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A Guide to Ancient Thebes

Second Edition
.Jill Kamil
Photo graphs by Alista ir Duncan and George Allen
Plans by Hassan Ibrahim
Associated companies, branches and representatives
throughout the world
Text Longman Group Ltd 1973, 197
Photographs Middle East Archive,
and, for the photograph on page 31,
the publishers thank Mrs Hackforth Jones,
Robert Harding Associates,
who hold the copyright.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication
may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system,
or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording
or otherwise, without the prior permission of
the Copyright owner.
First published 1973
Second edition 1976, reprinted 1977
ISBN 0-582-78065-9
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Kamil, Jill.
Luxor: a guide to ancient Thebes.
1. Thebes, Egypt. 1. Title.
DT73T3K35 197
ISBN 0-582-78065-9
Printed in Hong Kong by
Sherk Wah Tong Printing Press Ltd
Pylon of Ramses II
Court of Ramses II, Colonnade
Court of Arnenhotep III
Hypostyle Hall
Birth Room
Sanctuary of Alexander the Great
Traditionalism of Egyptian Design
Background 37
First Pylon, Great Court, Shrine of Seti II 38
Temple of Ramses III 41
Triumphal Monument of Sheshonk I 42
Second Pylon, Great Hypostyle Hall 42
Third Pylon, Pavilion of Sesostris I, Central Court 48
Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Pylons 50
Hall of Records, Sanctuary 53
Great Festival Temple of Thutmose III 54
Rear Section of Temple of Arnon, Sacred Lake 56
Southern Buildings, Karnak Cachette, Seventh to
Tenth Pylons 56
Ikhnatnn Temple Project
Temp le of Khonsu
Temple of Osiris and Opel
Templ e of \I ur
Grear Hypost ylc Hall
Exte rior
Co lossi of 'Iem non
Background 72
Mor tuar y Tem ple of Seri I (Kum a ) 72
Mortuar y T emple of Queen Hatsch ep sut (Oc r eI
Int roduction 75
Lower and Centr al Courts 79
Pun t Colonnade 79
Shrine of Harbor 80
Birrh Colonnade 82
Small and Upper Courts, Sanctuary 83
Der el Bahr i-Shaft and Cavern
T he Shaft at Der el Bahri 84
The Cavern at Ocr el Bahri 85
Mortuary Templ e of Ramses II (The Rarnasseum)
Introduction 85
Ent rance Pylon 87
First and Second Courts 88
Hypostylc Hall 90
Smaller hyposryle halls 90
T he Port rayal of Rarnses II 90
Mortuary Tem ple of Ramses III (:\ Ied ine t Ha bu )
Introduction 92
Fi rst Pylon, First Court 94
Second Pylon, Second Court 94
Ba ckground
Tomb of T'ur enkharnon (62)Q
Tomb of Seri I (17)
Tom b of:\ men hote p 11(35)
Tomb of Rarnses VI (9)
Tomb of Ramse s III (It)
Tomb of Rarnses IX (6)
Tomb nf Ha rrnhab (57)
Tomb of T h ut m ose III (34)
Backgr ound
Tom b of Nefer-Tari (66)
Tomb of Amon-Hir-Khopshcf (55)
Tomb of Queen Tiri (52)
She i kh Abd cI Kuma
Tomb of Na kht (52)
Tomb of Ramose (55)
Tomb of Khacrnhct (57)
Tomb of Lserhct, fi rst Prophet (5 ')
To mh of Lscrher, Royal Scr ibe (56)
1 7
:\ile Yall ey
Luxor T empl e 21
Ka rnak Complex
\HI :\I TE\ IPLE OF :\ \ 10 :\ :

Ar ea between Pylons 1 and 2

Area between Pylons 2 and 3
IJ Area between Pylons .1 and 6
Pylon 6 and Sanctuary
8 Festival T emple of T hurrnose III
Karnak T emple : Southern Buildings
Temple of Khonsu 62
' 0
Anci ent Thebes P.\PERS
Tomb of Rekhmire (100)
Tomb of Ernunzch
Tomb of Amenernheb lil5)
Tomb of Sennofer (rl l)
l:pper Enclosures
Tomb of \ lenna (()(J )
Tomb of Inr efoqer l(0)
To mb of Harmhab (7S)
To mb of l neni (Enn e) (8 1)
Tomb of \lenkheperrasonb (86)
Tomb of Kh er u-ef' {rqz)
Ocr el Medina
Tomb of Scnnurcm (36)

(including wor k in progress in 1( 76)
(including table of Ki ngs of the New Ki ngdom)
II Mortuar y Tem ple of Seti I (Kuma)
J 2 Mortuary Tem ple of Hatsch ep sut (Der el Bahri )
J ' Mo r tuary T emple of Ramses II (Ram asseum) 86 .,
q Medinet Habu Comp lex
15 Mortuary Temple of Ramses III
Tombs of Kings
16 Tomb of T ut enkham on (62 ) 112
17 Tomb of Seti 1 (17) I I:Z
18 Tomb of Arn enhotep II (35) 122
I Q Tomb of Ramses VI (9) I:Z5
20 Tomb ofRamses UI (II ) 128
21 T omb of Ra mses lX (6)
22 Tom b of Har m ha b (57)
2.1 Tomb ofThutmose III (34)
' ..
T omb of Xe fer-Tar'i (66) [34
T omb of Amon-Ilir-Khopshef (55) 135
2() Tomb of T i t i (52) [35
T ombs of the Xoblcs [38
'20 7
T omb of :'-iakht (5' ) 14
, S Tomb of Ramose (55) I.B
z t) Tom b of Kha errrhet (57) 14i
0 Tom b ufUser he t (51) 14i
l Tom b o f Userhet (50) 15
T omb of Rekhmir e (100) [50
. lJ
T om b of Emunzeh (8.. )
T omb of Am enemheb (85)
T omb o f Sen nofer (96) 154
b T omb of ,\Ien n a (69) 159
T omb of Inr e foqer (60)
S Tomb o f Harmhab (78)
T omb o f l nen i (8 1)
Tomb of :\I enkheperrasonb (86)
.. [
Tomb of Kheru-ef {rqa )
Tomb of Sennutem (36)
.. 3
Temple of Der el Medina [7 0
References III rhe pl an s an d ma ps :
Rden: Jll;C; S in rhe fe\! (0 the pbns arc always in full 11'140 l -t: d e.
hi/Ill numbers JnJ lett ers in hradx:s refer to points ofinterest wnhin a parucch r plan. ( P.l ).
(1J..1), for examp le, indica te first (l}lnr:, second CH:.
Con,'" ph ot ogr a ph :
Karnak : sphin a-Iined avenue leading tr om the ceremonial In rhe rirv fll tHOao.d
the temple cornprcx.
On the eastern bank of [he River :\ile, nearly seven hundred
kilometres south of Cairo, there once stood an unpretent ious
village call ed Waser. It was no different from hundreds of others
and as yet had no in kling of its dest ined gr owth into the pivot of a
stupendous civilizat ion. T hi s was the site of ancient T he bes and of
pre sent -day Luxor.
Like peasant s all over Egvpt since the begi nning of histor y, it s
inhabitants were super st itious . T he v lived mu ch as thev do tod ay
in many isolat ed r ural areas, in villages compo sed of sun -dried mud
hr ick houses separated oy nar row lanes. Their lives were largely
governed by t he cycl e of the Ni le flood which they had learn ed to
channel and to exploit. Because its be nefi ts and its haza rds came
with unt iri ng regularity, th e lives of the people were simi larl y
rhythmic, following an unchangi ng soc ial patt ern .
This enigmat ic universe awakened speculation in the minds of
the Egypt ians long before dynastic times. T he primitive dwellers of
the Ni le Valley, in Waser as elsewh er e, devised explanations, at
once naive and del igh tfully imaginati ve, of the alternat ion of night
and day, o f the glitter ing heave nly bodies and of all good thi ngs on
earth. T he world as they saw it was created by superna t ural beings
who revealed the mselves in th e heavenly bodi es. Arum, who
created himsel fo ur of himselfon the top of a hill th at emerged from
the et ern al ocean, brought forth four childr en : Shu and Tefn ut ,
Keb and Nul. Keb, the god of the earth, and Nut, t he goddess of
the sky, were one. T he y were locked in a lover s' emb race, Keb
beneath Nut. Shu, representing the atmosph er e, eme rged from th e
primaeval waters and for cibl y separated the t wo by slipping be-
twe en them and raising Nut aloft in hi s outstre tched arms to her
new abode . Kcb and Nut were father and moth er of four diviniti es :
Osiris, who became associated with the Nile and the fer tile lan ds
bordering it, Isis, Se t and Nephthys .
T he grea test ph enomenon of nature, the sun, nat ur ally made th e
most powerful impression on the Ni le dwel lers. Though uni versall y
recogni sed as the pr incipal heaven ly body, it was inter preted
difle rentlv in different areas . The centre of the cu lt was On
(He liopoli s) where the Sun God was known as Ra (the s?lar orb) or
.-\t um (t he sett ing; sun). Lnder one pn e.sthood he was Khepri (the
beetle) , under another Horus (the brilliant-pl umed hawk). It was
believed tha t he sailed acr oss the heaven ly ocean U1 a boat each dav,
from the pink-speckled to the bl ood-red sun.set. With the last
ravs of the day he t ranslerred to a barge that. the voyage
rhrouzh the netherworld. n-rnpora rily illuminatin g It S darkness.
In these prehistoric times religious bel iefs devel oped in sepa rate
and indep endent ar eas. was a patron deitv 10 each town or
village: a dei ty to whom the inha bitants pr ayed for guidance, help
and 'courage.
a deity they court ed wit h offerings, prayers and
sacr ifices. The names of these local dei ties bore no resemb lance
from one area to another. In the linl e village of Wa set, Wast was
the local goddess ; Monru was the local god of Armanr some ten
kilometres south of Waser ; and Arnon, who was lat er to become rhe
nationalgod, was at this time no more than one of the eight local
deities of Ashrnounein, a distr ict of Middle Egypt.
In addit ion to the local deities evidence exists that even from
early times there were a grea t many generally accepted religious
concepts not confined to a limi ted area. The crocod ile for instance,
t he evil spirit that dwelt in water, was known down the length of
the Nile, as were demon spi rits and lesser deities like the good god
Bes who helped women through childbirt h.
As time passed. commercial and admi nist rative intercour se
devel oped and largely incompatible beliefs no longer remained
local. As a town or dist rict g-rew, so the local deity ext ended its
jurisdiction. The people consequently adopted a new deity and
erected new shrines to him whi lst maint aining the worship of their
original local god. Sometimes a stronger deity managed completely
to overshadowa weaker. This is what happened in Wase t , The ti ny
local goddess was almost swept aside by the strong war-god of
..... rrnant , t he hawk-h eaded Mo nro.
It is not sur prising that the independent provinces of Egy pt
should have tended towards political unity. They slowly merged
unti l two power ful states came into existence : a northern kingdom
which largely incl uded the Del ta, and a southern kingdom which
extended south to Aswan , T he rule rs of the nort hern kingdom had
as thei r insignia rhe red croum, and th eir capital was Buto in the
north-western sect ion of the Delta. The sout hern capita l was
Nc kheb (EI Kab) near the modern town of Edfu on the lett bank of
the 'iile, and the rul er s had as t heir insignia the whit e croton. Eac h
state also had irs own national emb lem : the papyrus in the north
and the lotu s in the south.
During t he long pre - dynasti c years whi le these two capitals
flourished independentl y. someti mes peacefully, someti mes clash-
ing in armed st r ife, ancient T hebes slumbered. When t he north ern
kingdom overcame the sou t hern and the two were united into a
single st ate with the City of the Sun (Heliopo lis) as its religious
capita l. t he people of ancient Thebes continued to live as did the ir
fathers and their fathers' fat her s before them: a simpl e rur al exis-
tenc e where the annual flood was t he all- impo rtant event of the
year and rhe regular cha nnelling of irs flow the most creative
activitv. Little was known of acti vities elsewhere.
In rhe north " I enes founded the 1St Dynasty and set up his
capital at Memphis. ..... frer vcars of frustrated effort toward s uni ty
came the ulti mate solu tion .' The Pharaoh of Egypt was henceforth
a god. the god- king- of a single unit ed cou ntry . And not onlv was he
to be recogni sed as di vine and worshi pped as such duringhis life-
time, but his cult sh ould be continued for ever after in a mortuary
temple. 0
With King Zoser we pass from the Eilrl )' Dynast ic Prrsod of the
first two dynasties (to J t oo-2686 B. C.) to the period of the Old
Kingdom, extending from the j rd to the 6th Dynasties (c. 2686-
2 l SI II.C. ). Zoscr , the first god- king. firm ly established .\ Iemphite
su premacy. In his reign vessels over fifry met res long " ere con-
structed for r iver traffi c, the coppe r mi nes in Sinai were exploit ed,
commerce was carr ied on with the Phoenician coast, cedarwo od
was imported from J.ebanon, sla\L'S from"uhia...... nd he instructed
his gi fted ar chitec t, lmh orep, to erect the first large structur e of
stone known in histor y : the Step Pyramid at Sakkara, Bur in Thebes
the most dramat ic occurrence had been rhe adop tion of Montu as
local deity and the erecting of mod est shri nes to him .
Then came the -lt h Dy nasty and the epoch of powerful monarc hs
whose great pyramids at Giza and Dahs hur secured them undyi ng
fame : Snefru, Kh ufu, Khafrc and Menkure. Onl y a st rong and
effect ive govern ment such as th at under Khu fu could have en-
visaged and organised. as we assu me that it did, the erection of the
g- reat pyra mid of Gi za, by one hundred thousand men over t went y
year s. T his was the dev elopment of org-anised society under one
cont r olling mind and it was a peri od of unprecedented gran deur .
But Thebes was hard lv affected.
In the 5 th Dynasty Egypt's civiliza tion attai ned new height s. In
particular her art rea ched a degree of per fection never known
Plan I : Nile Valley
befor e. Co mmerce existed with Punt on the Somali coast. The
qu arr ies of Wadi Harnmamar in the east ern des ert were opened.
