Evidence for Administration of the Nubian Fortresses in the Late Middle Kingdom: The Semna Dispatches

In: Journal of Egyptian History
Bryan Kraemer University of Chicago

Search for other papers by Bryan Kraemer in
Current site
Google Scholar
Kate Liszka California State University San Bernardino

Search for other papers by Kate Liszka in
Current site
Google Scholar
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):


Evidence for the system of written communications used in Egypt’s administration of its forts is sparse. Of the papyri that exist, the “Semna Dispatches” has provided most of the information available about this system as it existed in Lower Nubia during the late Middle Kingdom. In 1945, Paul Smither posthumously published P. Ramesseum C (bm ea 10752) as “The Semnah Despatches.” Smither was unaware of two fragments, framed with P. Ramesseum 19 (bm ea 10772.2). This study edits the unpublished fragments and incorporates them into the larger discussion about the Semna Dispatches. They provide clarity for the document as a whole. They show that the dispatches were, primarily, used to coordinate surveillance around the Semna Gorge and, secondarily, to record security concerns for other fortresses. Furthermore, they were written in a surveillance office at Semna West and not in Thebes. This study resolves several debates about the dispatches and the control of Lower Nubia in the late Middle Kingdom.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 1416 220 12
Full Text Views 567 40 1
PDF Views & Downloads 477 71 5