Highlights: Turin King List

History, Content and Restoration of the so-called “Turin King List” (Papyrus Cat. 1874)

The manuscript, being the only true king list apart from Manetho, which includes many kings who are otherwise unknown, belongs without doubt to the highlight objects of the Museo Egizio. On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the deciphering of the hieroglyphs, the papyrus was completely restored and is displayed in a new exhibition room.

The Papyrus of Kings

The dynasties of the pharaohs are divided in groups of kings united by kinship or by their royal residence. In total, a subdivision into 30 dynasties was adopted in Egyptology based on the written sources of Manetho, a Greek historian and priest, who reconstructed the history of ancient Egypt in his study “Aegyptiaca” (c. 282–246 BCE). To write his work (known to us only thanks to later historians) Manetho consulted ancient Egyptian official documents containing lists of pharaohs. Among the examples of these lists, one of the most important is the "Papyrus of Kings" - also known as the "List of Kings" -, which arrived at Museo Egizio due to a purchase made by the consul Drovetti around 1820.

Backside - Verso

It is a chronological list written in hieratic, preserving 11 columns of Egyptian rulers. It starts from the primordial mythological period, with the divine kingdoms of Geb, Osiris, Horus, Seth, and Maat, up to the end of the Second Intermediate Period (1650 BCE). The title, names and duration of the reign in years, months and sometimes even days are recorded for each sovereign. The list of kings mentions rulers of great importance such as Menes-Narmer (c. 2900 BCE) the first non-divine ruler listed, and also Djoser (2592–2566 BCE), the pharaoh who erected the first great pyramid in history.

The King List explained by Kim Ryholt

Frontside - Recto

Despite its value for the history of ancient Egypt, the Papyrus of Kings was written on “recycled paper”. The recto (“the front”) of the papyrus, preserves a tax register dated to the time of King Ramesses II (1279–1213 BCE). It mentions numerous high officials of the temples of Sobek and Amun and several superintendents at the head of the fortresses located along the southern border of Egypt. The list of kings was written later, on the verso - “the back” of the scroll.

The Tax Register explained by Rob Demarée

New reconstruction and restoration

Kim Ryholt and Myriam Krutzsch

Over the last 200 years, thanks to the efforts of numerous scholars, it was possible to combine most of the approximately 300 fragments. The last restoration took place in 1930 by Hugo Ibscher (Berlin) and Erminia Caudana (Turin), who cleaned and repositioned the fragments with thin strips of silk. On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the deciphering of the hieroglyphs, the papyrus was completely restored in 2022 by Myriam Krutzsch (Berlin). The restoration project followed the new reconstruction developed by Kim Ryholt (Copenhagen), who in recent years has devoted himself to the study of manuscript. He added numerous fragments that were not included in previous editions and rearranged many other fragments that were included but in their wrong positions.

Restoration by Myriam Krutzsch

200 Years of Research

History of Studies from 1822 to 2022


According to contemporary scholars, the papyrus was purchased in a complete state but became fragmented afterwards during its transport. It is most likely that it was already a mass of fragments like most of the Deir el-Medina material.



Champollion studied the fragments and undertook the initial sorting of them in Turin, identifying 47 fragments out of around 300. He made facsimiles of each piece as well as of several columns.


Seyffarth identified and arranged nearly 200 fragments. He undertook the first restoration by mounting the fragments onto “papier végétal” (vegetable fibre paper).


Lepsius’ first nearly complete facsimile of the List of Kings followed Seyffarth’s arrangement, as well as numbering fragments 1-164.


Wilkinson made a new copy of the back of the papyrus (containing the List of Kings) and for the first time, copied the front as well, which bears a taxation text.


Ibscher detached the fragments from the vegetable fibre paper used by Seyffarth. He cleaned each individual fragment and repositioned them using thin strips of silk.


Farina published the first extensive edition with photos and a hieroglyphic transcription, based on an extensive examination of the papyrus. He rearranged and added a few more fragments to Ibscher’s 1930 mounting.


