Ostracon of a Dispute Over a Hut

Fragmentary limestone ostracon with a hieratic inscription recording the resolution of a dispute over a hut inherited by the workman Wennofer. The inscription is unusual in being incised and filled with blue frit, a technique used for formal hieroglyphic inscriptions. Perhaps Wennofer set this ostracon into a wall of the disputed hut like a stele.

An ostracon of dispute refers to an ancient Egyptian artifact known as an ostracon that contains inscriptions related to a dispute or conflict. Ostraca were pieces of pottery or stone that were used as writing surfaces in ancient Egypt. They were often used for various purposes, including administrative records, personal notes, or even as voting tokens.

Ostracon of a Dispute Over a Hut
Ostracon of a Dispute Over a Hut

In the context of a dispute, an ostracon of dispute would typically contain inscriptions documenting the details of a disagreement or conflict between individuals or groups. These inscriptions could include arguments, accusations, or evidence presented by the parties involved.

Ostraca of dispute provide valuable insights into the social dynamics, legal proceedings, and problem-solving methods of ancient Egyptian society.

These ostraca were often found in archaeological excavations, particularly in administrative centers or areas where legal matters were handled. They serve as important historical and cultural artifacts, shedding light on the everyday conflicts and resolutions that occurred in ancient Egypt.

The study and analysis of ostracon of dispute contribute to our understanding of ancient Egyptian society, its legal systems, and the interpersonal relationships within it.

Ostracon, the Greek term for potsherd, is used by Egyptologists to refer to sherds of pottery or limestone flakes, which were used as a cheap and readily available material on which write or draw.

The text and drawings often consist of letters, bills, personal notes, inventories, sketches and scribal exercises, but also of literary texts, like love poems and wisdom texts.

Egyptian ostraca were used for artist’s sketchings, cartoons-caricatures, letter documents, school–practice writing, and graffiti. This particular ostracon may be a sketch by an artisan working on the prince’s tomb.

New Kingdom, 20th Dynasty, reign of Ramesses III, ca. 1186-1155 BC. Limestone, from Deir el-Medina, Western Thebes. Now in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. AN 655