Heqanakht papyri and Thaddeus Stevens School (Washington, D.C.)

The Heqanakht letters on display in the Metropolitan Museum in New York

The Heqanakht papyri or Heqanakht letters (also spelled Hekanakht) are a group of papyri dating to the early Middle Kingdom of Ancient Egypt that were found in the tomb complex of Vizier Ipi. Their find was located in the burial chamber of a servant named Meseh, which was to the right side of the courtyard of Ipi's burial complex. It is believed that the papyri were accidentally mixed into debris used to form a ramp to push the coffin of Meseh into the chamber. The papyri contain letters and accounts written by (or on behalf of) Heqanakht, a ka-priest of Ipi. Heqankht himself was obliged to stay in the Theban area (probably because of his responsibilities in the necropolis), and thus wrote letters to his family, probably located somewhere near the capital of Egypt at that time, near the Faiyum. These letters and accounts were somehow lost and thus preserved. The significance of the papers is that they give rare and valuable information about lives of ordinary members of the lower upper class of Egypt during this period.

Contents 1 Scholarship 2 Significance 3 References 4 External links


These papyri have been published and discussed several times. Cerny and Baer dwelt on economic and social issues, relating to land tenure, land ownership, monetary units and similar topics. Silver discussed macro and micro aspects of the commodity wages paid to estate workers, and other commodity monetary transactions cited in the Heqanakht papers. James and Allen prepared complete translations with commentaries, while Wente offered translations. The materials allowed people to understand both domestic squabbles and household management during that time. Significance

In the monetary system at the time of the papyri's creation, rent and taxes were generally (but not invariably) paid to Pharaoh in grain. For example, the text reports:

Furthermore behold, 15 sacks of emmer are in the possession of Nenek-su (nnk-sw) at Hut-haa (Hw.t-hAA) and 13 (sacks ?) and 5 (bushels ?) of Lower Egyptian barley are in the possession of Ipi the Younger (jpj-Xrd) at Yusebek (jw-sbk). That which is in the possession of Neher's (nHr) son Ipi (jpj) at Sepat-mat (spA.t-mA.t) (amounts to) 20 (sacks of) emmer and (in the possession of) his brother Desher (dSr) 3 (sacks). The total is 38 (sacks of emmer and) 13 (sacks) and 5 (bushel ?) (of Lower Egyptian barley). Concerning anyone who will give me oil in payment - he shall give me 1 hbn.t-jar for 2 (sacks) of Lower Egyptian barley or for 3 (sacks) of emmer.

In terms of the understanding of what one would call "money," Heqanakht clearly calculated values in grain (particularly barley). However, he was able to convert this without difficulties into equivalent values in oil, textiles or copper. He both expected and offered payments in different commodities. The precise details of his calculations are priceless. For general purposes, however, he only valued new barley himself and was perfectly willing to put his family on short rations in the hope of profit (as Baer noted). On the other hand, however, once a temporary shortage was overcome, he did not view the grain as being particularly valuable: its use value was nil when the family was fed and its exchange value did not exist when his family needed to be fed.

For example: "Record of the household's incomes: Ipi (jpj) and her servant woman 8 (heqat), Hetepet (Htp.t) and her servant woman 8 (heqat), Heti's (Ht) son Nakht (nxt) together with his dependants 8 (heqat), Merisu (mr.sw) and his dependants 8 (heqat), Sahathor (zA-Hwt-Hr) 8 (heqat), Sanebnut (ZA-nb-n'.t) 7 (heqat), Anpu (jnp) 4 (heqat), Snefru (snfr.w) 4 (heqat), Sa-inut (zA-jnw.t) 4 (heqat), Mai-sa-hetepet (may-zA-Htp.t) 5 (heqat), Nofret (nfr.t) 3½ (heqat), Satwerut (zA.t-wr.wt) (?) 2 (heqat): Total 79½ (heqat)").

The papyri are also significant to the study of ancient economic thought, accountancy, and the history of Egyptian fractions and Egyptian multiplication and division. For example, accounting during the Egyptian Middle Kingdom used a double entry system within expected and observed (practical zero totals). A zero symbol denoted an empty account. The Akhmim Wooden Tablet, the Egyptian Mathematical Leather Roll, the RMP 2/n table, the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus, the Ebers Papyrus and other mathematical texts reported expected and observed Egyptian fractions totals. Totals were written in quotients and scaled/unscaled remainder units. A meta context of the Egyptian Middle Kingdom weights and measures system had empowered one of the earliest Ancient Near East monetary systems. The Egyptian economy was able to double-check its management elements by using double entry accounting, and theoretical or abstract weights and measures units.

Thaddeus Stevens School (Washington, D.C.) and Heqanakht papyri

The Thaddeus Stevens School is a historic African American school located at 1050 21st Street, N.W., in the West End neighborhood of Washington, D.C. As of 2001 it was the oldest extant elementary school still being used as a school in the District of Columbia, but soon after was involved in controversy as the district government planned to convert it to residential use.

