Manufacturing methods

Almost all the cones have been crafted by hand. However, in some very rare cases, such as Davies & Macadam # 138, # 139 and # 215, it appears as if they were made on a wheel. This deduction is based on the fact that their bodies are hollow and their bottom surfaces retain the concentric traces of the wheel (See below: EA 9720 & EA 9730). Moreover, these hollow cones may have contained sand or liquid, such as water or alcohol, suggesting that they may have had uses other than to be set on the outer walls or courts of the tombs. I believe that these objects initially played an important role in the funeral ceremonies as containers of sand, liquid, or gelatinous material, and were subsequently converted into cones.

It is worth noting that Amelia B. Edwards, a writer and an archaeologist, vividly depicted cones in her book, 'A Thousand Miles up the Nile'. She refers to them in the following manner on her arrival at Abu-Simbel:

By shoring up the ground, however, they were enabled completely to clear the landing, which was curiously paved with cones of rude pottery like the bottoms of amphorae. These cones, of which we took out some twenty-eight or thirty, were not in the least like the celebrated funereal cones found so abundantly at Thebes. They bore no stamps, and were much shorter and more lumpy in shape.
(Edwards 1891: 335; Underline added.)

Although Edwards rejected the objects that had 'no stamps and were much shorter and more lumpy in shape', stating that they were in no way like the funerary cones known to have existed in Thebes, it is interesting to note that they were like the bottoms of amphorae. This implies that concentric lines were present, similar to Davies & Macadam # 138, # 139 and # 215.

Yet another hollow cone is # 550. This cone was not made on a wheel because inner wall of it is very course but the body seems to be hollow (Cf. 01-251 in Davies's notebook), though UC37958 is not so clear.

The Proyecto Djehuty, which has been lead by J. M. Galán from Madrid, had found many of Djehuty's cones in and around TT 11. Some examples has multiple concentric circles around the seal impression and others has flat rim (cf. a photo taken by the Project Djehuty.). These features may originate to the manufacturing method.

As for the materials of cones, Suzanne Michels contributed an excellent paper to the E. Kruck's book. This book presents results from the collection and analysis of 770 examples of funerary cones with 65 different inscriptions owned by 62 Theban officials that were discovered by the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Kairo, since 1991 under the directorship of D. Polz. In this publication, Michels insisted that clay type CN1 defined in the Vienna system was used during the Middle Kingdom, CN2b in the early Eighteenth Dynasty, and CN2a in the later Eighteenth Dynasty. This chapter presents the first example of estimating the date of cones based on the raw material. The results of this particular research were quite interesting. Michels found that the material of unstamped cones is not always CN1 but sometimes CN2a, implying that this cone type was not unique to the Middle Kingdom. Although this was first pointed out by Polz (Polz 2007: 254 n. 989), Michels supports his idea with scientific methods. Also, she succeeds in opening our eyes to new possibilities in interpreting the reason for Middle Kingdom cones being unstamped, for she suggested that the Middle Kingdom cones made of CN1 clay crack more easily than those made with CN2. Of equal significance was her detailed investigation of the relationship between colours of the cone body and the material, time and firing temperature. Since purely archaeological studies such as this have rarely been conducted, Michel's study stands out in the overall research history of funerary cones.

& Width
Image galleryMacadam's unpublished
manuscripts in Sudan
Data on
each cone
Museum HoldingsCones not listed
on Davies & Macadam
Stamped bricksAbbreviations
& References

Last updated on 11th Jul. 2016.


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