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The Main deposit was a foundation deposit of particular note in a temple (presumably of Horus) in Nekhenmarker. It was dug during the early Old Kingdom, and was excavated in 1894. The deposit is famous for having been the site where the Narmer Palette, Narmer Macehead, and Scorpion Macehead were discovered.

The site was first excavated by James Quibell and Fredrick Green in 1894. Quibell was originally trained under W.M.F. Petrie, the inventor of modern archaeology, however he failed to follow Petrie's methods, and the temple was a difficult site to excavate to begin with, thus his excavation was poorly conducted and poorly documented. Specifically, the situational context of the items therein is poorly recorded and often the reports of Quibell and Green are in contradiction.

The most famous artifact commonly associated with the main deposit, the Narmer Palette, is now considered to have probably not been in the main deposit at all. Quibell's report made in 1900 put the palette in the deposit, however Green's report in 1902 put it about one to two yards away. Green's version is substantiated by earlier field notes (Quibell kept none), so it is now the accepted record of events.

The main deposit was located in an early Old Kingdom period, however the artistic style of the objects in the deposit indicate that they were from protodynastic times and were moved into the deposit at a later date. The other important item in the deposit clearly dates to the late predynastic times. This object, the Scorpion Macehead, depicts a king known only by the ideogram for scorpion, thus known as King Scorpion, participating in what seems to be a ritual irrigation ceremony. Although the Narmer Palette is more famous because it shows the first king to wear both the crowns of upper and lower Egypt, the Scorpion Macehead also indicates some early military hostility with the north by showing dead lapwing birds, the symbol of the north, hung from standards.


  1. Shaw, Ian. The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. p197. Oxford University Press, 2000.
  2. Shaw, Ian. Exploring Ancient Egypt. p.32 Oxford University Press, 2003.
  3. Shaw, Ian. Exploring Ancient Egypt. p.33 Oxford University Press, 2003.
  4. Shaw, Ian. The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. p254. Oxford University Press, 2000.
  5. Gardiner, Alan. Egypt of the Pharaohs. p. 403. Oxford University Press, 1961

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