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Stele, of a type also referred to as a Cippus of Horus, of mottled grey stone carved with figures in raised relief on the face and columns of hieroglyphs in sunk relief on the back, top and sides, acquired by the Scots explorer James Bruce about 1771 : Ancient Egyptian, allegedly found in Aksum in Ethiopia but originally from Egypt, Ptolemaic Period, 2nd or 1st century BC

Museum reference



World Culture

Object name


Production information

Egypt, Northern Africa


2nd - 1st century BC

Style / Culture

Ptolemaic Period, Ancient Egyptian



Physical description

Whole, grey mottled schistose stone, polished

Collection place(s)

Axum, Tigray, Ethiopia, Eastern Africa


Previous owner: Bruce, James, 1730 - 1794


  • Discoveries Redisplay, 2015

  • Egyptian Gallery, 2003 - 2008 (2003 - 2008)
    Royal Scottish Museum

  • Ancient Egypt (29 Jul 2011)
    National Museum of Scotland


Bruce, J., Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile in the Years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772 & 1773. London, 1789, pp 417-420

Van der Walle, B. ‘Le Cippe d’Horus découvert par J. Bruce à Axoum’. Chronique d’Égypte, 28 (1953) pp.238-247

Van der Walle, B. ‘Note complémentaire au sujet du cippe d’Horus publié par Bruce’. Chronique d’Égypte, 29 (1954), p.277

Reid, J.M., Traveller Extraordinary. The Life of James Bruce of Kinnaird. London, 1968

Moorehead, A., The Blue Nile. London 1962, revised 1972. Chapters 2-3

Sternberg -El-Hotabi, H. ‘Die verschollene Horusstele aus Aksum’ Quaerentes Scientiam, Festgabe für Wolfhart Westendorf zu seinem 70. Geburtstag überreicht von seinen Schülern. Ed. Heike Buhlmer. Götttingen , 1994, pp189-191; abb. 1a und b, abb.2, abb.3

Phillips, J. ‘Egyptian and Nubian Material from Ethiopia and Eritrea’ The Sudan Archaeological Research Society Newsletter, No.9. London, 1995, pp.2-10, pl.1

Phillips, J. ‘Seeking Bruce’s cippus’ KMT; A Modern Journal of Ancient Egypt, 7.3 (1996): pp32-36

Phillips, J. ‘Punt and Aksum: Egypt and the Horn of Africa’. Journal of African History, 38 (1997), pp 423-457

Phillipson, D.W., Ancient Ethiopia: Aksum, Its antecedents and successors, London: The British Museum Press, 1998, fig 8, Republished as Part III in Welsby, D.A., Phillipson, D.W., Empires of the Nile, London: The Folio Society, 1998, pl 26

Manley, W., ‘Treasures of National Museums Scotland’, 1. Scottish Pharaonic 6/2 (2007)


Given anonymously

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