in person twice; he has published new and better interpretations of this damaged papyrus document in his aforementioned 1997 book and in a ZAS paper titled "The Late Old Kingdom in the Turin King-list and the Identity of Nitocris",[13] and has published a detailed discussion of the nature of the document.[14] Ryholt reportedly intends to publish his study of the Turin Kinglist in the near future.


  • The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, c. 1800-1550 B.C. (= The Carsten Niebuhr Institute Publications. Vol. 20, ISSN 0902-5499). The Carsten Niebuhr Institute of Near Eastern studies, Kopenhagen 1997, ISBN 87-7289-421-0.
  • The Story of Petese son of Petetnum, and Seventy Other Good and Bad Stories (1999)
  • The Petese Stories II (2006)
  • Narratives from the Tebtunis Temple Library


  1. ^
  2. ^ Museum Tuscalanum Press (ISBN 87-7289-421-0).
  3. ^ Bi Or LVII, January–April 2000, p. 48. This is a review of Ryholt's 463-page book.
  4. ^ see Appendix A of his book.
  5. ^ Ryholt: p. 193.
  6. ^ Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 315, 1999, pp. 47-73.
  7. ^ Ryholt, Kim. "The Date of Kings Sheshi and Yaqubhar and the Rise of the Fourteenth Dynasty." The Second Intermediate Period: Current Research, Future Prospects (edited by M. Maree), 2010, OLA 192, pp. 109-126.
  8. ^ Daphna Ben Tor, The Second Intermediate Period (Thirteenth-Seventeenth Dynasties) Current Research, Future Prospects, (ed: Marcel Maree) 2010, OLA 192, pp. 95. online PDF
  9. ^ GA Reisner, 1955. 'Clay Sealings of Dynasty XIII from Uronarti Fort, Kush 3, 26-69.
  10. ^ Ben Tor, 2010, p. 95.
  11. ^ Ben Tor, 2010, p. 95.
  12. ^ M. Bietak, Seal Impressions from the Middle till the New Kingdom--A Problem for Chronological research. in M. Bietak and E. Czerny (eds). Scarabs of the Second Milenium BC from Egypt, Nubia, Crete and the Levant: Chronological and Historical Implications. Papers of a Symposium, Vienna, 10th-13th January 2002. Contributions to the Chronology of the Eastern Mediterranean 8. DÖAW 35. Vienna: Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, pp. 43-55.
  13. ^ Ryholt, Kim. "The Late Old Kingdom in the Turin King-list and the Identity of Nitocris." Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde 127, 2000, pp. 87–100.
  14. ^ Ryholt, Kim. "The Turin King-List." Ägypten und Levante 14, 2004, pp. 135-155.

External links

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  • List of publications at
  • PDF copies of publications at
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