FRAGMENT OF THE RAMESSIDE STELA FROM TELL EL-RETABA
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The fragment of a cream white limestone stela was found by accident at Tell el-Retaba during the season 2014. Its preserved shape is 22.5 cm x 25 cm. The frontal side of the stela is bordered by a rounded line framing the area decorated in sunken relief. The decoration features an almost completely preserved sun disc with the protruding head of a uraeus oriented rightwards, apparently the crown of a deity. An inscription identifies the figure as the god Re-Harakhty. Opposite the crown, there are remains of a cartouche whose right half is lost; the signs wsr, stp and n makes it obvious that the name of a Ramesside ruler was written in the cartouche. The stela JE 72307, kept in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, provides important parallels for interpretation of the Tell el-Retabaʼs fragment. The decoration and the workmanship show crucial similarities. It may be assumed that the stela from Tell el-Retaba also bore the representation of Ramesses II offering flowers to Re-Harakhty. Both stelae clearly belong to the corpus of so-called ‘Horbeit stelae’, which were probably exhibited in houses. Probably they were most made at Qantir/Piramesse. It can only be assumed that the transfer to Tell el-Retaba took place in the Third Intermediate Period. A fragment of another ‘Horbeit stela’ was found at Tell el-Retaba in 1978 by Hans Goedickeʼs mission.
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