Papyrus Westcar - Berlin Papyrus 3033

Materials and schedule for Glyphstudy Translation Group

The Westcar Papyrus, housed in the Ägyptisches Museum, Berlin, Papyrus 3033.

Found in 1903 by Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie during excavation of Kom el-Sultan in Abydos, this tiny statue, 7.5 cm high, is the only statue of the Pharaoh Khufu known. Some Egyptologists think it may be from a later date. In the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, JE 36143


The Westcar Papyrus is housed in the Ägyptisches Museum, Berlin and designated Berlin Papyrus 3033. The papyrus, written in hieratic script and middle Egyptian, contains five stories told by the sons of the 4th dynasty Pharaoh Khufu, also know as Cheops. The papyrus, shown above, is in poor condition and the text has been reconstructed by various scholars from 1890 to 1988. Of the original five stories, three remain complete. The Wikipedia entry for the Westcar Papyrus gives an excellent overview of the manuscript, condition and influence. This article is highly recommended for those in Glyphstudy considering this translation project. I discussed the text with James Hoch, and he considers it to be an excellent translation text for students who have completed a major grammar.


The text of the Westcar papyrus is divided by rubra (red text) and contains five Stories, organized as follows:
Story 1. Djedjfra (?): column 1, line 12 through column 1, line 17, (black) (remainder lost )
Story 2. Chephren: column 1, line 17, (red) through column 4, line 17, (black) ( partially damaged )
Story 3. Baufra: column 4, line 17, (red) through column 6, line 22, (black)
Story 4: Hordedef: column 6, line 22, (red) through column 9, line 21, (black)
  Line 8.5 - 8.6 (red) New section, not a new story
  Line 8.22 - (red) New section, not a new story
Story 5: Rededjet; column 9, line 21, (red) through column 12, line 26


The best and most modern transcription of the text is:

Blackman, A. M., & Davies, W. V. The story of king Kheops and the magicians:
Transcribed from papyrus Westcar (Berlin Papyrus 3033).

Reading: J.V. Books, 1988

This proved to be out-of-print and extremely scarce. I was fortunate to acquire a copy from an English bookseller. I do not think it has been scanned to PDF, but fortunately there are other options.

The following versions are based on the Blackman text and assignments will be based on them. Their line numbers are consistent.
Students may use any of the Rosmorduc or Nederhof versions. It might be informative to compare them.

Serge Rosmorduc transcription pdf
The Rosmorduc transcription is beautifully typeset using JSESH and is just the hieroglyphic text.

Mark-Jan Nederhof has very kindly provided revised versions of his Westcar materials as follows:
Nederhof, hieroglyphs only.
This Nederhof version is hieroglyphs only. Minor differences with Rosmorduc.

Nederhof, revised (304 pages).
This is a newer revision of the following and includes interlinear transliteration and translation as well as "orthographic" annotations.

Nederhof transcription/translation pdf
Contains interlinear transliteration and translation.
I have retained this version as it is only 69 pages, but with the caveat that it contains some small errors.

Adolf Erman owned the papyrus for a time and in 1890 published a two volume study in German. Here are links to these volumes. The understanding of the hieratic script has advanced considerably since Erman's time, but he does include pictures of the papyrus.
Erman Märchen I
Erman Märchen II

The DeBuck Reading Book also contains some of the stories:
DeBuck Reading Book pdf (p.79 - 88)


The Westcar grammar database gives many examples,
mainly from Gardiner's Egyptian Grammar.

The above database in spreadsheet form: Westcar.xls

Erman published a discussion of the Westcar grammar:

Erman, Adolf. Die Sprache Des Papyrus Westcar: Eine Vorarbeit Zur Grammatik Der Älteren Aegyptischen Sprache. Göttingen: Dieterich, 1889. PDF here.


Allen, James P. Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs. Cambridge: University Press, 2000.,

Faulkner, Raymond O. A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian. Oxford: Printed for the Griffith Institute at the University Press by V. Ridler, 1962.