The benefits were being reaped of years of intelligen t, single-
minded and imaginati ve administration . But the n somethi ng
ha ppened thai was to have far-reaching consequences. T he un-
limi ted power enjoyed by the Ph ara ohs was partly passed to thei r
officials, and the result was an inevita ble weakening of Ph aronic
power. In fact the oth Dyn asty saw the local governo rs actuall y
sha king themselves free of the Ph araoh ' s yoke and estah lishing
And Thebes' Pol it ical awareness was da wning at last . After the
fall of the mona rchy in .\ l emphis there was a readj ustment of the
scales of power. This was in what historians refer ro as the Firs'
l ntcrmediatc Period, covering the 7t h to the lo t h Dy nas ties tr. 2181-
2040 B.C. ) . Some of t he independent kings in th e north established
the mse lves at Her acleopol is and oth ers at Memphis. The disorga ni-
sation and weakn ess of the j t h and 8th Dyna sti es, which lasted for
a mer e thirt y year s. gave way to 285 years of Her acleopolitan ru le
in the oth and l oth Dynasties when some degr ee of order was
rest ored. Although littl e is known about th em, the last rule rs in th e
family line were power ful monarchs. And in t he sout h power was
seized by anot her family of monarchs, whose capi tal was Armant ,
neighb our ing Thebes . Toward, the close of th e lo th Dynasty thi s
famil y force d thei r way northwards from Thebes. L itt le by littl e
the y exte nde d their authority, annexing local pr ovinces and
establishing themselves until the inevitable clash wit h the r ulers of
the nor th . The stru ggle was fierce and long and res ult ed in tri umph
for the sou th. T hus, after almost three centuries of'feudal ism, Entef
and Menr uh otep succ eede d in reuniting the country. T heban
supr emacy was recog nised, trade was resumed, expansionist aims
were reborn . And Amon was at last introduced to Thebes, not as a
local deit y, like Wast and Monru before him, but as th e national
The Jl iddle Kingdomcovers the r t th and r zth Dy nas t iesf c. 2040 -
1j 86 B.C.) . The i rrh Dynasty was Egypt' s mOSI pr osperous era
since that of the pyram id builders. The first Phar aoh over the
reuni ted country was Mentuhot cp II. Amen emh cr I, whose rul e
heralded a time of gr eat bu ilding acti vit y and a lit erary and artistic
revival, established the rzth Dynasty. T here is hardl y a town in
Egy pt, and T heb es is no exception, wit hout some trace of the
bu ildi ng activities of the Pharaohs of this dynast y. Goldsmi ths ,
jewellers and rel ief work ers perfected their skills, while architects
1 3 0 " ~
raised some oft he mo st beaut iful temples eve r known ,
For some t wo hundred years Amenernher ' s successors main-
rained a prosperous rule and Egyp uan in flu ence was extended
abroa d : along: the Red Sea ro Nubia and Punt , around the Vlediter-
ranean [Q Libva. Palestine and Svr ia, even to Cre te, the A. egean
Islands and the mainland of Greece. But though nat ives ofTh'ebes
t he rulers had their capital in the Fayourn.
With the passin!! of the 'vl iddle Ki ngdom we come ro a time of
decli ne, (he Second l ntermedtat P{' r;IIJ, covering the rjrh 10 (he
I ; t h Dynasties (c. 1786 -1567 B.C. ) . T his was the er a of the ascend -
ancy of the Hylrsns. Coming Ii-omthe direc tion of Syria , these tri bes
occupied Egypt at the end of the i jth Dynasty and ruled for OI W
150 years unt il the 17th Dynasty. T he Egyptian prince Sekcncn rc
and hi s son Kumosc finally rose against the bru tal invaders.
Kumosc' s brorher Ahmose establishe d the rSth Dvnastv and the
.VellJ Ki ngdom, which included the t Sth, n jt h and zot h Dynast ies
(c. 1567 -1 085 B.C. ) . He completed the task begun by Kam ose,
finally rid t he country of t he Hyksos plague and began a period of
gigantic imperial expansion in West Asia and the Sudan.
It was only now that T hebes began to develop. .-\s befitted a new
capital, the expansion was slow at first but it continued with in-
creasing moment um unt il the one-time village was transformed int o
rhe sear of a world power never before witnessed. 'vlil itary con-
quests and terr itorial expansion went hand in hand with an art ist ic
and ar chitectu ral revolut ion of unpar alleled grande ur. Following
the accession and conquests of Thutmose HI , who pus hed the
nort hern fronti ers of the country to t he Euphrates, booty from
conquered nations and tri butes from the provinces of the then
known powers poured into the giganti c storehouse of T hebes. The
greater part of the wealth was bestowed upon Amon who, with the
aid of t he now influentia l priest hood, emerged at last as 'Sola r God',
'The King of Gods ', t he great Amon-Ra .
T he power of Amon was evervwhere in evidence, Ma gnificent
templ es were built for him, elaborately emb ellished and adorne d.
It was both a duty and a pr ivilege to serve him and successive
Pharaohs syste matically endeavour ed to outdo their predecessors
in the magnificence of thei r architectu ral and art isti c endeavours.
'Hundred- Gated Thebes' was at the peak of its glory.
Pr imitive animal deities had long ago given way to vari ations of
the hum an for m wit h animal heads or, where the head was also
human, adorn ed wit h plaited beard or characteristic headge ar as
dist inguis hin g mar ks. Arnon-Ra himse lf was variously represente d:
as 3 ram with curved horns ; as a man wit h a ram ' 5 head : as J man
with a headgear 0; two upright plu mes in whose hands were a
scept re as a symbol of power, and t he symbol oflife. He was some-
times depi cted standing, sometimes seated majesticall y holdi ng his
emb lems. On ly the Phar aoh of Egypt or the high pri est deleg at ed
in his stead were permit ted into the sacr ed sanc tuarv of Amon. or
Holv of Holies. .-\nd only on cert ain da vs 0; the l ear was the deirv
shown to the populace: carried in cxrravnganr procession along
garla nde d thoroughfares. .-\mon guided the Pharaoh in civic
affairs, granted him vicrory over his enemies, favoured all who
served him. -\mon gave divine protection .
When Arnon was dis hon oured by .-\menhot ep IV (Ikhnaron) ,
who worshipped the life-giving rays of the full solar disc of Aron
in place of the ascending sun Ra, thi s in ret rospect affected T hebes
hut slightly. .Although murals wer e defaced, shrines destroyed and
the image of Amon hacked away. his dethronement was shor t-
lived, T urenkhamon, on succeeding to the throne, started the
rest oration of damaged temples, and Harrnhah, Rarnscs I, Seti I
and Ramses I I con t inued t he wor k of rehuilding, reconstr ucti ng
and renov ating the temples, to restore the reputatio n of the King-
of Gods.
Down the vears Arnon's wealth increased cnormo uslv. He
possessed (WCI 5,000 divine st at ues, more than 8t ,000 slaves,
vassals and servants, well over .p J ,000 head of catt le, .0 3 gardens
and orc har ds, /)91,33+ acres of/and, 83 ships, +6 bui lding yards and
65 cities and town s.'
The arch-priests, already wielding a growing political power as
a result of their very special reinstated position, gradually came to
reg-ard themsel ves as the ruling- power of the state. Their long-
awaited opportu nity finally carne when Ikhnatori' s religious revolt
was followed, in the zorh Dvn astv, bv a success ion of weak ru lers.
This enabled Arnon's pr iests to usu rp the throne and for a time to
unite priest hood with royalt y. T he days of Egyp tian conquest were
ove r.
To ende avour to date the fall of T hebes is difficult. One could
say it start ed as far back as the t8th Dynasty when Ikhnaron, the
sensitive, peace-loving Pha raoh who beli eved in a uni versal god,
shifted the capital to Tel el Arnar na and failed to maintain his
foreign inter ests . One could date it to the reign of Rarnscs 1I in th e
19th Dynasty when, in his concern to place his armies more
strategica lly for hi s bat t les against the Hitt ites, he transferre d the
royal residence to Per-Rarnscs in the eastern pan of t he Delta. Or
one could see the zorh Dynast y as the tu rnin!, point, and certainly
Rarnses I I I and his ever -wea kening successors fell more and mor e
under the voke of the pr iesthood and undoubtedlv cont ributed to
the collapse of the stare. But the real downward slope of the g- raph,
and its cont inu ed dro p, came in the z rst Dynast y, just over one
thousand years D.C.. when Hrihor made Egypt an ecclesiast ical
stat e. Thus began th e peri od known by histori ans as the Late
Period of the z i st to the 25t h Dynasties (t. 1085 .6 63 B.C. ).
Nubia rook advantage of the weakened capital 10 gain ind epen-
dence. Palestine and Syria wer e lost . T he thr one was the n us ur ped
by Li bvan monarchs who ruled for nearlv two hundred Years. T hev
w'ere in turn ousted by the :'\ ub ian s. T h ~ gro wing Assyr ian empire
adva nced on Egypt, plunder ing the cap ital and overt hrowing the
Nu bian rul ers..\nd th ough the country shook off the occ upying
force s dur ing a short- lived comeback under the kings of the 26th
Dynasty, th e Per sians invaded Egypt in 525 n.c. and the country
became a Persian provi nce. T hen Alexander the Gr eat marched
triumphantly along th e Nile Valley to liberate th e country bu t
actually succeeded in destroying the state' s ind epend ent statu s
once and for all. Finally t he Romans tu rned Egy pt int o a colony.
Yet while T hebes was sinking- into med iocri ty, its conquerors
treated it as a great city and tr ied to preserve and embellish it. T he
\i ubians part icular ly, having assimilated the cultu re of Egypt and
become fanati cal adh er ent s of Amon , sou ght to reinspire T hcban
cult ure and safeguard the city from collapse. T he kings of the 26t h
Dynasty built lesser temples to Amo n and bestowed t heir wealt h,
what remained of it, upon him. The invading army of Cambyses,
though striking as far as Upper Egypt , actually did very litt le
damage to the cit y. T he rule of the Ptolernies is noted for its
architectural activity and the Greeks conscient iously endeavoured
to add to th e splendour of natio nal build ings after a priest had told
Alexander that he was the son of Amon and shou ld revere him. The
Romans too repai red ru ins and bui lt temples in the t radi t ional
style, each retaini ng somet hin g of the ear lier gra ndeur. But it was a
losing hattie. The pas t was not to be recaptured, T hebes could
hardly hi de its well-earned wrinkles and a time-weathered quality
lay over the metropolis.
Willi the advent of the di vine religi ons came syst emat ic destruc-
tion. It happened first in the tombs and shrines where the earl y
Chr istians hid. Lat er th e " pagan" sta t ues were up root ed, sacred
sanctuaries muti lated, atte mpts made to topple obelisks and colossi
and obl itera te forever the visages of the ' hea then gods' . Ikhnar ori' s
acts were half- hearted da bb lings when compar ed with this whole-
sale des truction . The city weakened and cr umb led till it was no
more t han a collect ion ofvi llages,
:\ 1 last, as though wishi ng to protect what remained, the dry
desert winds blew a mantle of sand over the dead cit y. Pa rticle
settl ed fir mly ont o par ticle, layer upon layer, until once loftv
colonnades were half submerged in a sea of sand. Between the
elaboratel y decorated capitals childrens' playgrounds sprang up .
\Iud dwell ings were built by peasants alon gside sculpt ure d wall
and co lumn. Dovecot s were erec ted on arc hit rave and pylon .
Ancient Thebes was gone. ' Luxor' was born : its name bei ng de-
rived from the Arabic El -Oksor. ' the palaces' .
Still the destr uction went on. Slabs from the mon uments with
thei r invaluabl e inscr iptions wer e torn down or redu ced to lime.
Wi nd and sun ate int o the facad es. And the Nile, risi ng and falling
with t he annual flood , continued to play its part in causing ir re-
par able ha rm to t he t reasur es of Amon.
It was left to the modern archeologists, who began to filte r
south wards befor e the rum of the 19th century, to excava te an d
int erpret for us the gol den era of Egypt's histor y. .
Napol eon Bonapart e unlocked t he door to the past. HIS 179S
exp editi on to Egy pt , while militarily disappointin g in its failure to
wre nch political power from the Br iti sh , remains significan t for its
imp ressive archeological rese arch and for t he establishment of the
l nst itut d' Fgypte in Cairo. In fact it was to t he Institut that t he
famous Rosetta S lone, discovered by soldi er s digging a tr ench near
the for t ress of St. J ulian at Rosett a, was sen t. T his stone was quickly
recognised as some sort of decree written in three scr ipts and
thu s a possib le key to the under standi ng of the 'p icture langua ge'
which had been lost si nce t he days of the Roman occ upa tion . The
bottom text was in G reek. At the top of t he stone was the sacr ed
Egy pt ian 'sy mbol wri ting' , understood only by the priests, and in
between t he two was the pop ular script which was un der stood by
the masses. However, the tex ts had to wait a full twenty years, unt il
1822, to be deciph ered. The Frenc h scholar Jean I'r a!,\Cois
Charn pollion who worked on them for ten years finally est ablished
tha t far from the hi eroglyphics being symbols as was supposed,
each pictu re actually represent ed a ph onet ic sound which, com-
bined, spelled out word s. Ch arnpoll ion compi led a dict ionary of
the lost langua ge. It is t hanks to him th at we have an insight int o.
the anci ent religio n, the ma nner s and the custo ms of a peopl e of
long ago and, above all, int o the compl ex political instit utions uf a
civilization that endured for five thousand wars.
For rnanv vcars excavation was domi nated bv the Fr ench. Loret
was responsible for discovering the tombs of Thurrnose Ill ,
Amcnhotep II and Rarnscs I. His cont empo rary Belzoni, who has
gone down in history as OnC of the most ruthless tomb-robbers,
excavated the tomb that surpasses all others in size and arti stic
execution, that of Seti r. In tS20 he said that in his opinion there
were no morc tombs 10 be found in the Vallcv of the Ki ngs. The
French also gave Egypt Mariette. who revealed the delicatel y
car ved reliefs of Queen Har schcpsur' s voyage to the Land of Punt,
and Maspero. who was in charge of the Egyptian Depar tmen t of
Antiqui ties for many year s.
.\ s early as , S-HGcrman expedi tions wcre making such impor-
tant tinds as thc tombs of Ramscs II and \ [ern cptah. T ben in 18j 6
Emil Brugsch, following a local rum our , discovered the ' cache' or
' shaft' at Der el Bahri, containing a hoard of mummies of some of
Egypt' s most important Pharaohs, hidden there lor safety from
tomb- robbers by the priests of t he 20th Dynasty. T his fantast ic
discovery started an avalanche of inter est in Egyptology. England' s
Flinders Petr ic worked with his tcams in the mort uary temp les and
in the Valley of the Ki ngs for many years. It aly' s Professor
Schiaparelli excavated ent husiastically in the Valley of the Queens,
and T . ,\ 1. Davis, thc wealt hy Ame rican who excavated on the
necropolis, said in 19 I2 what Belzoni had said befor e him, that the
Valley of the Kings was now exhausted.
