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

In: Journal of Egyptian History
Authors:
Bryan Kraemer University of Chicago bkraemer@uchicago.edu

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Kate Liszka California State University San Bernardino kliszka@csusb.edu

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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 This study edits the unpublished fragments and incorporates them into the larger discussion about the Semna Dispatches.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.

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