This is the classic ME dictionary in English and a virtual necessity. If you can't afford it, download the free Vygus dictionary listed below.

Gardiner, Sir Alan. Egyptian Grammar ; Being an introduction to the study of hieroglyphs. Sixth edition revised. Oxford: Griffith Institute, 1957, (2007).

Very highly recommended.

Hoch, James E. Middle Egyptian Grammar. Mississauga, Ont: Benben Publications, 1997.

Lichtheim, Miriam. Ancient Egyptian Literature: Volume 1. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2006.

Vygus, Mark. Middle Egyptian Dictionary

Wörterbuch der Aegyptischen Sprache (vol. 1-7 download)

If you read German, this is still an important dictionary. Even if you don't read German, it is highly recommended.

The Wörterbuch is also available via a web page titled
Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae
You must register here to use Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae.


For those unfamiliar with Orlando Mezzabotta, I urge you to listen to his recitations of two of the Westcar stories:


Use the designation Westcar 01 etc. in the subject line of your homework submissions.
Please put your name at the beginning of your homework submission and
you might find it useful to cut and paste the assignment number, due date and
description below your name.

********** 2016 **********

Westcar 06
Due Jan 17, 2016
Description: Line 2,23 after “7” through 3,3

Westcar 07
Due Jan 31, 2016
Description: Line 3,4 through 3,8

Westcar 08
Due Feb 14, 2016
Description: Line 3,9 through 3,13

Westcar 09
Due Feb 28, 2016
Description: Line 3,14 through 3,18

Westcar 10
Due March 13, 2016
Description: Line 3,19 through 3,25

Westcar 11
Due March 27, 2016
Description: Line 4,1 through 4,5

Westcar 12
Due April 10, 2016
Description: Line 4,6 through 4,11

Westcar 13
Due April 24, 2016
Description: Line 4,12 through 4,17 (black text, end of Djedjfra’s Story)

Westcar 14
Due May 8, 2016
Description: Line 4,17 (red text, beginning of Chephren’s Story) through 4,23

Westcar 15
Due May 22, 2016
Description: Line 4,24 through 5,3

Westcar 16
Due June 5, 2016
Description: Line 5,4 through 5,8

Westcar 17
Due June 19, 2016
Description: Line 5,9 through 5,13

Westcar 18
Due July 3, 2016
Description: Line 5,14 through 5,18

Westcar 19
Due July 17, 2016
Description: Line 5,19 through 5,23

Westcar 20
Due July 31, 2016
Description: Line 5,24 through 6,3

Westcar 21
Due August 14, 2016
Description: Line 6,4 through 6,8

Westcar 22
Due August 28, 2016
Description: Line 6,9 through 6,13

Westcar 23
Due September 11, 2016
Description: Line 6,14 through 6,18

Westcar 24
Due September 25, 2016
Description: Line 6,19 through 6,23

Westcar 25
Due October 9, 2016
Description: Line 6,24 through 7,2

Westcar 26
Due October 23, 2016
Description: Line 7,3 through 7,7

Westcar 27
Due November 6, 2016
Description: Line 7,8 through 7,12

Westcar 28
Due November 20, 2016
Description: Line 7,13 through 7,17

Westcar 29
Due December 4, 2016
Description: Line 7,18 through 7,22

Westcar 30
Due December 18, 2016
Description: Line 7,23 through 8,1


********** 2017 **********

Westcar 31
Due January 8, 2017
Description: Line 8,2 through 8,6

Westcar 32
Due January 22, 2017
Description: Line 8,7 through 8,11

Westcar 33
Due February 5, 2017
Description: Line 8,12 through 8,16

Westcar 34
Due February 19, 2017
Description: Line 8,17 through 8,21

Westcar 35
Due March 5, 2017
Description: Line 8,22 through 8,26

Rhio H Barnhart