T hen came Howard Cart er and the most cxrraordinarv discovcr v
of all: the intact tomb of Tutcnkhamon" discovered in 192i ,
indicating that the revelations of ancient Thebes had only just
begun. As we show in our concluding chapter, work continues
today on both sides of the Nile at Luxor.
"The u\cd throug hnut for the names of Pha raohs, deiue s, etc. are rhose adopted
James Breast ed .
Plan 2
',0 3,0 40 50
Arncnhorcp III , the rSth Dy nasty Ph araoh an d great -gr andson
of the military gen ius T hutmose I II , buil t the tem ple of Luxor close
to the banks of the :\i1e just sout h of t he city . T hough by this time
Egyptian milit ary power was past its peak, economic condi tions
wit hin th e capi tal wer e sound . Trade was flouri shing with weal th
pouring in from the d istant provinces of the empire, which com-
prised almost all West Asia including Palestine, Syria, Phoenicia
and the western part of the Euphrates, Nubia and L ibva. Extrava-
gant car avans brought gold and silver, met alwar e, ivor yand tim ber ,
spices for t he royal tast e and strange and exoti c animal s to roam in
pri vate gardens. The temples were bursting with tri butes, wall s
and columns were en cr ust ed with ri chness and colo ur, fe asts and
festivals were bountiful, the pace was br isk, the mood cont ent.
Amenhorep r uled in splendour with rela t ively little 10 con cern
him .parr from a Nubian revolt which was qui ckly
qu elled. HIS ASIan su premacy was uncha llenged and he was con-
fident th at his armies wer e st rong enough to mai ntai n his for eign
empire. .\ t homc his vizier s took car e of all matters of state and hel d
the reins of power in t hei r able hands.
Ad vantage was taken of slave labour from 'iubia and Asia, and
.\ menhotep imbued tr ad itional architecture with new lite both bv
enlarging and embe llishing existi ng temples and also by bu ildi ng
new ones . Apart fr om the Luxor temple he com pleted the templ e
to Vl ui , in the great Karnak tr iad (page 65), which had be en begun
by his an ces tors, giving it grace and elega nce. Size was no deter -
ren t, as can be gauged from th e statues at th e ent rance 10 hi s
mort uar y temple on th e necro polis, now known as th e Coloss i of
Mcmnon (pag e 100).
. , T his was per haps the most trouble- free time in Egypt ian histor y.
I he cou ntry was united, the nightmare rul e of the Hyksos was no
more than a bad memor y. T he empire was expansive, slave labou r
cheap, wealth abundant and Amenh orep had every reason to be
the mo st carefree of Pha raohs. He rai sed his bow to beasts and fowl
on his na ti ve soil where his ancestors had ra ised theirs to the ene rnv
on alie n lands. His wife, Queen T iy, was very beaur itu l and c1earl \'
love d by the Pharaoh , as she is depicted in name or person al\Vavs
at his side an d far mor e Ireq uen rlv than was usua l If" rova l
of earlie r ru lers. .
In t he circumstances it is not sur pr ising that Arnen hotcp, archi-
recr urally acti ve and emotionally content, should ha ve deve loped
an interest in hort icul rure. :\ear hi s palace on the necr opo lis his
enor mous art ificial lakc, over 1, 7 00 metres lon g and 500 wide, was
sur rounded by luxu rian t foliage . Bet ween the temple of Luxor
and that of Karn ak he laid out be au tiful gar de ns, lininc the aven ue
with rams carved in sto ne, ea ch with a stat ue of hims elf" between its
for epaws. T he effect must have been one of overwhelmi ng gran deur
as solemn pr ocession s and dazzling ce remon ies passed along th is
splendid avenu e.
At Karnak Amcnh orep I II co nt inued the new the me in archi -
tect ure : the pylon, a huge stone tower slopi ng inwards from the
base. :\ pylon stood on each side of th e ent rance to the temp le.
T hebes was never 10 know berter ; bi gger, mayb e, bu t never bet ter .
Because the temple of Luxo r, like th at of Karnak and in fact
like most other temples throug hout the land, was bui lt nor by a
single architect or according [() a uniform plan, but reflected the
ideas and whims of many successive rulers, it is necessar y before
describ ing t he first pylon, which was actually the last add ition to
t he temple, to have some ide. of how it developed, und er went
alteration, appropriatio n, calculated dest ruct ion and, finally,
excavat ion.
The temple was constructed on the site of a sma ll temple to
Arnon built by the Pharaohs of the t zth Dynast y. Amen hotep III
had his architects rebuild t he modest or igina l sanct uary which was
as always the tirst part of thc temple 10 he built, renovate the sur-
rounding chambers and design a for ecourt of fine, slender colon-
nades. It is this court, with its clus tered papyru s-b ud columns, that
can be seen from the Ni le and that gives the temple its specia l
It was pl anned along tradi tional lines. Like all Egypt ian temples
it had a sanctuary or Holy of Holies with surro unding chambers. a
large colonnaded hall- the hyp ostyle hall (Plan 2 D)-and an open
court (C) . ..1. second court was also plan ned but only the huge
columns of the nave Were erected before the deat h of the Pharaoh.
His son Amcnhotep IV, who later became known as Ikh nat on and
transfer red the roval residence to T el el Arnar na, was far too hostile
towards .\ mon to' comp lete the work. .\ t his time the templ e was
only ' 90 metr es long and 55 metres wide at its gr eatest span. T hr ee
small gra nite shr ines, which had been erected by Thutmose III ,
stood opposite the entrance.
And then came the first of a long series of changes. During the
religious revolution under Amenhorep I V the temple was stripped
of the images and names of the ancient deities, especially t hose
relatin g to Amo n, who even di sapp ear ed from the divine sign that
include d t he name of the Pha raoh , th e ova l cartnuchc.
lkh naton' s successor, T urenkhamon, tra nsfe rred the roval resid-
ence back to Thebes. The wall reliefs of the Luxo r temple were
inscribed with his name only to be changed again to t hat of his
successor Harmhab. It was pr obably Tutenkharnon who had the
walls erected on each side of the columns of the unfinished court
( B) and had the inner surfaces inscri bed with rel iefs.
In the rqth Dynasty Seti I mad e a concerte d eff ort to cont inue
the restorat ion of the wor ship of Amon but added nothing to the
temple's ar chi tectu re. The major alt er at ions were left to that great
Pharonic builder and most celebrated of Egyptian kings, Rarnses II .
His .Iarge colonnaded court (A ) was placed befor e the temple
ot hIS ancestors and he usurped the shrines of Thurrnose II I, alter -
ing the rel iefs to bear his own name . He also erected a massive
pylon, two obelisks and six colossal statue s of himself ar the northern
end of the temple. thus forming an impressive ent rance to t he
whole complex. The temple was now 2(,0 metr es long.
Few furt her alterations took place unti l th e advent of Chris-
tianitv, when the ent ire area bet ween t he sanctuary and t he hypo-
style hall was con' erred Into a church complete with altar in one of
the encl osed chambers at the furt her end. The wall re presenta tions
were plastered over and wher e t he plaster has fallen off we can sec
a jig-saw of Christian saints and ancie n! gods.
One of the chambers ad joining the sanctuary, which was rest ored
by Alexander the Gr eat, was inha bited by the engineer who super-
vised the transport ation of the pink granite obe lisk from t he
entrance of the templ e to the Place de la Con cor de in Par is. It was
the Fr ench who first start ed serio us excavations of the Luxor
temp le and who cleare d most of the med iaeval bui ldings abou t it.
The excep t ion is the Mo sque of Abu eI Haga g, which has withstood
both l ime and argumen t and st ill sta nd s in t he court.
The E I , { ~ pt ian Dc partment of Antiquities has now taken over
the wor k and two of the most ambi tio us tasks are t he reconstr uction
of the massi ve statues of Ramses II at the entran ce and the excava-
lion of t he paved causeway that in anci ent times linked the Luvor
tern pic with that of Karna k. Protected from the elements hy layer s
of firm clay, the sphinxes lining t he road arc being extracted in
nearly per fect condit ion,
Pylon o f Ramses II
(hc main ent rance 10 rhc tem ple of Luxor is by the great Pylon or
Rillnses II (Plan 2 P.I ) , ~ In fronl of it are six enormous stat ues of
Ramses I I, t wo scaled and four standi ng. Were t hese statues nor
can oed from solid granite one might imagine them to ha ve been cast
froma pai r of moul ds. so si milar are t heir solid legs, firmly implant ed
Icer, squ are shoulders, clearcur feat ures and eyes looking for ward
through all eterni ty.
In front of the seated figur es were two pi nk gr anite obe lisks,
T he one in posit ion, now reinforced and repaired, has its basc
ado rne d with th ree praying apes on one side, and rhe inscri ption s
name Ramses II himself JS the builder of this magni ficent tem ple
erected to hono ur :\ mon, blithel y over looking the fact that he was
respo nsible only for adding to the entrance section of a temple that
had stood on site tor over seven hundred vears. T he ot her obelisk
now stands in Paris. '
The ou ter walls of the pylon arc embellished with records of
Ramses I I' s mi litar y campaigns, part icularl y agains t the Hittit es of
Syria in t he fifth year of his reign, Rarnses II was always anxious
lo r his per sonal bravery 10 be recorde d and his sculptors lost no
lime in panderi ng 10 his vanity. On t he western tower ( II) one can
st ill make OUI life at the Egy ptian camp ( 10 the ril,{hl ) and the
enth roned Pharao h hold ing counci l (t o the left ). In the cent re is
the for tified camp wit h shielded soldiers and the Pharaoh hims elf
das hing with his char iot int o the fray.
The eastern tower (b) dep icts a fer ocious bail ie with Ramses II ,
still in his cha riot , hurl ing ar rows at the sur rounding enemy. Dead
and wou nded lie beneath his feet and the enemy flee in confu sion
10 the fort ress of Kadesh from whence fresh troops appear. Ka dcsh
itself is surro unded wit h bat tleme nts and the defend ing Hi tti te
forces, To the ext reme left, somewhat remote from the heal of the
bat tle, the prin ce of the Hittites rnav he seen surround ed bv his
guar ds and supposed ly in fear o f t he 'ene my , ' '
Co urt of Ramses II , C olon nad e
Passi ng through the entr ance pylon we enter the Court ofRamse, I I
(A ), to the left of which th e Farimide \ l osque of Abu eI Hagag
sta nds In contrast to th e sole mn ru ins of Pharonic Egyp t. As
recently as 1968 the luca l sheikhs, who claim that the tomb of the
saint him self lies here, rook adva nt age of a quiet tourist-free
peri od, when man y Egy pto logists had esca ped from the summe r
heat, to add an extension to the rear portion of the mosque , bui lt ,
It WI ll be seen, on ever weake ni ng foundat ions, T he height of t he
mosque above the stone court yard indicate s the neight 10 which t he
temple was buried in sand,
T he court itself is surr ounde d by smoot h-sh afted papyr us-
columns WIth lotus-bud capitals , Standi ng colossi of Ra mses II
wer e placed be tween the first row of columns in the south ern half.
On each s ide of the doorway are a further two stat ues of th e
Pharaoh wroug ht in r ed and black granite. The one On the left has
S1..111l('<; of Ramses I I , .\ m<lll J nd hi .. u m'oO!'t \lut , T em pI.. tj f l . ux" r
a fine st atue of Queen :\efer- tari, his wife, can ed near the Pha raoh 's
right leg, On the throne is a representa tion of the two :\iles bind ing
the symbols of Upper and Lower Egypt: the lot us and papyr us
plant s.
.Adjoining the western tower of the entrance pylon (1' ./ ) is a
raised plat form comprising three chambers. Th is was the gra nite
shrine ori ginally bu ilt by Thutrnose I I I and resto red by Ramses II.
The chambers were dedicated to Amon, Mur and the Moon God
Khons u. Fou r pap yr us col umns form a colonnade on the side
facing t he COUrl.
T he reliefs and inscript ions whi ch adorn the walls of the court
date from the reign of Rarnses II. They repr esem sacr ifices and
hymns to the gods, and an Rarnses II' s family, his many wives and
a horde of princes and prin ces ses ar e depicted on the walls.
The Colonnade (E) was built by Arnenho rep I I I. In th e early
morning and towar ds sunset heavy shadows are cast between t he
seven pairs of columns and the int erplay of light has long been
exploited by pho tographers as it slams from heavy architrave to
calyx capitals and down the slender shafts of the column s. T hough
:\ me nhotep III conceived the idea of thi s colonnade , Tutenk-
harnon, Ha rrnhab, Seti I, Rarnses II and Set i II also recorded their
names there. It was T urenkhamon however who had the walls
embel lished with the reliefs representing the Great New Year Festi-
val, the Opel, when the god Amon visited his southern harem. The
sacred bar ges were br ought in splendid pro cession from Karnak to
the Luxor temple, borne on the shoul ders of whit e- robed pr iests
from the tem ple to the river, and then towed upstream in a splendid
and majest ic pro cession. T he fest ival took place at the height of the
Nile flood and continued for twent y- lour days of merry- mak ing.
Cnhappily much of t he relief work has been dest royed but there is
st ill sufficient to take us back to what mu st have been not on ly a
significant bu t a lavish religious celeb rati on.
On the ri ght-hand wall starting at (c) are preparat ions tor the
occasi on, which inclu de a rehearsal by dancing gir ls. T he proces-
sion begins at t he gate of the Karnak temple (d), which is complete
with flagstaffs and from whence white-robed priest s bear the
sacred barge of Arnon down to the water 's edge. An ent husiastic
audie nce (e) claps hand s in un ison and at U) the boat in the wat er
is being towed upstream by those on shore. Asacr ifice ofslaughte red
anima ls :) is followed by a gro up of acroba ts, and finally offerin gs
are made to Amon, Mut and Kh onsu at the Luxor temp le (It ).
On the opposite wall arc scenes of t he ret urn procession, incl uding
(i) sacr ificial bull s bein g led to t he scene accompani ed by soldiers,
standard- bearers, dan cer s and negro slaves who ar e roused to
frenzy by the pomp, the barges floating downstr eam (j) and the final
sacri fice and offerings of flowers to Amon and Mut at the Karnak
temple (k).
