Inventory Stela

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The Inventory Stela

The Inventory Stela (also known as King's Daughter's Stela) is an Ancient Egyptian commemorative tablet dating to the 26th Dynasty (c. 670 BC). It was found in Giza during the 19th century. The stela presents a list of 22 divine statues owned by a Temple of Isis, and goes on to claim that the temple existed since before the time of Khufu (c. 2580 BC).


The stela was discovered in 1858 at Giza by the French archaeologist Auguste Mariette, during excavations of the Isis temple. The tablet was located very close to the Great Sphinx of Giza.[1][2]


The original size of the tablet is unknown, since it was already damaged at the time of its discovery. The creation of the stela can be dated back to the 26th Dynasty during the Saite Period around 670 BC. The Inventory Stela is made of polished granite and decorated with a commemorative inscription and a so-called apparition window. The apparition window names 22 divine statues of different deities, the statues are claimed to have been part of the temple's belongings. The statues are figurely depicted and their material and size are also described.[3]

The commemorative text is engraved on the U-shaped frame around the apparition window. It praises the gods Isis, Mistress of the pyramids and Osiris, Lord of Rosta. After this, the inscription claims that the Isis temple was already at its place before the pyramids had been erected and that the temple was discovered by Khufu east of the great pyramid at the "house of Harmakhis" (i.e. the Sphinx temple). Then it claims that Khufu first "built the temple of Isis anew" and then built a pyramid for the "king's daughter Henutsen". Finally, the goddess Isis is praised and again entitled as "mistress of the pyramids".[1][4]

Historical importance[edit]

The credibility of the Inventory Stela is viewed by Historians and Egyptologists with great caution. The text contains many anachronisms and its elaboration is poor. To the scholars it is obvious that the stela was a purposeful fake, created by the local priests with the attempt to certify the Isis temple an ancient history it never had. Such an act became common when religious institutions such as temples, shrines and priests' domains where fighting for political attention and for financial and economic donations.[2][4]

But the oldest ruins of the Isis temple date back to the Middle Kingdom period, when many mastaba tombs at Giza were demolished in attempt to make space for newer tombs and temples. The Isis temple was built at the very corner of the queen's pyramid G1-c, which is today believed to be Queen Henutsen's tomb.[2][4] A first, direct proof for fakery is the circumstance that Khufu is introduced by his Horus name first, not by his birth name inside a cartouche, as it was actually common at this time. Secondly, it mentions the goddess Isis. But Isis' name does not verifiably occur before king (pharaoh) Nyuser-Rê of 5th Dynasty and she never had a title as "mistress of the pyramid(s)". And, third of all, Henutsen was a queen consort, her actual parents are unknown and she is not known to have borne the title "king's daughter".[2][4]

Despite these scholarly conclusions, people who adhere to the hypothesis that the Great Sphinx and the pyramids are much older than Egyptologists want to believe, consider the stela as a proof supporting such claims.[5]


  1. ^ a b Margaret Bunson: Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt (= Facts-on-File Library of World History-series). Infobase Publishing, New York 2014, ISBN 1438109970, page 181.
  2. ^ a b c d Miroslav Verner: The Pyramids: The Mystery, Culture, and Science of Egypt's Great Monuments. Grove/Atlantic Inc., 2007, ISBN 0802198635, page 212.
  3. ^ Sandra Sandri: Har-pa-chered (Harpokrates) (= Orientalia Lovaniensia analecta, 151. Band). Peeters Publishers, Leuven 2006, ISBN 904291761X, page 268.
  4. ^ a b c d Peter Jánosi: Die Pyramidenanlagen der Königinnen (= Denkschriften der Gesamtakademie, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, volume 13). Vienna 1996, ISBN 3700122071, p. 11, 125.
  5. ^ Garrett G. Fagan: Archaeological Fantasies: How Pseudoarchaeology Misrepresents the Past and Misleads the Public. Psychology Press, 2006, ISBN 0415305926, pp. 111-112.