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MUD BRICK STAMPED WITH THE CARTOUCHE OF RAMSES II

Egypt: Thebes, Ramesseum
Dynasty 19, ca. 1279-1212 B.C.
Sun-dried mud and straw
25.0 cm H, 17.0 cm W
Gift of the Egyptian Research Account, 1896
OIM 1347

Although the ancient Egyptians are best known for their stone monuments, they also used mud bricks extensively for building. This brick, which bears the cartouche of Ramses II, was found within the walls of his great mortuary temple, the Ramesseum, along with many reused bricks stamped with the names of his predecessors.

The bricks were made from river mud and straw, shaped in wooden molds and left to dry in the sun; the cartouche or other inscription was stamped on the brick while it was still damp and soft.

The ancient Egyptian word for brick was "debet," a word that has come into our modern vocabulary through the Spanish as "adobe," meaning sun-dried brick.


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Revised: November 12, 1997
Copyright 2006 Oriental Institute, University of Chicago
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