It is int er esting to learn that Harrnhab, the general, took advan-
tage of the Opet to introduce himself to the populace as the next
Pharaoh of Egypt at the beginning of the roth Dynasty. On ce he
had been led through the str eets by the prie sts and entered into the
sacred pr ecincts of Karnak, any question by the people as to why
a man of non-royal linea ge should become Pha raoh was stilled in
advance. T he occas ion was too joyous to spoil with matters already
decided by the high pr iests of Amon.
A fascinating cross -cur rent in the tide of fate has led today' s
Muslim Moulid, celebrated each year during the month of Sh aaban,
closely to resemble the Opet. Muslim sheikhs emerge from the
Mosque of Abu el I-Iagag bearing three sma ll sailing boat s which
they place on carr iages to tra verse the city. T he city is bedecked
with flower s, and dancing and clapping greet the procession.
Court of Arnenhotep III
South of the colonnade is the Court of Amenhot ep I I I (C). To the
left of the entrance are three seared sta tues of Ramses II, Amon
and Mut. The court has a double row of columns on each side and
is a fine examp le of the architect ure of Egypt's golden age. T he
columns arc of exquis ite pro por tion. They have clustered papyrus-
bu d capital s and arc in a good state of repai r. The door way through
which we have just passed was the entrance to the temple in
Ame nhotep lll's reign and the sphinx-lined avenue commenced
from th is poin t.
Hyposryle Hall
Adjoining the cour t to the sou t h is the Hypostyle Hall (D ), com-
prising gigantic columns ar ranged in four rows of eight columns
each. The hall stan ds today as a somewhat cheerless ruin, though
the walls st ill have reli efs of Amenhotep I II before the T heban
deit ies. The columns bear the cartouches of Ramses IV, Ramscs VI,
Ramses II and Seti I, ment ioning the repairs carried out in their
respecti ve reigns.
To the left of the hyposryle hall stands an altar bear ing Lat in
inscriptions dedicated to the Emperor Augustus . Adjoi ning the
rear wall (to left and right ) arc t wa small shri nes, one to Mut and
St atue (If Rar nscs II Temple of Lu xor.
one to Kh onsu. T he section lead ing 01'1' the rear originally had eight
columns, which were removed whe n the area was converted into a
chur ch. T he doo rway to the sanctua ry was walled into a curved
recess flan ked by two grani te Cor inthi an colum ns, and the exquisite
t Sth Dyna st y reliefs were plast er ed over and painted with Christia n
themes. In places where the stucco has fallen off one can see the
reliefs of Ame nhot ep beneath.
Birth Room
Several sma ll cha mbers surr ound the sanctuary, including what
has become known as the Birt h Room (E) . T hough in poor con di-
tion the murals ar c of special int er est beca use th ey depic t the birth
of Ame nho tep II I.
T he Egy pt ian Ph araoh was the embodi me nt of Horus, the son
of Ra or Amo n. But he had , in addition, to be of direct royal lineage
throu gh his fat her and roya l consort . I f, as in the case of Amenhotep
I II , whose mother was not of royal Egyptian blood, his access ion
was not con sidered legi tima te, he could overcome th is difficulty
by marrying a sister of royal lineage. Amenhotep did not do thi s.
It was necessary for him th erefor e to consolidate his monar chy in
other res pec ts . Queen Hatschepsut had alrea dy sho wn him how.
In her mo rtuar y temple she depicted how she ruled by divi ne right
of Amo n and was, in fact, a direct descendant of the Sun God
Arnon-Ra (page 82). In hi s temple at Luxor Amenhotep also
sho wed that he was the son of the divine, begotten of Amo n and
born under the protect ion of the gods .
The story of the birth room is depict ed in three rows on the left-
hand wall (I) . From left to right in the lower row the god Khnum
moulds two infants, Ame nhotep and his guardian spirit or ka, and
fashio ns them on a potter ' s wheel. The goddess Isis sits opposi te .
Ame nhotep's moth er is embraced by Isis in the pr esence of Amo n.
In the centre row Amon is led by the ibis-headed god of wisdom
to the queen ' s bedchamber where he appr oaches her to bege t th e
child alr eady moulded by Khnum. T he pr egnancy and confine-
ment are attended by Bcs and Thoueris, the pat ron deiti es of child-
birth. After the deliver y Amo n sta nds with the child in his arms
in t he presence of Hathor and Mut. On the much -d amaged top
row are th e suckling of th e infant king, hi s guardian spirits, and his
presentat ion to Amon by Horus who promises him ' millions of
years like Ra' . In the corner the gro wn Amenhotep stands as king.
In all othe r rel iefs of thi s chamber Arnenhotep is blessed by the
various deit ies.
Sanctuary of Alex ander the Great
We now come to what has beco me known as the Sanctuary of
Alexander the Great (1/1), the area enti rely rebuilt by him. He
remo ved t he four or iginal columns and placed a shrine in their
stea d. Bot h th e inner and t he outer walls have reliefs representing
Alexander before Amon and other deities. He obligingly left
unm olest ed some reli efs of Amc nho tep HI before various T he ban
dei ties .
In the sanctuary stood the gold- plated statu e of Amon. T o
imbue it with life each day the priests of Amon carried out a series
of ritua ls. T hose carri ed out at dawn were the most elaborate. T he
statue was first carefully clean sed . T hen it was clot hed with gar-
ments and anoi nted with per fumes. T he eyes were made up and
pra yers were chanted . T hen just as painstaki ngl y the clot hing and
makeup were removed and the pr iest s humbly withdre w.
T he cha mbers at the rear of the temple arc of litt le significance.
On e to th e north has four clustered pap yru s columns and three
rows of wall rel iefs showing Arnenhotep befo re Amon and ot her
deities ; another was a sanctuary wit h twelve columns.
Co rm H( AnU'nho ll.'(l III. Luxor Temple.
In order to appreciate mural design and execution it must be
stressed that it was an age-old tradition, not an art form. The
Egyptian painter or sculptor was not an independent or inspired
creator. I Ic was a craftsman who was part of a team which included
masons, draughtsmen, jewellers and metal-workers. They all
worked anonymously. Their creations were designed not for
artistic appraisal nor, apart from a few exceptions, for aesthetic
purposes. They formed a factory of artisans reproducing approved
traditional themes with amazing accuracy. Statues for tomb or
shrine were never to be seen, except by the Pharaoh or high priest,
and these had a religious function. They were believed to be infused
with the divine spirit of the one portrayed. Statues of the Pharaoh
in open court or temple front were placed there so that the populace
could gaze on the great Pharaoh who was under the protection of
the gods. Praising him and praising God were one and the same
thing. Amon guided the Pharaoh and the Pharaoh guided the
people. This is the reason why the Egyptian monarch was repeatedly
and untiringly shown in consort with the various deities. With the
help of Amon, his power was absolute. The people voiced no
opinions on the one hand, while he showed no weakness on the
other. He was always represented in the prime of life, in powerful,
confident, unbending majesty. The Pharaoh was above hopes or
pleasures, fears or sufferings. In all statues and mural portrayals
he was indisputably idealised and stereotyped. The torso, legs,
arms and position of the head of the Pharaohs of the passing dynas-
ties differed little. But there were subtle differences in their
physiognomies. Chephren of the 4th Dynasty for example had a
decidedly more prominent lower jaw than his successor Mykerinus.
And the lips and dents by the side of Ramscs II's mouth arc very
different from those of Scti I, whose features are somehow finer.
It has alrcadv been noted that the distinctive characteristics of
Arnon, when he was not depicted as a ram with curled horns or as a
man with a ram's head, were his plaited heard, his two upright
plumes, his sceptre and symbol of life. The Pharaoh in turn also
has charactcristics: a cobra (guardian against evil) which coiled
around his forehead, and a special skirt Edling into a triangle in
front, The decorated belt that held this in position was sometimes
covered with beads or embroiderv and the tail of an ox (svmbol of
power) was attached to it. He his sceptre, Etiquette was
observed. Religious ceremonies, jubilees and
other ntuals, which grew more complex as time passed, conformed
not only in general practice but in the most strict observance of
rules and dress. Each detail has been brought down to us in the
work of the relief sculptors.
Just as traditional ceremonies and rituals continued from
generation to generation with very little basic change, so did the
execution of mural records of the occasions become more and
more stylized. The few realistic details which made their way into
the representations, even as far back as the Old Kingdom, are seen
:epeatcd fr,om dynasty to dynasty, even though they are somewhat
irrelevant III terms of the symbolic and primitive purpose of the
work. By the t Sth Dynasty there was a knowledge of perspective
and foreshortening but the relief sculptors did not try to improvise.
The detail of a knee-cap, the muscles of an arm or a collar-bone
were their only touches of realism.
Apart from the relatively short break with tradition under
only the efficiency and maturity of the work changed
with the years. In the Luxor temple the divine immobility of the
Reconstructed head of Ramscs II (in front of I.uxor Temple)
portrayals of Ame nhotep I II, parti cularl y whcn shown in consort
with the de ities, are very little different from those of Ramses II
some eight generat ions lat er. The same uniformity is found in the
Karn ak temple, whi ch spans two thousand years .


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Plan 3
The temple of Amon at Karnak, together with its outlyi ng bu ild-
ings, is a natural museum of ancient Egypt ian art , a blueprint of
t he power and glory of a golden era and a mine of hi storical infor-
mati on. Beneath its giant architraves and bet ween bulky column
and wall relief lie the reco rds of its growth from a modest 12th
Dynasty shrine to a local deity, to a temple of splendid and un-
imaginable proporti ons dedicated to the King of Go ds, Amon- Ra.
It owes a colonnade to one Pharaoh, a pylon to another ; an insp ira-
tion her e, a whim ther e. But each has the sole purp ose of pleasing
th e god that would ensure them a life long, powerful and glorious.
Unr avelling the secrets of two thousand years has been a major
feat of Egyptology, made the more difficu lt by the fact that archi -
tectural magnificence did not necessaril y run parall el with military
or civic excellence. Family riva lries and kingly jealousies wer e as
often the incenti ve behi nd a construction as creative inspir at ion .
One cannot help being amused for example at the oft-repeated
tendency of the reigning Pharaoh to alt er the royal cartouchc of a
predecessor and so take the credit for all the work he accomplished.
To add to the confusion, some part s of the buildings were raised
from di smantled shr ines or the walls of ot her temples. In addi tion,
Karn ak had twice to end ure the degradat ion of Amon, at the hand s
of Ikhnat on and of the earl y Christi ans.
An idea of the complexity of the task may be gauged when we
learn that in the core of Amenhotep II I' s monumental third pylon
were buri ed at least th ree structures of earlier peri ods; that a
valuable hi storical inscription on how Kamose conq uered the
the Hyksos- i-a peri od about which very litt le is known .. was
found text-downwards beneath a stat ue of Panejcm which had
been buried in the foundation of the second pylon of Ramses I I ;
that both Ramses I and Seti I used blocks from lkhnatori's sun
temple for their large-scale addi tions to the templ e ; and that
Harrnhab crammed his ninth pylon with thousand s of inscribed
sandstone blocks from thi s same ' heretical' era .
Thutrnose I, who ascended the throne at th e beginning of the
rSrh Dynasty, actuall y made the first major alterations to th e
ori gin al shri ne. He had t wo colonnades and two pylons built (Plan 6
P..; and P-,:;). Between the latter, Hatschcp sut, his daughter and
builder of the magnificent mortuary temple of Der el Bahri (page
75) , erected a pair of hu ge obelisks. She also made some alterations
to th e side of th e sanctu ary. These wer e continued by her co-regent
and successor Thutmose II 1. Though Thutmosc I II showed less
interest in perpetuating hi s memory in impressi ve monuments
than in creating an Egyptian world empire, he did bu ild a festival
temple (page 54) to the rear of the sanctuary, surrounding it with
a girdle- wall, on the inner side of which wer e a number of small
chambe rs .
It was Amenhotep Ill, builder of th e temple of Luxor, who
alt ered the front of Karnak temple. He raised a new pylon (Plan 5
P.Ol ) in front of that of Thutmose I, but, impressive though it must
have been, it was to be eclipsed by th e additions of the 19th D ynasty.
Ramses I erected th e second pylon during hi s one year in power.
Then his son, Seti I, started the construction of a huge hypostyle
hall between the pylons of Ramscs I and Arnenhorep III. This
work was conti nued by his success or Ramses II. Always going
one better than his an cestors, Rarn ses II also built a second girdle-
wall outs ide that of Thutmose III and with it the Great T emple
of Amon had almost recei ved its final, magnificent form . It was
now officially and justifiably styled ' T he Throne of the World'.
Seti II and Rarnscs I II had two small separate temples built in
front of the gr eat complex. In the zznd Dyna sty under the Libyan
kings of t he Bubastides th ese were incorpor ated into a hu ge
col onnaded cour t in front of th e pylon of Ramses I. In the 25th
Dynasty Taharka the Nubian also erected some gigantic columns
in thi s court. The last addition to the temple, its entrance pylon
(Plan 4- P.l ), was erec ted in th e Nub ian Dyn ast y.
First Pylon, Great Court, Shrine of Seti II
Set i II ' s two small obe lisks rise on a terrace facing the Nile. From
thi s point we approach the temple of Amon betwe en a double row
of ram-headed sphinxes. These have sun- discs on the head and a
statue of t he Pharaoh between the forepaws, showing the Sun God
as strong as a lion , as docile as a ram, and protective of the Pharaoh
Rarnses II who placed them th er e. We mu st bear in mind that in
approaching the temple from t he front we actuall y reverse, apart
from a few except ions, the order of building.
Before us rises t he massive fi rst pylon (Plan 4- P.I ) which dat es
from the N ubian Dyna st y and whi ch was never completed . It is
113 metres wide, 43 metres high and 5 metres thick. On the door-
way leading to th e Great Court is an inscription (II) recording
the latitude and longitude of the chi ef temples of the Phar aoh s as
calculat ed by the group of scholars accompanying the army of
Napoleon to Eg ypt.
The Gr eat Court, which was built during the zznd Dynasty,
covers the massi ve area of 8, 9 19 square metres. On the ri ght it
incorporates a small temple built by Ramses II I (page 4' ) and on
th e left a small shrine built by Seti II , comprising three chambers
dedicated to Amon (in the centre) and to Mut and Khonsu respec-
tively on ei ther side. Towards the centre of the court is the ba se of
what was once a pair of pedestals for statues and behind th is is a
double colonnade. The five columns to the left are being recon -
str ucted and the sing le intact column to the ri ght is inscr ibed by
Psemmetikh II of the zbth Dynast y, who pla ced his name over that
of th e Nubian Taharka of th e 25th Dynasty. It also records the
name of Ptolemy IV.
