Sekhemre Khutawy Sobekhotep

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Sekhemre Khutawy Sobekhotep (appears in most sources as Amenemhat Sobekhotep; now believed to be Sobekhotep I; known as Sobekhotep II in older studies) was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 13th Dynasty during the Second Intermediate Period, who reigned for at least three years c. 1800 BC. His chronological position is much debated, Sekhemre Khutawy Sobekhotep being either the founder of the dynasty, in which case he is called Sobekhotep I, or its twentieth ruler, in which case he is called Sobekhotep II. In his 1997 study of the Second Intermediate Period, the Egyptologist Kim Ryholt makes a strong case for Sekhemre Khutawy Sobekhotep as the founder of the dynasty, a hypothesis that is now dominant in Egyptology.[1][3] His tomb was discovered in Abydos in 2013 and was assigned to a king Sobekhotep I in January 2014.


Titulary of Sekhemrekhutawy Sobekhotep on a relief from the mortuary temple of Mentuhotep II, Deir el-Bahri.[4]

Sekhemre Khutawy Sobekhotep is well attested by contemporary sources. First, he is mentioned on the Kahun Papyrus IV, now in the Petrie Museum (UC32166).[1] (Ryholt, p. 315)[5][6] This Kahun Papyrus is "a census of the household of a lector-priest that is dated to the first regnal year" of the king and also records the birth of a son of the lector-priest during a 40th regnal year, "which can only refer to Amenemhat III."[7] This establishes that Sekhemre Khutawy Sobekhotep reigned close in time to Amenemhat III. Second, a number of architectural elements bearing Sobekhotep's titulary are known: a fragment of a Hebsed chapel from Medamud, three lintels from Deir el-Bahri and Medamud, an architrave from Luxor and a doorjamb from Medamud that is now in the Louvre. Three Nile level records from Semna and Kumna in Nubia are also attributable to Sekhemre Khutawy Sobekhotep, the latest of which is dated to year 4, showing that he reigned for at least three complete years.[1][8] Smaller artifacts mentioning Sekhemre Khutawy Sobekhotep comprise a cylinder seal from Gebelein, an adze-blade, a statuette from Kerma and a faience bead, now in the Petrie Museum (UC 13202).[1][5][9] Finally, the tomb of Sekhemre Khutawy Sobekhotep was discovered in Abydos in 2013 and attributed to him in 2014 from a stele fragment bearing his cartouche.

Chronological position[edit]

There is some dispute in Egyptology over the position of this king in the 13th Dynasty. The throne name Sekhemre Khutawyre appears in the Turin King List as the 19th king of the 13th Dynasty. However, the Nile level records and his appearance on a papyrus found at Lahun indicate that he might date to the early 13th Dynasty. In both monument types only kings of the late 12th and early 13th Dynasty are mentioned.

In the Turin King List, Khutawyre appears as the first 13th-Dynasty king; Egyptologist Kim Ryholt maintains that it is possible that the writer of the list confused Sekhemre Khutawy with Khutawyre, the nomen of Wegaf.[1] Furthermore, the identification of any mention of Sekhemre Khutawy is difficult, as at least three kings are known to have had this name: Sekhemre Khutawy Sobekhotep, Sekhemre Khutawy Pantjeny and Sekhemre Khutawy Khabaw.

Based on his name Amenemhat Sobekhotep, it has been suggested that Sobekhotep was a son of the penultimate pharaoh of the 12th Dynasty, king Amenemhat IV. Amenemhat Sobkekhotep can be read as Amenemhat's son Sobekhotep. Therefore, Sobekhotep may have been a brother of Sekhemkare Sonbef, the second ruler of the 13th Dynasty.[10] Other Egyptologists read Amenemhat Sobekhotep as a double name, these being common in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Dynasty.[11]


A team of archaeologists led by Josef W. Wegner discovered the tomb of a king with the name Sobekhotep during excavations in Abydos in early 2013. The tomb was identified as Sobekhotep's in January 2014 when a fragment of a stele inscribed with cartouches of the king and showing him enthroned was uncovered onsite and was assigned to Sobekhotep I.[12] The identification was announced by the Egyptian Minister of State for Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim on 6 January 2014.[13] The tomb substructures were lined with fine limestone from Tura and contained a 60-ton red quartzite sarcophagus. The tomb was once topped by a pyramid, now completely lost.[14] Parts of canopic jars, funerary objects and the king's gold ornaments were discovered in the tomb.[15][16][17]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g K. S. B. Ryholt, The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, c.1800–1550 BC, Carsten Niebuhr Institute Publications, vol. 20. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 1997.
  2. ^ Thomas Schneider after Detlef Franke: Lexikon der Pharaonen, p. 255
  3. ^ Darrell D. Baker: The Encyclopedia of the Pharaohs: Volume I – Predynastic to the Twentieth Dynasty 3300–1069 BC, Stacey International, ISBN 978-1-905299-37-9, 2008, p. 443
  4. ^ Édouard Naville: The XIth dynasty temple at Deir el-Bahari, PART II, (1907)available copyright-free online
  5. ^ a b "Sekhemre Khutawy Sobekhotep, the Petrie Museum". Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  6. ^ Kahun papyrus IV, Petrie Museum
  7. ^ Ryholt, 1997 SIP, p.315
  8. ^ Nicolás Grimal: A History of Ancient Egypt, Wiley-Blackwell, 1994, pp 183–184
  9. ^ Faience bead of Sekhemre Khutawy, Petrie Museum
  10. ^ Dodson, Aidan and Hilton, Dyan. The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson, 2004. ISBN 0-500-05128-3
  11. ^ Stephen Quirke: In the Name of the King: on Late Middle Kingdom Cylinders, in: Timelines, Studies in Honour of Manfred Bietak, Leuven, Paris, Dudley, MA. ISBN 90-429-1730-X, 263-64
  12. ^ "Giant Sarcophagus Leads Penn Museum Team in Egypt To the Tomb of a Previously Unknown Pharaoh". Penn Museum. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  13. ^ "King Sobekhotep I Tomb discovered in Sohag". State Information Services. 7 January 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  14. ^ Stephen Adkins (7 January 2014). "Pennsylvania Researchers Discover Tomb of Egypt's First King of 13th Dynasty". University Herald. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  15. ^ "US diggers identify tomb of Pharoah Sobekhotep I". Times Live. South Africa. 6 January 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  16. ^ "Archaeologists discover tomb of Pharoah Sobekhotep I in Egypt". Voice of Russia. 7 January 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  17. ^ Stark, Florian (7 January 2014). "Pharaonengrab aus apokalyptischen Zeiten entdeckt". Die Welt (in German). Retrieved 8 January 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

  • K. S. B. Ryholt, The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, c.1800–1550 BC, (Carsten Niebuhr Institute Publications, vol. 20. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 1997), 336, File 13/1.
Preceded by
Sobekneferu or Sedjefakare
Pharaoh of Egypt
13th Dynasty
Succeeded by
Sonbef or Khendjer