Caudana was assisting Ibscher and, following the indications of Farina (who studied the text), she later added minor fragments, which were not included by Ibscher himself.


Gardiner improved Farina’s transcription and also described the unplaced fragments, without translations or commentaries: only short notes. He modified the position of a few fragments previously put into place by Farina.


Various researchers made transcriptions, notes and comments on the List of Kings and the taxation text. However, no complete edition of the List has been written since Farina in 1938. Ryholt studied the fragments in detail and created a new reconstruction and arrangement of the columns. He put several of Gardiner’s unplaced fragments into place and modified the position of some fragments previously laid down by Gardiner.


Krutzsch detached all old restoration strips, cleaned and consolidated nearly 300 fragments. The papyrus fragments were mounted on a sheet of Japanese paper instead of only strips of this material. This is the first time that a papyrus has been mounted in such a way at Museo Egizio.

Timeline King List

200 Years of Research: History of Studies from 1822 to 2022

(Copyright: Piera Luisolo/Susanne Töpfer, Museo Egizio)

Temporary exhibition - Turin King List

September 27th till November 21st

On the occasion of the bicentenary of the deciphering of hieroglyphs by Jean-François Champollion, the famous "Papyrus of the Kings" will be exhibited in a room equipped with multimedia tools and infographics that will reveal its history and contents. The temporary exhibition is open from September 27th till November 21st. 

Find out more (Instructions for the interactive station of the King List)

Exhibition installation

Progetto scientifico

Kim Ryholt

Susanne Töpfer

Sara Aicardi


Curatore della mostra

Susanne Töpfer

con il contributo di

Enrica Ciccone


Coordinamento organizzativo

Virginia Cimino


Progetto di allestimento

Enrico Edoardo Barbero

con il contributo di

Maria Vallese


Visual design e progetto grafico

Piera Luisolo


Supporto per la revisione dei testi

Divina Centore

Shenali Boange


Restauro del papiro

Myriam Krutzsch,

ÄMP SM Berlin


Si ringrazia per la collaborazione per il restauro

Friederike Seyfried,

Ägyptisches Museumund Papyrussammlung der Stattlichen Museen (ÄMP SM) zu Berlin


Il Museo Egizio ringrazia per il generoso supporto

La Consulta per la Valorizzazione dei

Beni Artistici e Culturali di Torino


Gli Scarabei

Associazione Sostenitori Museo Egizio di Torino



Contenuti Multimediali

Chiara Mastino e Robin Studio


Ditta di allestimento

Antiqua Restauri


Fornitore hardware

Ribes Solutions

Bibliography (selection)

  • Farina, Giulio. Il papiro dei Re. Rome: G. Bardi, 1938.
  • Gardiner, Alan H. The Royal Canon of Turin. Oxford: V. Ridler, 1959.
  • Helck, Wolfgang. Untersuchungen zu Manetho und den ägyptischen Königslisten. Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1956.
  • Ryholt, Kim. “The Late Old Kingdom in the Turin King-list and the Identity of Nitocris”. Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde 127 (2000): 87–100.
  • Ryholt, Kim. “The Turin King-list”. Ägypten und Levante 14 (2004): 135–155.
  • Seyffarth, Gustav. Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Literatur des alten Ägyptens. Leipzig: Barth, 1833.
  • Töpfer, Susanne, "Some Turin Papyri Revisited: A Look at Material Features and Scribal Practices". in:  Marilina Betrò , Michael Friedrich and Cécile Michel (eds), The Ancient World Revisited: Material Dimensions of Written Artefacts, Volume 37 in the series Studies in Manuscript Cultures 37, Berlin 2024, pp. 222-225.;
  • Wilkinson, John G. The Fragments of the Hieratic Papyrus at Turin, containing the Names of Egyptian Kings, with the Hieratic Inscription at the Back. London: T. Richards, 1851.

Museo Egizio