On each side of the court is a row of sphinxes. These flanked the
doorway when th e pylon at th e rear of the cour t ( P.2) formed th e
entrance to the temple in th e reign of Ramses II. T hey wer e
removed and pla ced ncar the side walls when the ent rance was
exte nded towards the Ni le.
Aga ins t t he inn er wall of th e first pylon , at (/I), are remnant s of
the cr ude bri ck ramps by whi ch the stones were heaved int o
position . The last IWO columns on th is same side of the court (r)
provi de an other interest ing clue as to how the ancient Egyptians
conducted their work. Because th ey wer e never compl et ed the y
show that th e roughl y- shap ed stones, also heaved int o posit ion on
ramps, wer e shaped after erection and th at the poli shing and
decorat ion wer e performed from th e top downwards as the bri ck
ramps wer e removed layer by layer.
The grey sands tone S hrine 0/Seti II to the left of the cour t was
dedi cat ed to the Karnak triad : Amon, Mut and Khonsu . The
centre sectio n, to Amo n, is the best pr eser ved. On the wall s ar c
two different representations of th e deit y. Ncar the end of th e
right-hand wall Amon is seated in human form with his character-
isti c headgear and with Mut and Khonsu seated behind him . On
the left-hand wall he is depi ct ed as a ram with the sun-di sc on his
'" '".-
" a.
head and tr avelling the heavens in his sacr ed barge. The Holv
Triad was a commo n feat ure of the gods of ancient Egy pt. At
Thebes, Amon had Mut and Khonsu. At Abydos, Osi r is had hi s
sister-wife Is is and th eir son Horus. At Memphis, Ptah had hi s
wife Sekhmet and th eir son Nefer tem.
Temple of Ramses III
Across th e court stands the Temple of Ramses III. T his is the only
temple still standing in the whole of Egypt which was built on a
homogeneou s plan by a sing le mon ar ch .
The pylon which forms the entrance has now been repaired and
shows, on th e left-hand tower (d), a relief of the Pharaoh weari ng
the double crown and holding a group of pr isoners by the hai r,
whil st in hi s other hand he raises a club to smi te th em. Amo n
sta nds before him handing him th e swor d of victor y and del iver ing
to him three rows of vanquished citi es each represente d as a hum an
figure rising out of a symbolic fort which bear s the name of the ci ty.
On th e ri gh t-hand tower (e) the theme is repeated but with the
Ph araoh wearing th e crown of Lower Egypt . Lar ge statues of t he
Pharaoh flank the doorway over which Rarnses III receives the
symbol of life from Arnon.
. Passing through th e entrance pylon we come to an open court
surrounded by covered passages on three sides, each supported by
eight squar e pillars with stat ues of Osir is in fron t of th em. On the
ter race at th e rear are four similar pillars and four columns whi ch
have bud capitals. The reliefs on the back wall of the pylon en
show Ramses recei ving th e hierogl yph for ' jubilee' from the
en throned Amon. On the east wall (g) is a proc ession of standard-
bearers and the Pharaoh leading the pri est s who hear the sacr ed
bar ges of Amon, Mut and Khonsu .
T he hypost yle hall of th e temple of Ramses III has eight
columns wi th papyrus-bud capita ls, ad joini ng which are three
shrines respect ively dedicated to Mut, Amon and Kh onsu.
T his temple is a cameo. It s charm is its size, its value is its
adherence to the tr aditi onal, its hi stori cal import ance is its com-
pletion according to the unadul ter ated blu ep rint of Ramses II l.
Ramses I II ruled at the tail end of a long line of imperial
Ph araohs and he was the last of th e Ramessid es to carve a plac e for
himself in hi st or y. T ho ugh wealthy-having reap ed the fruits of
his ancest or s' battles -he was far from great, a fact th at he seems
himself to have recognised by placing his modest temple across the
axis of th e ma in str uc tur e at Karnak as th ough to say, "I do not wish

Plan 4

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The statue of Pancjem found bur ied in the Second Pylon of Ramses I L
to compete' . During his 32-year reign he fou ght three important
battles, and his arc hitec t ural act ivit ies included a temple at
Me di nct Habu (pa ge 92) where he recorded hi s battles, and the
ini tial constru ction of the temple of Khonsu (page 63), whi ch was
completed by his successors. He also enr iched the temples of
Memphis and Heliopol is but ended his da ys severely cri ticised by
his contemporaries, who despi sed his weakened pos ition under the
pri ests of Amon.
Triumphal Monument of Sheshonk I
Retracing our steps to the Great Co ur t via the exi t to the east of
Rams es Ill's cour t, we find ourselves in the portico of the Buba-
sridcs (h) whi ch is embellished wit h rel iefs and inscriptions of the
Ph araohs of the zz nd Dynasty. T he rear door of this portico leads
to the T riumphal Monument of Shes honk I, whi ch is sit uated on
the ou tside of the southern tower of t he second pylon (i) . This
scene commemor ates the victory of Shishak of the Bibl e over
Rehoboarn, son of Solomon the King of Judah, when Solomon's
temple was robbed of its ri ches. Beneath Amon is the goddess Mut
holding a club, bow and quiver, lead ing five rows of captives
carved in per fect symme try. To the right Sheshonk is grasping a
gro up of captives by the hair and st riking them with his raised club.
T he Bibl ical passages coveri ng thi s campaign arc :
'And il came III pass in t hcfifth year II/king R choboam, tliat Shishae
king III' h:e;YPI came up against .lausalem: and he too]: ainay the
treasures ofthe house oft ! Lord, and the treasures oft he leing' s house ;
he eren tool: IImllY all: and he took: atnay all the shields ofgold mhich
Solomon had made, ( I Kings ' 4:25-0)
c , And it CII mc III pass, t hat in the fi/l h year of king Rehoboam,
Shishak king of EgYPI came liP against .leY/lSalem, because they had
transgressed again st t he Lord, tnith t tnclu hundred chariot s, and
threescore t housand ltorscmcn : and the people were imt hout number
t ltat came mith him out (!I'EgYPI . , .' t z nd Chro, [2 : 2-3)
Second Pyl on, Great Hypostyle Hall
We return to the great co urt of the temple and proceed towards the
second pyilln, the pylon of Ramses II (P. 2), T he centre section was
or igi nally rest ored by the Pt olemies. It is now being recon struct ed
after the removal of the bl ocks from Ikhnaton' s Sun T emple to
Aton which were used as filling for the core. Just before the pylon
is a small vestibule flanked by t wo large statues . The one on the
left, in red granite, is of Panejcm, son-i n-law of the hi gh pri est.
44 45
The hypostyle hall was planned and begun by Ramses I and
was continued by his son Seti I on a scale far surpassing Arnenhot cp
Ill's unfini shed hypo st yle hall at Luxor. It was finally completed
by Seti' s son Ramses II. Alt houg h Seti I was responsible for the
construction of the entire northern half of the hall and also the
central aisle, and although Ramses II huilt only the sout hern
portion, it is the latter who has secur ed credit for the greater part
of the work .
The overall effect is awe-inspiring. Although some critics have
commented on the less-than-elegant columns at the sides or on the
fact that ' you can't see the tre es'for for est ' , its magn ificence is in-
di sputable. When Napoleon' s learned ent ourage first saw it, the
hall looked as th ough devastated by a hurri cane. Leani ng columns
seeme d on the verge of collapse, many were already prostra te and
the flag-st ones were littered with debri s, French Egyptologists
working for the Department of Antiq uities de vot ed their energies
to reconstruction. The work of Charles Lcgrain, followed hy
Ma ur ice Pill et and finall y M. H. Chevrier, who completed a 25-
year mi ssion as Director of Works at Karnak in J() 56, left the Great
Hyposryle Hall erect and pro ud .
(Ramus II )
0 10
Pylo n -2
Plan 5
j Pylon-3 (Amenhot e p Il l)
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This is the statue already menti oned (page 37) as having been
found under the second pylon.
The Creal Hyposty! Hall, fruit of Egy pt' s power and wealth and
one of the most massi ve of human cr eat ions, covers an area of
+,983 square metres. T o support the roof T3+ columns were
arranged in sixteen rows. T he double row of centr al columns
leading from the doorway of the second pylon east war ds towar ds
the sanct uary is higher than t he ot hers. The smooth-shafted central
columns arc twent y-one metres high and are topped with cal yx
capit als lar ge enough to hold one hundred standing men. The
somewhat sq uat side columns ha ve bud cap itals and the di scr ep-
ancy in height is made up hy square pillars between the steps of the
roof. The space between these pillars once held wind ows and
served to light the ent ire hall, revealing that the walls, th e shafts of
t he columns, the architrave and in fact every available space was
covered with inscriptions and reliefs . It has been stated in almost
every descripti on of thi s hall to date, hu t mu st nevert heless be
repell ed her e, that the whole of t he cathedral of No tre Dame in
Pari s could he comfort ably accommodat ed withi n its walls.
Only one single column (the first in the sixth row) bears the name
of Rarnscs l, who started its construction in his brief two year
re ign . It may be noticed that the reli efs of Seri I (in the northern
portion) ar e in flat relief and are somewhat more delicate than the
deeper, more definite inscriptions of Ramses II (in the southern
portion from the eleventh row). Most of the reliefs depict adoration
of the Theban god . Rarnses Ill , Ramses IV, Ramses VI and
Ramses XJI all rec orded th eir names.
On the outside of the hypostyle hall are some important historical
rel iefs . These are accessible from the exit at the side or from the
central court . They are portrayals of Seti I's and Ramses II's
military campai gns in Asia, the like of whi ch had not been seen for
two gencrations since the expansion of the empire under Thutmosc
II I. There are over sixt y metres of representations from the spe c-
tacul ar charges into the foe with arrows and chariots to the ult imate
presentation of pri soners of war to Amon, Mut and Khonsu.
Rarnscs II's campaign was against the Hittites. It is depicted on
the southern wall and contains the actual text of the tr eat y, the
carlicsr sur viving internat ional non-aggr ession pact. According to
the tr eaty each sta te, ha ving equal, independent status, renounced
all ideas of aggression against the other. It declared that peace
should henceforth prevail between the two kings and all their
dependents and reaffirmed earlier treaties existing between the two
countries. A mutual defence alliance, co-operation in the humane
tr eatment of di sloyal subj ect s and also in the extradition of polit ical
refu gee s and immi grant s, formed clauses of the pact.
It bore the title :
'The treaty mhich the great chicfofKhet a, Khetasar.Lhe ualiant , the
t he great the ualiant. the grandson of
Se plt'!, the great clr iefof Khela, the valiant, madc.Icpon a silver tablet
Jill' Uscrmarr-S ctepncrc (Rams es In, the great ruler of Egypt . the
re liant , the SO/l of Sc ti J, the great ruler of EgYPl , the reliant .. the
grandson ofRamscs l , the grca! ruler lir e traliant .. lire good
treaty III' peace and of brother/wild, selling peace belmall them
. Witnesses to the treat y were a th ousand gods and goddesses of
the land of the Hittites and a thousand gods and goddesses from
the land of Egypt .
The hattie scenes are similar to those on the first pylon of the
temple of Luxor alr ead y described (pages 26/ 27)
Seti I' s battles took place in Lebanon, southern Palestine, and
Syria , and arc depicted on t he northern wall. The series begins on
IJ J m... 1I1l' .I... ud. , I Jl o IM .l' "r h f.)' /,I , Il uJ dcr and StuuloC hlu ll. 111:\0. pr- "' .n :.uX. In l lin uc . Kh era..ur i..
J\.ha"i , hili Ill . \1 n ;l"' ,lr is :\ t ur'ihili 11, Scpla l is Shuppiluil uma s
the eastern wall (Plan 51) where (in the upper row) Seti alights from
his chariot in the wooded Lebanon. The Lebanese are obliged to
cut down trees for the Pharaoh. In the lower row Seti is in battle
with the bedouins of sout hern Pale stine (to the right). He dri ves his
chariot, drawn by two horses, whilst firing arrows at the enemv.
Confused heaps of dead and wounded lie on the ground. The
fortress of Canaan, above the battlefield, is used as a hideout and
the inha bitant s assist fugitives to escape int o it.
On the left hand sect ion of the main wall (k) is the battle in
Syria. In the upper row the Pharaoh advances to the front line of
the attack, shooting ar rows that send the enemy, both charioteers
and cavalry, fleeing in confusion . In the fortress which is surrounded
by a moat the inhabitants are surprisingly carved full face as they
peer, from trees, Seti is also depicted hinding capt ives,
leadmg or draggmg them. Two rows of captured Syrians arc pre-
sented to Amon, Mut and Khonsu along with valuable boot y.
In the ,lower row is a .triumphal march through Palestine (left), a
. with the bedouins .of southern Pal estine and (ri ght) the
vrct orrous march from Syr ia. The border between Asia and Africa
The Hypostyle Hall, Karnak Temple. Calyx capitals of the central columns.
is marked by a cro codi le-i nfest ed canal bordered by reeds and
linked by a bridge, At each end of this bridge is a fortifi ed guard-
house and , on the home front, Scri is welcomed by groups of pri est s
carryi ng garlande d flowers. Ca ptives and boot y are pr esented to
Amo n.
On the righ t-hand wall (I) is the battle ofKadcsh (in the top row) ,
the battle against the Libyans (in the middle row), and the battle
against the Hittites in northern Syria (in the lower row). The
defenders of Kadcsh are pierced by arrows. The Libyan s, distin-
guished by a single plaited braid and feath er s, are smitte n with the
swor d. The l litt ircs, shot at by the chariu tcd Pharaoh, take flight
on loot , on horseback and in chariot. In the lower row, when Seti
hand s his captives and the captured vessels over to Amon, Mut and
Khonsu, the goddess of tr uth is present.
On each side of the doo rway separating t hese two walls (k and I )
are colossal representations of Arnon holding several rows of
captured nati ons and cit ies by cor ds and pr esent ing the sword of
vicrorv to Scri l. Seri raises his club again st a band of tiles whom he
dan gles by I he hair.
