Ancient Egypt Wiki
Preceded by:
Pharaoh of Egypt
First Dynasty
Succeeded by:
Djer Stele
c. 3000 BC (41 years)
Horus name Djer
Father Hor-Aha (?)
Mother Kenthap
Consort(s) Herneith, Nakhtneith
Burial Tomb O at Umm el-Qa'ab

Djer was a Pharaoh of the First Dynasty of Egypt during the Early Dynastic Period.

Djer is known to have been the successor of Hor-Aha, and was perhaps known to Manetho as Athothis, said to have reigned for 57 years[1].

His family is quite well documented. He is known to have had at least two wives; Herneith and Nakhtneith. Herneith is thought to have been his wife due to her name being located on his sepulchre, with Nakhtneith mentioned on stele 95 from his funerary complex[2]. Kenthap is attested on the Cairo Annal Stone as his mother[2]. There are some that believe he could have been the father of Merneith due to artefacts linking her to Djer, Djet and Den[3].

During his reign military exploits are mentioned, occurring in the area of Wadi Halfa. Rock carvings here show the king's name in a serekh next to a schematic showing enemies being thrown into water in front of an Egyptian Warship[1]. Trips are also mentioned on Year Labels to the city of Buto as well as to Sais found at Abydos[1].

Djer Buto

Buto Year Label

There is another Year Label from Saqqara dating to his reign which also shows the ritual of Human Sacrifice[1] which would make sense considering the amount of satellite burials placed in his funerary complex .

His tomb (Tomb O[1]) is most noticeable as it is the largest 1st Dynasty tomb at the necropolis of Umm el-Qa'ab measuring 12x13 metres in size[4] . The tomb consists of one large chamber, breaking from previous traditions of having several small chambers. Traces showed a wooden coffin had been placed against the back wall of tomb. The complex was covered by timber ceiling, above which a low tumulus of sand was piled up within brick walls. [5]. Inside the mastaba was found an ivory lid with the name of Neithhotep A, however this tomb is close to Hor-Aha's meaning this piece could have strayed from his tomb[2]. In addition a mummified arm which held four gold bracelets[4], which was thought to have been a woman by Flinders Petrie[6] which is likely as the skull of a female was also discovered[3]. When the arm was discovered inside the tomb Petrie wrote:

...the arm of the Queen of Djer was found, hidden in a hole in the wall, with the gold bracelets in place. The lads who found it saw the gold, but left it untouched and brought the arm to me. I cut the wrappings apart so bared he bracelets all intact. Thus the exact order could be copied when my wife re-threaded them next morning. When Quibell came over on behalf of the Museum, I sent up the bracelets by him. The arm - the oldest mummified piece known - and its marvelously fine tissue of linen were also delivered to the museum. Emile Brugsch only cared for display; so from one bracelet he cut away the half that was of plaited gold wire, and he also threw away the arm and linen. A museum is a dangerous place….[6]

Djer Bracelets

Bracelets from Tomb O

Djer surrounded his tomb with numerous satellite burials of his retainers who went to the grave at the same time as him[1]. In total there were 318 attendant graves, many marked with stele. Of 97 inscribed stele, 76 were female, 11 male, with 2 holding dwarfs; all were probably service staff. From his reign, stele with serekhs of rulers were set up near royal graves, probably on there eastern side[4].

The Nomarch Amka is known to have lived during his reign overseeing the Royal Domain known as Ḥr-sḫnti-ḏw.[7]

From the Middle Kingdom onwards and the reign of Senwosret III Djer's tomb became labelled as the tomb of Osiris due to the increase in interest in the Osiris Cult[4], the Osiris Mysteries were traditionally begun when a statue of Osiris was carried on the shoulders of priests towards Djer's tomb.[8]

See also[]

  • Djer Image Gallery


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Clayton, P.A (2001) Chronicles of the Pharaohs London: Thames & Hudson.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Dodson, A & Hilton, D. (2005) The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 9774249577
  3. 3.0 3.1 Tyldesley, J. (2006) The Complete Queens of Egypt Cairo: American University Press.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Lehner, M. (2008) "The Complete Pyramids of Egypt" London: Thames & Hudson
  5. Schulz, R & Seidel, M. (2007) "Egypt: The World of the Pharaohs" H.F.Ullman
  6. 6.0 6.1 Tyldesley, J. (2005) "Egypt: How a lost civilization was rediscovered" London: BBC Books
  7. Wilkinson, T, A, H. (2001) Early Dynastic Egypt London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-26011-6.
  8. Watterson, B. (2003) Gods of Ancient Egypt Sparkford: Sutton Publishing
Pharaoh of Egypt
1st Dynasty