Merka was a high official who lived during the reign of the Horus Qa'a, at the end of the 1st Dynasty. Through his elaborate titulary, we learn that he was a Sem-priest and a member of the aristocracy of his time. It has been proposed that he may have been a member of the royal family, but this is solely based on the unfounded assumption that the highest offices were reserved for the royal kinsmen.

Some of his religious titles may connect Merka to the cult of Anubis. He was also a priest of the goddess Neith, who, at this period was one of the most important divinities of the Ancient Egyptian pantheon. This too has been interpreted as an indication that Merka was a member of the royal family, but again, this is pure conjecture.

Seal impression found in tomb S3505 in Saqqara, naming Merka.

Seal impression found in tomb S3505 in Saqqara, naming Merka. The traces of signs above his name indicate that he was a Sem-priest.
Source: Kaplony, Inschriften der ägyptischen Frühzeit III, Tafel 86, abb. 322.

Stela of Merka listing his titulary.
Source: Emery, Archaic Egypt, pl. 30.

Merka’s primary administrative function was administrator of the desert, which would have put him in charge of the guarding of the desert frontiers of Egypt and the organisation of expeditions into the desert to obtain precious stones and other materials.
He was in charge of the administration of the palace. As such, he was a “controller of the tent” and a “controller of the palace”. A seal impression found in his tomb mentioning a Kherepka as “controller of the palace” may indicate that Merka may only have held this title temporarily. The palace in question appears to have been located in Memphis.He was also connected to the weaving mills and the harem at Memphis, or at least part thereof.
He was also a “follower of the King” and a “captain of the royal barque". 

Merka was buried in an impressive mastaba at Saqqara, S3505. Among the material found in this tomb were seal impressions, scales in Egyptian alabaster and in schist and a stela listing the titles that Merka held during his life. 

© Jacques Kinnaer 1997 - 2017