Third Pylon, Pavilion of Sesostris I, Central Court
At the r l ~ a r of the hypostyle hall is th e reconstr ucted third p.J'lon
(P ..; ) buill by Amc nhotep II I. It certai nly needs mor e t han a littl e
imagination to recon struct in t he mind' s eye the gold and silver
inlay, the flagstaffs and splendo ur of thi s one- time ent rance to the
temple. When Ame nhotep I II was con structing it he was simul-
taneousl y finalising pla ns for the colonnaded hall at the Luxor
temple. T ogether th ey formed his most impressive ar chitectural
Some years ago when soil dra inage was bein g checked to avoid
the cr umbling of columns from undermining, the pylon was found
to cont ain in its core the ruins of temples and shrines of earli er
periods. The task of extracting the inscri bed or painted blocks deep
in the pylon' s foundation , whil st pr opping up existing walls pr ior
to recon struct ion, was, and still is, an exacti ng one. And the
mat chi ng of the extract ed pieces with th eir partner s in pattern and
histor y has been ext remely time-consuming. But with the success-
ful removal and complete reconstr uction of some of the lost ma st er-
pieces, these labours have received thei r supreme reward.
The Pari lion II(.'-;'csilstris f , a i zrh Dvnastv structure erec ted for
the lubilcc of the' Pharaoh, is the earliest struc t ure at Karn ak today.
Its hlods wer e rescued from obscurity and reassembled just north
of the main tem ple to Amon withi n the girdle- wall, where it can be
seen by special permission. The walls of the pavilion are made of
fine limestone, and the reliefs, minutely and precisel y carved in
high reli ef, are amongst the finest to be found in Luxor. Thev show
the restr aint and austeri ty typical of the Middle Kingdom when the
work was unencumbered by too mu ch detail. The simple shrine
consists of twenty-four columns and the ped estal on which the
Amon barge was placed to let the priestly bearers rest. It has been
decided that the original site was on one side of the paved thorough-
fare leading from Karnak templ e to Luxor templ e.
A shrine which can be tr aced to the reigns of Amenhotep I,
T hutmose II and T hutmose IV was also found in the third pylon
and has been reconstructed immedia tely to t he nor th of the Pavilion
of Sesos tris. It is made of alabaster. Since t his was a medium used
mainly for stat ues and offeri ng-tables it is not often that we find a
shrine or temple in alabaster. It is small, simple, of beautiful
proporti ons and in nearl y perfect condition. On the right-hand of
the inner wall is a par ticularly lovely representation of the Pha raoh
kneeling before a table of offerings.
Also extracted from Amenhotep's thi rd pylon arc finely in-
scri bed granite blocks that mu st once have been a dramati c struc ture
in red and black, built by Queen Hat schcpsut . Her figure, carved
in low relief, has not been defaced.
One cannot help wonde ring why temples and shrines were
disman tled and used for new const ruct ions. Ikhn aton 's temple to
Aton is easily explained because with his passing the worsh ip of
Amon was reinstated and reference to sun- worship was obliterated.
But why shou ld the exquisite temp le of Sesostr is have been hidden
in a pylon ? And the temple of Hatschcpsut ? Because she was a
woman and not recogni sed as a Pharaoh of Egypt, despit e her
beard , male dress and att empts to pr ove her divine or igin? Then
why should the small and exquisite alabaster shrine have been
desti ned for the same fate? T he illustr ious Amenhotep the Mag-
nificent could hardly have been short of raw material.
On ly one thing is certain : but for the conti nuous efforts of
Egyptologists, par ticularly in the last fifty years, many if not all of
these hidden wonders would have been lost forever.
In the Cen tral Court of the temple is the last sur vivor of four
obelisks erected in pairs by T hutrnose I under the faithful guidance
of his chief architect, Ineni, who br ought them from the granite
quarr ies of Aswan. There arc thr ee vertica l inscriptions on each
face of this obelisk: the central one dedicated by T hutmose I
himself, the other two add itions by Ramses IV and VI.
Fourth, Fifth and Sixt h Pyl ons
We now pr oceed to a much ruined part of the temple. T he [o urth
l'ylon (P.4), bu ilt by T hut rnose I, is followed by a colonnade with a
strange and interesting histor y. Within this enclosed area are clues
to family feud s, pett y jealousies and religious differences, to say
noth ing ofPharo nic vanit y. T he colonnade was originally designed
by Thutmose I and it was planned to have a roof of cedar. In it
stands an obel isk (Plan 6 m), the tallest known, and one of two
erected by Queen Harschepsut , who removed part of the roof of
her father's colonnade to place them there. Hatschepsut ' s co-regent
and successor, T hut mose III, at a later date in the family feud had
a wall built to hide the obelisks of his predecessor, this being a
simpler expedient than their removal and destruction. He also
obli terated Hatschepsut ' s name and inserted his own as making
sacrifices to Amon. T he figure of Amon himself was obliterated by
Ikhnaton and rest ored by Seti I, thus putting an end to the
vicissitudes suffered for two hundred years by the colonnade of
Thutmose I.
T he beautiful remaining obel isk of Hatschepsut was erected in
the 16th year of her reign. It was made of a single block of pink
Aswan granite of the finest quality. T he apex was once covered
with a mixt ure of gold and silver. This lofty spire records the fact
that it was made in seven months. It weighs something like
Amenhotep III
317,515 kilogrammes ( 700,000 Ibs). One cannot but i?arvel at ~ h e
tenacit y required merel y to quarry it, let alone to cart It to the NIle,
transport it along its waters, di sembark it and finally erect it with
per fect accuracy on a pedestal.
Formi ng the rear wall of the colonnade is the ./Ui h pyloll (Ps),
also erected by Thutrnosc l. Passing thro ugh it we enter Thutrnose
l ' s second colonnade, which ori ginally comprised twenty sixteen-
sided columns. It is now very mu ch in ruin. On each side of the
cent ral passage Thutrnosc IIi construc ted a pair of chambers and
beyo nd this rises the last and smallest pylon, the sixth pyloll (Plan
7 P.fI) erected by Thutmose 1I I. On each la ce of the pylon (II) are
lists of tribes of the south which were subjugated by Thutrnosc
Ill's army, and also those of Syria, whi ch alone number 1 19 T he
conq uere d territories are shown as an elliptical hieroglyph charac-
ter sur mounted bv a human bust with arms bound behind the back.
T he Syrians are depict ed with pointed beards and heavy robes . In
I ~ n ? processions they bear their tributes to be recorded by the
Plan 7
Hall of Records, Sanctuary
T he grani te gateway of the sixth pylon was restored by Seti I and
as we pass through it we enter what has become known as the Hall
0.(Records of Thutmosc III. These were the state records made by
the pri ests of the temple to detail the sources of gifts and boot y
received by them. Of cour se, following Thutmose's militar y
victories Karnak was now increasi ngly filled with gold and silver
treasures from far afield, as well as with magnificent bronze
weapons of war and furniture of ivory and ebony.
The most characteristic feature of this Hall of Records are the
two statel y granit e pillars (0), one bearin g the lotus of Upper
Egypt and the ot her the pap yrus of Lower Egypt in high relief.
T hese rather un usual twin symbo ls emphasise that the uni ty of the
t wo lands, formed and brok en man y times in their long history, was
intact in t he rSth Dynast y.
Beyond is the Sa nctuary (p) which comprises two chambers . It
is of pink granite and was const ruc ted by the brother of Alexander
the Great , Philip Arrhidaeus, on the site of an earlier chamber. T he
walls are finely carved and coloured ; the reliefs on the upper
Cr own ing ceremony of Phil ip Arrhi dacus (upp er row). Pr iests bearing sacred bcrgc-, uf :\ muo (Iuwcr ro,,, ); S .UK1U
ar v, Ka m al..Tcmr lc
reaches of the wall st ill retain their colour. On the outer wall of the
sanctuary on the right-hand side (q) is a superb relief in excellent
condition of Philip being crowned and present ed to the gods
(above) and of the festal barges of Amon being carried in priestly
procession (below). On the left- hand outer wall of the sanctuary
are the A//// 0/.1 or Thutm ose III , depi cting det ails of the cities and
tri bes subdued in his milit ary campaigns.
J.caving t he sanctuary we come to a large open space where there
arc very scanty remains of Mid dle Kin gdom structures . Beyond
rises the Great Fest ival T emple of T hutmosc Ill.
Great Festival Temple of Thutmose III : Plan 8
Before descr ibing this ' Most Gl orious of Monuments' as it was
called, let us first recall that Thutmose III was the creator of a vast
Egyptian empire; in a ser ies of annals he gave full details of his
seventeen campaigns and records of the spoils of hatti e. He was the
first Egypti an Pharaoh to introdu ce military tactics, his most
successful battl e technique being the hlitzkrieg: some 3 ,000
chariots, hidden behind a hill , simultaneously dashing into action
with lances flying, hooves whipping up t he dust , soldiers yelling.
T he resulti ng confusion in the enemy ranks was designed to weaken
their moral e. It inevitably did.
Thutmose III was no war-monger . He never appoint ed Egyptian
governors over the conquered territories. Instead he gave power to
the local chieftains and, moreover, started cultural relations by
bringing the sons of the chieft ains to Egypt to study and absorb
Egyptian cult ure, ideology and rel igion before ret urning to their
Following the victories of Thutrnose I II Egypt was justifiably
imbued with a feeling of national prid e, while the victor himself
humbly gave thanks to Amon to the rear of the nati onal templ e at
Karnak .
The Festival Temple ofThutmose III is spacious and elegant, 44
metr es wide and 10deep. T he roof is supported by 2 0 columns in
two rows and 32 square pillars on the sides. One immediately
notices a lack of con formity; Thutmosc ordered his worker s to
taper the columns downwards and not upwards and to top them
with pecul iar inverted calyx capitals. The capital gives a sort of
tent-like effect and may have been designed to assuage the
Pharaoh's t hirst for outdoor living. It was never repeated. T he
effect is definitely clumsy. The reliefs on the pillars, which are
short er than the columns, show T hutmose III in the presence of
the gods.
Grouped around the sanctuary, which comprises three chambers,
were some fifty small halls and chambers. Most lie in ruin today.
To the left of the sanctuary is a chamber with four clustered
papyrus columns (r). The lower parts of the walls are decorated
Ruins of The Middle Kingdom
with exotic plants and animals brought to Egypt from Syria in the
25th year of the Pharaoh's reign. It says a great deal for the charac-
ter of Thutmose III that, despite his prowess as a warrior, his
ability to topple the powerful Queen Hatschepsut from the throne
and his vow to revenge his people for their conquest by the Hyksos,
he should have found time and interest to import flowers and
animals into his native land.
To the right of the sanctuary is what is now known as the
Alexander Room (.I). It was originally built by Thutmose III and
was restored by Alexander the Great. The reliefs show Alexander,
and in some instances Thutmose Ill, sacrificing to the gods.
To the south of the Alexander Room is a hall with eight sixteen-
sided columns (I). The two small chambers with columns (zz},
followed by seven other chambers, carry reliefs of Thutmose III.
Rear Section of Temple of Amon, Sacred Lake
Plan 3 will show that the entire portion eastwards from the fifth
pylon, or in other words the rear section of the temple of Karnak,
was surrounded by a girdle-wall. What remains of this is embellished
with reliefs of Ramses II sacrificing to the various deities. His
colonnade at the far end just outside this girdle-wall is now a
jumble of ruins and beyond this is a small temple also built by him,
and an ancient gateway which dates from the time of the Ptolemies.
To the south of this section of Karnak is the Sacred Lake, the
symbol of Nun the eternal ocean, where the priests of Amon
purified themselves in the holy water. Unfortunately too few of the
hewn rocks survived the years to allow of genuine restoration. The
gigantic stone beetle or scarab that overlooks the lake was one of
four placed there by Amenhotep I II in honour of the Sun God.
Southern Buildings, Karnak Cachette, Seventh to Tenth
The buildings extending southwards from the central court of the
main temple of Karnak are mostly in ruin today. A brief survey will
be made, however, to show the importance of the plan of reconstruc-
tion over the next ten years. A group of French architects arc under
contract with the Department of Antiquities lor the complete
reconstruction of the Karnak area, of which this is only one section,
but perhaps the most important.
Proceeding from the central court (lying between the third and
fourth pylons) arc the remains of a court where there is a good view
of Ramses Irs famous treaty with the Hittites, mentioned on
Granite pillars bearing the symbols of Upper and ].0\\,<:[ Egypt, Hall of RlXnrds, Karnotk Temple
KARNAK TEMPLE - Southern Buildings
pages 46/47, followed by the seventh pylon (P.l). T his court
was the site of a temple of the Middl e Kingdom and it was here
t hat Legrain ext racted a fantastic number of works of art from
what became known as the Karnak Cachette. Bur ied in a pit were
thousands of pieces including statues in stone and bronze, sphinxes
and sacred animals. The bronze items alone numbered 17 ,00 0 . It
seems that one of the Pharaohs decided to have a spring clean in the
temple and remove all the junk. Though most of the pieces are of
little artistic mer it, the find shows that the temple could well have
housed the 86,486 statues mentioned in the Great Harris Papyrus.
The seventh pylon (P. l) was bui lt by Thutmose III , and facing
it to the sout h are the remains of two colossal statues of him in red
granite. Bet ween the walls uniting the seventh and eighth pylons,
to the east, is a small shr ine dati ng also from the reign of T hutmose
The eighth pylon (P.8) was the work of Queen Hatschepsut and
is the most ancient part of the struc ture. In fact there is very littl e
proof of her having built thi s pylon, for her name was removed from
the reliefs by Thutmose II. And following Ikhnaton's removal of
Reconstr ucted statues oy Inc Eighth Pylon, Kamal Temple.
Plan 3
Temple o f
Os i ris and
Ope t
. " ,....'"
.., ".." ".
.." ",, ' "-:".
-,." ",,,,'
..',;.,1'.1-,,. .. ' ,. " ..,
..... " " I'" ~
... .. , . ' , 11,111.. " . 11" ' I, " _," " " . , . . ' I"." I ' M' l .t ,.1" "_" '" t., "'" . , .1. ' ' ...' , . J.,. ' l '\' ,\ ~
GI RDLE WAL L :"" '''\ }'
/./.,.. . " .r " I .p.., ' ,. .,J ......,..., r-....,..,...., ....'.",....."I.....,"'.,.,...{..,...,.,"- :::.. '_.. ,: ~
.,,\ i'
1. :"!
all allusions to Amon, Seti I restored them, often inserting his own
name in place of th ose of the older rulers. Reconstruction of this
area ma y yet supply the mi ssin g clues to the overl apping reigns of
th e Thutrnosidcs.
