A set of two Egyptian Limestone weights, New Kingdom, ca. 1550 - 1069 B.C.


of indurated white limestone, two circular weights with a convex domed top and sides that slant inward toward the base.

Background:  Ancient Egyptian weights were traditionally made in units known as debens, a standard weight of 93.3 grams, though some weights from the Old and Middle Kingdom appear to have been in units of around 12 to 14 grams and sometimes 27 grams. Prior to the New Kingdom, there appears to have been less standardization than afterward. After the 12th Dynasty, a smaller unit known as a kite (qedet) with a weight of 9 to 10 grams was used and the deben itself was increased to ten kite. In reality, while the deben was a general measure of copper, silver and gold, the kite was only used for measuring silver and gold, but mostly only silver. These weights in precious metals were used to describe the equivalent value of a wide variety of non-metallic goods, thus forming a rudimentary price system during the non-monetary economy of the Pharaonic period.

Dimensions:  Max Diameter:  2.6 cm (1 inch), height: 1.5 cm (0.59 inches). Min Diameter: 1.5 cm (0.59 inches), height: 0.9 cm (0.35 inches). Weight: 22.6g or 2.48 qedet (at 9.1g/qdt) and 3.7g or 0.41 qedet (at 9.1g/qdt).

Condition:  Intact and in very good condition overall.

Provenance:   Private collection of Egyptologist Geoffrey Metz, Sweden acquired from the English trade, London in 1998.

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