Skip to main content

In Photos: Oldest Images of a Pharaoh

Nag el-Hamdulab

Nag el-Hamdulab Egypt

(Image credit: Stan Hendrickx, John Coleman Darnell & Maria Carmela Gatto)

The plain of Nag el-Hamdulab, desert site of a series of rock carvings that seem to show Egypt's first pharaoh.

Site 7 Carvings

Carving of first pharaoh

(Image credit: Stan Hendrickx, John Coleman Darnell & Maria Carmela Gatto)

Site 7 at Nag el-Hamdurab is the most elaborate carving, showing a white-crowned king travelling with a flotilla of five boats.

Boat Carvings

Carving of first pharaoh

(Image credit: Stan Hendrickx, John Coleman Darnell & Maria Carmela Gatto)

The Site 7 carving has been recently damaged, but the sickle-shaped boats can be seen.

Animal Carvings

Carvings of Egyptian animals

(Image credit: Stan Hendrickx, John Coleman Darnell & Maria Carmela Gatto)

A damaged carving of a group of animals. The two undamaged animals on the right are unknown, but may represent some sort of mythical creatures.

Ancient Etchings

Carving of first pharaoh

(Image credit: Stan Hendrickx, John Coleman Darnell & Maria Carmela Gatto)

Carvings at the second site in the area, seen etched into the tilted slab in the center.

The King's Boat

Carving of first pharaoh

(Image credit: Stan Hendrickx, John Coleman Darnell & Maria Carmela Gatto)

Look closely -- standing on the top of this boat is a crowned figure who may represent Narmer, the first pharaoh to rule unified Egypt. Oarsmen propel the boat along.

Boat Carvings

Carving of first pharaoh

(Image credit: Stan Hendrickx, John Coleman Darnell & Maria Carmela Gatto)

This carving, damaged by modern vandals, shows a two-cabined boat, possibly flanked by prisoners and bowmen.

Boat and Prisoners

Carving of first pharaoh

(Image credit: Stan Hendrickx, John Coleman Darnell & Maria Carmela Gatto)

A boat with three male figures, probably prisoners, standing to the right.

Herding Cattle

First Pharaoh Carvings

(Image credit: Stan Hendrickx, John Coleman Darnell & Maria Carmela Gatto)

This image shows cattle being herded by humans. A dog perches on the back of one cow.

Dog on Cow

Carving of first pharaoh

(Image credit: Stan Hendrickx, John Coleman Darnell & Maria Carmela Gatto)

A dog perches on the back of a cow, with a stick-wielding herder behind.