In the doorway at the rear left-hand of thi s court (Plan 3 v) is an
import ant hi st ori cal relief on the left. It is the first instance in
Egypt' s long history where the high priest, in this case Amenhotep,
is depicted in the same size as the Pharaoh. Standing with ar ms
uplifted, Amenhotep offers flowers to Rarnses IX. This relief in-
dicates the growth of priestly power. Faithful traditionalists of the
established religion, the pr iests of Amon had hitherto been
righteous, just and devout. The power of leadership had been
firml y vested in th e throne and they had recognised and accept ed
th is. Over the years however their simple pi et y had turned to mild
int erest in earthly matters, then acute inter est, and finall y to
intri gue and a craving for polit ical power. The high pr iest depi ct ed
in thi s mural makes offerings to the Pharaoh while being draped in
linen by two servants. A reciprocal gesture of appreciation ? Or a
royal bribe ?
Beyond the eighth pylon is a row of six royal personages. The
best preserved are Amenhotep I (in limeston e) and Thutmose II
(in red gr anite), both to the west.
The ninth pylol1 (P.g) was bu ilt by Harrnhab the one- time
general. When repairs start ed it was found to be filled, like its
companion th e tenth pylOl1 (P.I O), with bl ocks from Ikhnaton's
temple to th e Sun. Together with the 40,000- odd blocks from th is
same period found beneath the hypostyle ha ll and the second pylon ,
th ese number some 60,000 bl ocks and ar e valuable clues to a period
abo ut whi ch th er e arc many gaps in our knowledge. When the first
small, di stinctively uniform sands tone blocks were dis covered in
th e pylon ofRamses II, it was at first erroneou sly assumed th at they
had been br ough t lip-river from a dismantled temple in Tel cI
Amarna, Drainage operations subsequently led to the excavation
of parts of no less than seven teen colossal st atues of Ikhnaron
himself. Ikhnat on in fact had had the tem ple er ected befor e he
changed hi s capi tal to T el cI Arnarna and whil e Thebes was wit-
nessin g th e slow indoctrinati on of a new reli giou s con cept.
Ikhnaton Temple Project
Wh at is now known as th e Ikhnaron T emple Pr oject was originally
unde rtaken h ~ ' the Univers ity Museum of Pennsyl vania. Now it is
subsidised in pari hy the Antiq uities Department and in part by the
St atue otAmenhotc p II in KarnJl Temple.
Smithsonian Institution, and is the first scientific study of antiqui-
ties by computer. It entails the extra cti on of the bl ocks and the feed-
ing of details of their design, inscriptions, etc. int o a computer,
whi ch will match the pieces and prepare the way for recon struction.
Modem techniques ma y thus conce nt rate a lifetime' s work into a
decade. The question is whether the bl ocks will prove to be parts of
one immense temple, a worthy companion to the temple of Amon,
or a complex of many.
It is no exaggeration to say that the Ikh naton Temple Pr oject is
one of the most important pieces of work being done in Luxor
toda y. To date th ere is a gap in the hi story of the ar ea. Only in th e
tomb of Ramose (page 14I) is ther e an oppor t uni ty to compare the
age- old tradition of art isti c expre ssion with the new.
characterist ic of Ikhnaton's time. What a drama when, within th e
ver y pr ecincts of Amon's sacred templ e where he enjoyed unques-
tioned dominance for gen erations, there will ri se a structure from a
period meant to ha ve been forev er forgotten . Side by side with
Amo n's power and supremacy will be Ikhnaton's new faith and
the sun, with its radiating for ce ending in the gesture of
The eastern avenue of sphinxes extends from the tenth pylon to
the Gate of Philadclphus, whi ch is excellently pr eser ved . T he
temple of MUI is to th e sou th . To t he west is the temple ofKhonsu
and the temple of Osiri s adjo ins it.
Temple of Osiris
and Opot
Temple of Khonsu: Plan 9
The T empl e of Khonsu, dedicated to th e Moon God Khonsu , son
of Amon and Mur, is a classical example of a New Kingdom temple.
Ramses III was responsibl e for building the ori ginal sanctuary and
erecti ng the walls but it was only completed under his successors
Ramses IV, who cont inued the near chambers and added a sma ll
hypost yle hall , Ramses XII , and Hrihor, the high priest who
seized th e throne at the close of th e zoth Dynast y. Hrihor added a
colonnaded cour t and the entrance pylon . I n the 21 st Dynasty the
temple was continued under Panejern I.
The larg e pylon at the entra nce (Plan 9 P.I) has representations
of th e high priest and his wife making sacrifices to various Theban
deiti es. The high priest , Hrihor , stands in the position traditi onally
occupied by th e Pharaohs of Egypt. The four vertical grooves with
corresponding apertures in the masonry at the front of the pylon
were used to fasten the flagstaffs.
Passin g thro ugh the centr al portal of th e pylon, decorated
Thutmosc 1' 1 in J If;\d tt i' lOJ I scc ru- Shll Win!! th e punishment ofal l counr rics.
with reliefs of Alexander II , we ent er the Court (A) . This has
four side-exits and is surrounded on three sides by colonnades of
papyrus columns with bud capitals formed in double rows . Those
at the rear of the court arc on a rai sed ter race.
There is a representation on the right -hand wall (a) showing the
main pylon of the temple with eight, not four, flagstaffs. On the
walls of the terrace Hrihor makes offerings to Amon, Mut and
Khonsu (Ii) . At (r ) he receives gifts from Kh onsu and there arc also
representations of the sacred bar ge. At (d) Hrihor offers flower s to
an image of Min, the god of human ferti lity. .
Through the doorwa y at the back of the court IS the
hall (B) which spans the full breadth of the temple. I four
papyrus columns in the central aisle have calyx .capltals whilst the
smaller side one s have bud capitals. The wall reliefs were added by
Rarnses XI I and depi ct hi m sacri ficing to the gods in the presence
of llrihor, who lat er dethroned him.
The central doo rway in t he rear walllcads to the sanctuary (C).
The reliefs represent the Pharaohs Ramses IV, Ramses XII and
various deiti es.
Behind t he sanct uary, on each side of which are small c.hamb.ers
with reliefs of Ramses IV, is a small door of the Ptol ema ic period
leading to a sma ll hall (D) which has four t wenty-sided columns.
The reliefs mostly depi ct Rarnscs IV but there are .also
representations of the Emperor Augustus on each SIde of the
entrance. There arc seve n small chambers, decorat ed by Ramscs
III and his successor s, sur rounding this hall. .
The temple of Khonsu is of special historical significance since
it bear s witn ess to the transmissi on ofPharon ic power , between the
reigns of Ramscs III and Rarnses XII , from royal line. of
Phar aohs to the pri est s of Amon. As alread y the high
priests gradually acquired more af_ter the close of
the i Srh Dynast y. With an ever-weakening line 0 1 Phara?hs after
Rumses I I they wer e at last able to usurp the throne. In thi s temple
the name of the high pri est appears in a royal cartouche for the
first time.
Temple of Osiris and Opet: Plan 9
The Temple of Osiri s and Opet adjoins that of . Khonsu to the
sout h- west. It comprises a rectangular hall which has a well-
pr eserved ceiling resting on two Hathor-decor ated columns, a
second small hall which is flanked by two rooms , and a sanctuary.
The sanc tuary has representations of King Euergetes I [ before
various deit ies.
A flight of steps from the sanctuary leads to the lower chambers
of the basement and the exit door , which once connected thi s
temple with that of Khonsu.
Temple of Mut
Now completely in ruins, the Temple of Mut was sur rounded on
three sides by a hor seshoe-shaped lake. It was dedicated to the
consort of Amon and comprised a pair of open courts, one following
the other, and a sanctuary surrounded by ante-chambers. The
construction extended through man y generation s from Arnenhotcp
III to Ptolemaic times.
Among its many stat ues and mural s is a grotesque figure of the
god Bes, and at least 600 statues of the war-goddess Sekhrnet in
black granite. These sur rounded the entire court, in places packed
closely in double rows.
Ar ncnhutcp II was known for his enormo us muscular stren gth . Hi s arrows pie rce J sheer i ll' Asian l' ll p p l'T . (l'.;lm Jk
Tempi... )
It was to t he We st, where the Sun God at the end of each day began
his noct urnal journe y t hro ugh the underworld, that man also
gained admittance to t he her eafter. I .ife after death was a concept
most deepl y. rooted in the minds of the. ancient Egypt ians. Sin ce
the earliest rimes they had seen the passmg of the mort al hody not
as an end hu t as a beginn ing. Belief in the her eaft er was the focal
point of their outloo k. It sti mulat ed their though t, their moral
pr inciples and thei r art.
Man, as they saw him, comprised t he bod y, the spiri t (or ha), and
the 1..'11 , a sort of guardian doubl e which, thoug h hom at the same
time, did not shan: death with him. After the passing of his mortal
body man could live again through his ku , pr ovided that it was
nourished and surrounded bv all that was necessary for a con-
tinu ed existe nce. Hi s ha or spirit ascended to higher "spher es and
could fly around the world and ret urn to the tomb, provided that
his body was properly pr eser ved. Without the body, in fact, there
could be no conti nued existence. So it can readily he seen that the
repository for the dead and the manner in whid) they were to be
interr ed were of the utmost importance. .
h en in pre-dy nastic t imes the dead, laid to rest in simple oval
pits surmoun ted by a pi le of rubble, were covered with a protecti ve
ani mal skin am] surrounded by pot s containing food and drink, a
few primiti ve weapons and orname nts. Each slow development
from these crude pit burials th rou gh the mas/aha development to
the pyramid proper, and its ultimate aba ndonment in favour of
rock- hewn tombs, was a batt le to preserve the body. \ Vhen a stone
superstruct ure was placed ato p a tomb in place of the rubble, this
was beca use it was a stro nger safeguard agai nst the eleme nt s. Wh en,
in place of skin, line n cloth was used to swathe the hodv this was
because it afford ed better protection. Wh en the tombs were made
deeper , when a system of blocking entrance passages was dev ised,
when funerary customs underwent chan ge, each stage was an
advanceme nt in the pro tectio n of the body to allow t he deceased to
live agai n, till' ever. .
IHas/ahas, low rectangular bench- like brick struct ures were
tombs. T he ear liest comprised a single bur ial chamber deep
in the ground , in whi ch the deceased, placed in a wooden sarco-
phagus, lay surrounded hy potter y filled with food, dr ink and
ointments, and chests of weapons and jewellery. In the funerary
roo.m hui lt in the superstructure there was a fa lse door thro ugh
which the ka could join the world of the living. In front of it was an
offering table where relatives and frien ds could place food and
drink to sus tain the deceased in t he her eafter.
Si nce tombs were regarded as the places where the deceased
would dwell, they closely resembl ed contemporary houses both
inside and out. Naturall y, incr eased prosperi ty meant a bett er life
and, since a man' s good fort une led to an increased concern to take
it all with him to the hereafter, the ma st aba underwent transforma-
tion. It became larger and more complex, construc ted to fit each
individual's special requirements. T he sarcophagus, still laid in the
central chamber of the substruct ur e, stood on a plat form. Ot her
chambers were constr ucted for the funerary eq uipment . Abundant
food and drink meant more sustenance for the body. Perfected
furniture meant more etern al comfort. Ointments, weapons, games,
clothing, all meant a bett er after-life. And since it was desirable to
be sur rounded by loved ones, chambers were someti mes con-
str ucted for the wife, sons an d daught er s of the deceased.
. But}arger tombs and richer funerary equ ipment led to increased
fisk of violat ion by robbers. It is somewhat ironi cal that, whereas
mummification was to be per fected and art and archit ecture were
to rise to a high degree of soph istica tion, no secure method of
hindering the rob ber was ever found. During fifty cent uries tombs
were violated , the ir con ten ts taken and the hodies exposed to t he
clement s.
T he burial chamber and adjoi ning rooms for the funerary eq uip-
ment were or iginally cons tructed first and then, after the super-
structure was raised, t he deceased and hi s belongings were lower ed
through the roof of the mastaha, down the pit and straight into t he
burial chamb er. Wi th bigger and more elahorate tombs, however ,
an easier means of ent ry had to be dev ised. Access was thenceforth
made via a stairway from a point outside the superstructu re and
leadi ng dir ectly under ground to t he tomb chamber. It was hoped
that robbers would be deterred by an elaborate system of'blocki ngs.
In mastahas dating from t he latt er part of the 4th Dynast y
a special room was constructed in the superst ruct ure, separated hy
a wall from the other rooms. T his was the st at ue house, now known
by the Arab ic na me of serdab or cellar, where a stat ue or statues of
the tomb' s owner were placed. It was consi dered as the scat for his
ka and th er e were slits in the interve ning wall which enabled the ka
to sec the light of da y, watch the offe ring ceremo nies and enjoy the
scent of the burning ince nse . T he slits themsel ves were known as
the eyes oft he lea-h ouse, In th is way the de ceased , lying underground
in his tomb chamher, had his ka supervi sing the offering cer e-
monies on his behalf. But how could he be sure that future genera-
tions of hi s relat ives would contin ue to bring him food and drink?
To ensure conti nued nourishment he had himself represented on
the tomb walls in the act of recei ving sacrificial offerings. These
representat ions of food and dr ink wer e bcIieved to serve him in
place of the real t hin g. Not su rprisi ng ly this was only one step away
from believing t hat an ything depicted on the walls of a tomh was as
good as the real t hing : a well-s toc ked far myard, healthy cattle, a
large house and garden, numerou s ser vants.
Royal tombs were or igin ally lar ge brick mastabas. In fact the
Step Pyr amid of Sakkara, the first stone hu ilding in hi st ory, started
as a mastaba and grew to it s characteristic proportions as a result of
successive additions. Thenceforth the tombs of the head of state
steadily surpassed the tombs of the people in size and magnificence.
In time the steps were filled in and the outer casing was made
smoo th until the full pyr amid form developed. These were vast
stone struc t ures, designed in geome t rical simplicity, to safeg uard
the body of the deceased Pharaoh . To th e cast of each pyramid was
a mortuary temple where a priest hoo d cond ucted ri tuals and main-
tained the tomh complex. t\ cove red causeway connec ted it with a
valley temple whic h stood at the foot of the plateau .
T he pyramids, of wh ich the great 4th Dynasty Pyramid of
Khufu (Cheops) at Gi za is the most famous, failed to safeguard the
bodi es of th e Ph araohs. T ho ugh some of these vast str uctures
stand as imperishable landmarks, they were probably robbed as
earl y as the uncert ain peri od following the fall of the monarchy at
Memphis in the 6th Dynasty. Yet, surprisingly, for over six cen-
tu ries, until T hurmosc I came to t he throne in the t Sth Dynas ty,
the pyramid cont inued to be the tomb const ructed for the royalt y
of Egy pt.
