Kawab is the name of an ancient Egyptian prince of the 4th Dynasty. He was the eldest son of King Khufu and Queen Meritites I. Kawab served as vizier and was buried in the double mastaba G 7110–7120 in the east field which is part of the Giza Necropolis.

Kawab's sarcophagus
Kawab's sarcophagus
TitleCrown Prince of Egypt
Spouse(s)Hetepheres II
ChildrenPrince Duaenhor
Prince Kaemsekhem
Prince Mindjedef
Queen Meresankh III
Parent(s)King Khufu
Queen Meritites I


K3 wˁb
His Ka is pure
Era: Old Kingdom
(2686–2181 BC)
Egyptian hieroglyphs

Kawab was the eldest son of Pharaoh Khufu and Meritites I and half-brother of pharaohs Djedefre and Khafre. He was possibly born during the reign of his grandfather Sneferu. Kawab married his sister Hetepheres II. They had at least three sons named Duaenhor, Kaemsekhem and Mindjedef and a daughter Meresankh III.[1]

Kawab died during the reign of his father[2] so the next ruler was Djedefre, who married his widow Hetepheres II. It used to be believed that Djedefre had Kawab murdered, since Djedefre was buried in Abu Rawash, instead of Giza, which was the custom. Djedefre's pyramid was also vandalized, but it is now thought that the tomb was vandalized much later, that is, during Roman times.[1]

Kawab's titles included officiant of Anubis, Priest of Serket, King's son of his body, King’s eldest son of his body, hereditary prince, chief of the ten(s) of Upper Egypt, sole companion of love, vizier (the title of vizier occurs on a statue from Mitrahina).[3]


The full list of titles of Kawab were:[4]

Title Translation Jones Index
imy iz he who is in the iz-bureau, councillor 247
iry-pˁt hereditary prince/nobleman, 'keeper of the patricians' 1157
ˁȝ dwȝw assistant of Duau 1308
wr di.w pr ḏḥwty Greatest of the Five in the temple of Thoth 1471
ḥȝty-ˁ count 1858
ḥm-nṯr srḳt priest of Serket 2120
ḥts(?) Inpw ... Reading unknown but related to Anubis (Inpw) 2501
ḫrp iȝwt nbwt nṯrwt director of every divine office 2541
ẖry-ḥbt ḥry-tp chief lector priest, lector priest in charge 2860
zȝ nswt king's son 2911
zȝ nswt n ẖt.f King's son of his body 2912
zȝ nswt smsw king's eldest son 2913
zȝ nswt n ẖt.f smsw king's eldest son of his body 2914
smr wˁty n(y) mrwt sole companion, possessor of love 3277
tȝyty zȝb ṯȝty he of the curtain, chief justice and vizier 3706
wr 10 šmˁ Greatest/Great one of the ten of Upper Egypt 1437

Translations and indexes from Dilwyn Jones.[5]


Kawab was buried in a large double mastaba G 7110-7120 in the east field which is part of the Giza Necropolis. Mastaba G 7110 belonged to Kawab's wife. Her name was found in the chapel. G 7120 belonged to Kawab.[6] A relief in the door way shows Kawab standing before his mother:

zȝ.s mr.s kȝ-wˤb, zȝt nṯr.s ḫrp jmȝt sšmt mrt-jt.s mwt.f mst n ḫwfw
"Her son, her beloved, Ka-wab, the daughter of her god, she who is in charge of the affairs of the jmAt, Meritites, his mother, who bore (him) to Khufu."[3]

Four burial shafts were constructed as part of the mastaba. Shaft G 7110A was never used. Shaft G 7110B was originally intended for Hetepheres II, but was never finished and shows no sign of ever being used. This is most likely due to the fact that Hetepheres remarried after the death of her husband. Shaft G 7120A was the burial place of Kawab. A red granite sarcophagus was made for Kawab and found in place. The sarcophagus is inscribed with the following text:

1) "A boon which the king gives and Anubis, foremost of the divine booth, a burial in the necropolis as a possessor of a well provided state before the great god, officiant of Anubis, priest of Selket, Kawab

2) a boon which the king gives and Anubis, foremost of the divine booth, a burial in the necropolis in the western cemetery, having grown gracefully old, the king’s son of his body, Kawab

3) king’s eldest son of his body, officiant of Anubis, Kawab."[3]

After deathEdit

Several centuries after Kawab died, Prince Khaemweset, son of Ramesses II, restored Kawab's statue in the temple of Memphis.[7]

In popular cultureEdit

The film adaptation of David Macaulay's 1975 book Pyramid depicts Kawab as being killed by an ambush near the border between Egypt and Nubia.


  1. ^ a b Dodson, Aidan and Hilton, Dyan. The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson. 2004. ISBN 0-500-05128-3
  2. ^ Dodson & Hilton, p.59
  3. ^ a b c Simpson, William Kelly. The Mastabas of Kawab, Khafkhufu I and II. Giza Mastabas 3. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1978. pg 1-8, Plate I-X, Retrieved from gizapyramids.org Archived 2008-10-11 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Baud, Michel, Famille royale et pouvoir sous l'Ancien Empire Egyptien 1 & 2 IFAO, 1999, [http://gizamedia.rc.fas.harvard.edu/images/MFA-images/Giza/GizaImage/full/library/baud_famille_1.pdf - PDF from Digital Giza (2 parts), ISBN 2-7247-0248-4.
  5. ^ Jones, Dilwyn, An Index Of Ancient Egyptian Titles Epithets And Phrases Of The Old Kingdom 1 & 2 BAR, 2000, ISBN 1-84171-069-5.
  6. ^ Porter, Bertha and Moss, Rosalind, Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Statues, Reliefs and Paintings Volume III: Memphis, Part I Abu Rawash to Abusir. 2nd edition (revised and augmented by Dr Jaromir Malek, 1974. Retrieved from gizapyramids.org
  7. ^ "Kawab". Archived from the original on 2010-06-13. Retrieved 2010-05-08.