Contents 1 History 2 Enrollment 3 Stevens School fire 4 Early physical condition (1870s) 5 Importance 6 Notable alumni 7 References 8 External links


With a 92% increase of freed slaves between 1840 and 1860, a large population of this demographic migrated to wards 1 and 2 of Washington, DC. This is proved by the census data of the wards of Washington, DC from 1860. This influx of freed slaves to the Foggy Bottom neighborhood caused apparent demand for a public school. The Stevens School was erected in 1868 because the city needed a public colored school and the most feasible place to put it was on square 73 which was accessible by both wards 1 and 2. It seemed apt to build a school for freed black in this area, as it was derelict and unsanitary. Within square 73 the school was built on lots 22, 23, and 24. The property that provided the grounds for the Stevens School was initially privately owned by Alfred Jones and his wife in 1868. These lots were bought in 1868 for a combined value of $7,413.14. Once the physical building was built, the final cost was $89,099.17. For the time, this was considered to be inexpensive, both for the land and the development of a public school. In 1932 the American Banking and trust company purchased lot 20. The Stevens School was comparatively smaller than other public, namely white, contemporary institutions such as the Grimke School and Slater School. The Stevens School was under the jurisdiction of the Board of Colored Schools and many of the board members were African American. The D.C Board of Colored Schools was consolidated in 1880 into one Board of Public Schools that had control over both white and black public schools

An addition was built in 1885 and it was partially rebuilt and enlarged again in 1895-96. A pioneering school for African-Americans, it was named for Thaddeus Stevens, the Radical Republican abolitionist congressman from Pennsylvania. The Preparatory High School for Negro Youth was housed in the building after it was founded in 1871 and later moved becoming the M Street High School and ultimately Dunbar High School.

The building was listed in the District of Columbia Inventory of Historic Sites in 1972 and then on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. Enrollment

Enrollment for the Stevens School progressed throughout the years, gaining popularity as the population in wards 1 and 2 increased. The enrollment in 1877, according to The First Report of the Board of Trustees of Public Schools of the District of Columbia, was 980 students. There were also 13 teachers, 715 desks, and 14 classrooms. Additionally, this report reveals the fact that the teachers taught at both the grammar and primary levels, which is equivalent to a ‘K-12’ educational structure. Enrollment at the Stevens School grew to as large as 949, just 5 years after its initial opening. The School’s value also depreciated to $29,000. The increased enrollment corresponds to the population trends in 1873 as large numbers of freed slaves migrated to wards 1 and 2 of DC. As mentioned above in Section 2, the school had 980 students by 1877– but only 715 desks. Four years before, in 1873, the building had a mere 14 classrooms. Simply put there were approximately 70 students per classroom and a desk shortage of 265. Stevens School fire

On January 11, 1876, a fire occurred at the Stevens School that started in an upstairs classroom used by the 4th primary school. As news of the fire quickly spread, children began to panic and storm down the stairs to get out. There were no casualties but there were a few children that sustained minor injuries from being trampled by other students during the commotion. Two small boys jumped from a third floor window but thankfully they were caught by spectators in the crowd. Teachers were praised as heroes for the calm and safe manner in which they got the children out of the building. An investigation was later conducted after the incident and the fire was said to be caused by a buildup of waste that was swept into the radiating surface. The rails of the staircase were also damaged due to the pressure that the children exerted on it during the commotion. Total damages weren't expected to exceed $150 or $200 and the damages were covered by insurance. Early physical condition (1870s)

The school property contained 16,481 feet; the building was built out of brick and was four stories in height. The buildings held a large assembly hall and 12 school rooms, each room was thirty-eight feet long, twenty-three feet wide, and twelve feet high. The rooms were used for about 750 sittings for the students. Two additions were made to the building in 1873. After the first addition, the school was able to house 14 class rooms and after the second addition five more rooms were added. The physical condition of the building was in shambles, as Superintendent Cook’s Report from 1874-1875 points out the Stevens School sanitary condition was, “unsatisfactory and in violation of the laws of health, and if not remedied is likely to result in such diseases of diphtheria, typhoid fever, scarlet fever, and such other fevers as result from want of proper ventilation and sewerage”. Referring to Figure 13, it can be seen that the value of the building dropped to $29,000, which is much less than it cost to produce it at $89,099.17. As all of these documents would suggest, the Stevens School was a poor school in a poor neighborhood riddled with danger and disease. Importance

Standing proud and tall as one of DC’s landmarks as deemed by the National Park Services, the Stevens School is still in its original location on Square 73. As the NPS Statement of Significance says, the Stevens School “is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history”, there is no doubt that this building played an important role in developing Foggy Bottom. Its role of bringing public colored education to an unskilled and overpopulated community provided the inhabitants with opportunity and hope for the American Dream. Notable alumni Amy Carter Charles R. Drew Roberta Flack Ralph "Petey" Green Robert Hooks Rayford Whittingham Logan
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