This large pot (W83) was put on display on Monday in our upstairs gallery. It measures 40.5cm high and is burnished on the outside. We are not sure of its provenance. The excavation number ‘638/1958’ might suggest that this comes from Naqada, but we aren't certain. Would be glad to here if this type of number means anything to anyone. It was purchased by Wellcome from the Rustafjaell collection in 1907 but the sale catalogue isn't very helpful as to provenance.
Vessels like this usually date from the Predynastic to Early Old Kingdom and many were used to contain the remains of the deceased. Often pots were inverted over the bodies or bodies were placed inside them, perhaps the same goes for ours.
Pot burials have been found at el-Kab, el-Amrah, Reqaqna, Ballas, Naqada, Hierakonpolis and Abydos (Peet and Loat, 20-22, pl. 4 with further references) and Minshat Abu Omar (Kroeper 1994). An example with a burial is held by the Petrie Museum (UC14857). There is no evidence that pot burials correlated with any particular class of people.
Kroeper, K. 1994. ‘Minshat Abu Omar. Pot Burials Occurring in the Dynastic Cemetery’. Bulletin de Liaison du groupe International d’Étude de la Céramique Égyptienne, 18, 19-32.
Peet, T.E. and Loat, W.L.S. 1913. The Cemeteries of
. Part III. 1912-1913. Abydos London: Exploration Fund. Egypt
Petrie, W.M.F. 1895. Naqada and Ballas.
: Bernard Quaritch. London