Francis Lankester is an archaeology graduate student, living in Worcester, and studying part-time at the University of Durham, UK, In 2013 he completed his PhD thesis: “Desert Boats’-Egypt’s Central Eastern Desert Rock-Art: Distribution, Dating & Interpretation.” Francis authors the website www.eastern-desert.com, and he participated in the Eastern Desert (rock-art) Survey in 1988 & 1999.
The depiction of the king with mace raised above a helpless prisoner is one of the most prominent and enduring images of ancient Egypt. Although it has often been claimed that the origin for this iconic image lies in the Predynastic Era, this is unlikely. Not until the Narmer Palette do we see a possible model for dynastic developments of the image. These developments are traced here within the Early Dynastic Period
The ‘Scorpion’ Mace-head is one of the most significant objects from the main deposit at Hierakonpolis. Unlike the Narmer Mace-head, it is not a complete mace-head but only part of one. Apart from the dominant figure after whom the palette is named, the surrounding scenes are partial; however excellently these have been conserved. This makes the object even more enigmatic and difficult to interpret than usual in the context of the development of Early Dynastic royal iconography.
This article re-examines the evidence and suggests an alternative identification for King Scorpion.