Amcnhorcp I was the first Pharaoh to break with the ancient
custom. He saw th at th e durable pyrami ds had failed to safeguard
the bodies of his ancest ors, that blind all eys and hidden cha mher s
neve r fooled a robber. Now he atte mpted secrecy to give him the
ete rna l sec uri ty he craved. For his tom b he chose a site hi gh
on the hi lls south of the Valley of the Ki ngs and built his mo rt uary
temple in the valley. Hi s successor, T hut mose I, followed his
innovat ion of separa ti ng the burial chamber from the mortuary
temple, being the first Ph ar aoh to construct his tomb in the Valley
of the Kings. Hi s architect Ineni excava ted it throu gh solid rock
across a precipitous valley, and record ed for post erit y on a stele in
his tomb that he car ri ed out his Pharaoh's request ' no one seein g
and no one hearing'. His mortuary temple was bu ilt at the edge
of the ver dant valley on the west bank of the Nile. Thus, he bel ieved,
could his cult be conti nued whil e his actual res ting place was
This precedent was followed. The Pharaohs that succeeded
T hutmose I in the i Sth, i oth and zoth Dynast ies conti nued to dig
their tombs deep in the sterile valley which is now kno wn as th e
Valley of the Kings. Royal consor ts and children from the roth
Dynasty were buri ed at a separate site, the Valley of the Quems.
Noblemen had their tombs dug at vario us ceme teries amo ng the
footh ills of the ran ge.
This is the Theban necr opolis, the City oft he Dead. It was not
EI F ~ d I Y J Cana l runs parallel with th e Nil e, at Lux or
alwa vs as lifeless as we sec it toda y. At one time beside each
mortuary te mple t here wer e dwellin gs for the pri est s and sta bles
for the sacrificial animals. Near bv were the guardhouses and
granaries each with its superi ntende nt . or in fron t of
each temple were lakes, gro ves and beautifull y laid-out garde ns .
A lar ge community of labour er s and craftsmen were engaged on
t he building, the decorating, the making of stat ue and sar cophagus,
and, of course, on the very specialised job of the deceas.ed
for the her eafter : mummifi cation . The ru ins of this communit y
have heen excava ted near the temple of Der el Medina. Some
-+0,000 pieces of pottery and scra ps of papyru s give
revela tions of the art ists and art isans who lived there. The village
comprised abo ut eighty families, each possessing a uniform.
and sparely furnished house. They worked. under a system
admi nist rat ion and the peopl e were classified according to t heir
work. T he designers and scri bes were consi de red super ior to th e
artists, pai nte rs" and draughtsmen. The quarrymen and. masons
nat ur ally came above the port ers, digger s and mortar mi xers . At
the bottom of the scal e were the watchmen and refreshment
carr iers. At the top, in charge of the whole community, were
Di rector of Wor ks and the vario us for emen immediately under his
Atte nda nce was str ictly marked and an abse nt worker had to
account for himsel f. The wr itten exc uses have surv ived the cen-
tu ries. One had to ' visit rnv mothe r- in-law' . Anot her had to get
urge nt suppl ies from the marker . Illn ess was a freq uent excuse. T he
scan da ls, q uar rels and complai nt s of th e all
On one occa sion a complaint reac hed the authorities that a chair, a
box and a mi rr or were missing from the tomb of a worker. He
descri bed them in det ail. A chec k was made . No thing was foun d.
BUI when Br uye re, leadi ng the French
was exca vating t he area he found the three described pieces
of the sma ll tombs in the surrounding cliffs where the dead at the
village were bur icd !
T here were also complai nts of a mor e serious nature, as for
example the bac klog of which led the famo us. Revolution
[t hc zothi z tst Dyu ustics, writ ten on papyn and that the
aut hori ties failed to give allowances to the peo ple of the for
two months. Payme nt normally came regularl y each month m t.he
form of charcoal, dried meat , fish, bandages and cloth, along wit h
mat er ials for their work. When the carava n failed to t urn up t he
villagers staged a revolt and attempted to send represe ntati ves in
protest to Thehes . T hey were sto pped from crossing the river.
However, t hey did finally send the Omdah (he adma n) of the village
to spea k on their behalf and were consequently prom ised thei r
salaries wit hi n a week.
The men of the village were all skilled wor kers . Those that
toiled in the Vallev of the Kings for t en day st retches slept in make-
shift shelte rs in a"mount ain pass above the village unt il the ir term
of work was over. On their return they had ample time to enjo y
sculpting at leisure, making jeweller y, household objects
statues of their own guardian deity, Hathor , to whom they built a
small shri ne . One village resident , Kha, a draught sman who rose to
the position of architect , placed in his tomb a selection of
which appea rs unused. It is doubt ful wheth er he aet ua.lly enjoyed
these luxuries in his home . They were evident ly placed In his tomb
that they mi ght ensure him a better .
It is strange to not e that nowhere on the Fheban necropolis have
the rui ns of a mummificati on centre yet been found .
Plan II
As we have seen, the reignin g Pharaoh was the embodiment of the
Sun God and the God of the Imperi al Age, When he died and Arnon
cast his prot ective shield over his successor, the cult of the deceased
Phar aoh was continued in his mortuary temple, which was also
dedi cated to Amon.
The largest of these temples, that of Amenhorep III, is no more ;
alit hat remain arc the twin statu es known as the Colossi of Mernn on
seated in solit ary isolation in the plain. T he mortuary templ e of
Scti I at Kuma contains some of t he most exquisite relief work on
t he Thcban necropolis. The most beaut iful, Queen Hatschepsut' s
at Ocr el Bahri, lies slightly inland from the semi-circle along the
valley' s edge. The Rarnasseum of Ramscs II is a page in hist or y,
and Medi net Habu, the name given to a group of buildings begun
in the i Sth Dynasty and continuing to Roman times, incl udes a
splendid temp le built by Ramses I II on the same pattern as the
Seti I was the Pharaoh who fought agai nst the Libyans, Syrians
and Hittites in an effort to win back the empire of Thutmosc Ill.
He succeeded in reconquering territor ies spreadi ng from Mesopo-
tamia to the island of Cyprus and carr ied home vast treasur es to
adorn his temples, hath th is one at Kuma and the mar vellous one
at Abydos. Set i encour aged art and arc hitect ure, and his two templ es
without doubt hold some of the most exquisite relief work in the
enti re Nile Valley.
Whil st approaching this i qrh Dyna sty mortuary temple it would
he as well to remember that the execution of funer ary art was in-
heri ted from long-est abli shed tr aditi ons and was considered
sacred. Si mi lar themes and unvarying treatment followed from one
dynasty to the next, the onl y real di fference lying in the competence
of its exec ution. It is here that the real valueo f this temple lies. The
Second Court (destroyed )
Second Pylon (destroyed)
reliefs show that craftsmanship had reached a remarkable stage of
maturity. There is little doubt that the artists in Seti's rei gn were
aware (;f foreshortening and knew how to cope with it. Yet they
int erpreted their figures as did th e art ists of th e Old Kingdom,
never viol.u ing the pattern of est abli shed art. They merely eon-
ccnrratc d their efforts on preci se and refined detail. .
This te mple, apart hom being co nstr ucted to conn nue the.
of t he deceased Pharaoh and to honour Arnon, was also built III
reverent memory of Seti ' s fath er , Rarnses I, who di ed befor e
cons t r uc t ing a templ e of his own . It was not hy ? et i I
but hy hi s son, Ramses I I, who s upplied th e missmg reliefs and
inscriptions. .
Of t he or iginal len gth of some I 58 <? nly about +7 met
of the temple remain, mostl y th e ar ea contauung the sanctuary, It S
hall s and ante-chambers. Most of th e fr ontal cour ts and pylons arc
in ruin hut because of the execution of the rel iefs, a visit is im-
mensch' wo'rthwhile. For example, just beyond the eight remaining
columns of the colonnade are three doors leading to the inner part
of the temple. The walls between, at (a), carry representations of
the provinces of Upper Egypt "a man and a w.oman alterna!ely
hearing dishes laden with flowers, cakes and wmc (to the lett) an.d
similar representations of Lower Eg ypt (to the nght),' On th,elr
heads t he former have lotuses, the emblem of Upper Egypt. 1
latt er have pap yri, that of Lower Egypt. ,:\ hove the :ehet
the Pharaoh oilers incense to the barge 01 Amon carried by pri est s.
:\ nd ab ove the ri ght-hand relief he appears bef ore var ious deiti es .
It is immediat ely apparent that th e lines ar e sens itive and refined
while the drawing is boldl y executed . .
Tht: hypos!. )'/e hall (/ 1) whi ch we ente r middle
doorwav has slabs on the roof of th e cent ral aisle on which th er e
arc flvinz vult ures, the win ged sun-disc and the names of Seti. I
hetw een 't wo vert ical rows of hier ogl yphs. Low on the walls SetI I
and Rarnscs II arc seen before var iou s dei ties. At (/I) and (c) ar c
Mur and Ilathor, nourishing Seti .
On each side of the hyp ostylc hall arc three The
two on eac h side , (d) (t') enand (g), ha ve fine reli efs which depict
Scti offe ri ng incense or performing ceremonies !n the pr esence at
the deiti es. In chamber (d) Thoth, the god 01 SCIence, can be seen
before th e sacred barge of the Pharaoh (on the left-hand wall)
while (on the ri ght-hand wall) the Pharaoh is seated bcllJre.
offering table . On the rear wall Seti is depicted as the god Osiris,
seate d ' in a shrine surrounded by deities. Chamber (h) bears th e
sunken, cru der reli efs of Ramses I I, who enters the temple (to the
right) and offers incense to Amon, Mut and Khonsu the
Beyond the hypost yle hall is the (B) .whlch has fo.ur
simple sq uare pillars, and the decorations on th e SIde walls depi ct
Seti I offering incense before the barge of Amon. The base of
Amon 's sacred bar ge still stands here. The chambers beyond are
in rum.
In t he ri ght-hand division of the temple is a. long of Ral1!ses
II (C) . Again we can compare these sunken reliefs WIth those of the
main huilding. They are clearly far inferior work. .
On the corres ponding left-hand di vision of the temple ISa small
shrine constructed by Ramses I (D) and probabl y usurped by
Rarnses I I. Adj oining it are three chambers. In the middle one. (i)
Seti offers incense to the barge of Amon and, on the rear wall , IS a
stele shaped like a door, to Ramses II, who appears in Osiris form
presided over by Isi s as a hawk. The two .flanking chambers have
reliefs dating from Ramses II and show him before the deities.
(DER EL BAHRI): Plan 12
Framed by steep cliffs and poised in elegant relief, stands the
temple of Del' el Bahri . Justly deserving its name ' Most Splendid
of All' , it was the inspiration of the beautiful Queen Makere
Hatschcpsut, daughter of Thutmose I. What st r ikes one. first
approaching this temple is its unity with nature. Far from being
belittled by the star k purity of the cliffs behind, the temple was so
designed that th e cliffs form a backcloth . .
Hatschepsut, whose royal lineage to. th e Great Royal
Ahrnose made her the only lawful hell' among Thutmosc I s
children, hi s sons being by minor wi ves, was by her sex
from succeedin g as Pharaoh. She con sequen tl y married her half-
brother Thutmose II. During his rei gn and her subseq uent co-
regency with Thutmose III she retained power in her capable
To appreciate the temple of Del' eI Bahri one a little
of the character of the beautiful woman who conceived It. She was
indisputabl y iron- willed and not willing to let th e fact that she was
a woman stand in her way . She assumed a throne name - Makere.
She wore a royal shirt and ceremonial beard, the badges of kingship.
She proved her right to the th rone in numerous relie fs of her di vine
bi rth,
Once l Iatschepsut had secu red her right to the th rone she
embarked on the building of temples and monuments and also on
the restorati on of damaged sanctuaries. This was perhaps especi ally
import ant to her since she could hardl y record her name in history
through mili tary conquest and sought to do so through architectural
magnificence. The ohelisks she had erected in Karnak temple
(page 51) were so placed th at the glitteri ng tips should ' inundate
the Two Lands just as it appears in the hor izon of heaven' . And
she plann ed her mortuar y temple to be no less spectacula r. Her
architect Sc nrnur, whilst drawin g ins pi rat ion from the adjacent
J rrh Dynast y temple of the Phar aohs Mc ntuhorcp II and I II ,
carried it out on a very much larger scale. Ado pting the idea of th e
terr ace and addi ng an extra tier , he made suc h imposi ng use of it
that he deserve s special credit. l lc designed a terr aced sanct uary
comprising court s, one above the other with connec ting incl ine d
plan es at the cent re. Shrines wer e ded icat ed to Hath or and Anubis
and chambers devoted t o th e cult of th e queen and her parents.
It was a labour of love, for Senmut, who first entered the
service of Hatschepsut as tu tor to her daugh ter Nefrure, had am-
bit ions and abili ties th at took him high on the ladder of success. lie
not only ended with no fewer than forty titles but conducted
himsel f as a member of the royal family, enjoyi ng privileges and
prerogat ives never hefor e enjoyed by a man of humble birth. He
was I Iat schcpsut's supporter and lover and doubtless also her
poli ti cal ad viser. He was also gra nted a privilege accord ed to no
official before or after : that of constr uct ing his tomb near the
mortuar y temple of his mon arch .
Hat schcpsur had t wo tombs. Her bod y was found in neither. The
first she had du g in the Valley of the Kings where all member s of
the royal family were laid to rest in the i Sth Dy nasty. T he second,
after she became monarch, was in the Taker Zeid Valley, south of
Del' el Bahri and overlooking the Valle y of t he 'Kings. The former
tomb was so designed that the corr idors, burrowed 2 13 met res
benea th the barrier hill , sho uld lead to the tomb chamber itself
directl y beneath the mortu ar y templ e. It was as though, whi le
wishi ng to constr uct her tomb in the roya l valley, she wanted at
the same ti me to conform to the ancient practice of linking the
tomb with the mo rt uary temple. Sh e neve r achieved her goal. Bad
rock or other causes led to the passage being continued in a swerve
()8 met res belo w gro und level and th en abandoned. It is devoid of
relief and insc ription and, apart from limest one slabs relating
cha pte rs from the Book of the Dead in red and black sketch form,
is a rather patheti c and cru de passage. In her red sandstone
sarcophagus the body of her father T hutrnose I had been laid to
rest , un til the pr iests of the zoth Dynas ty removed his mummy to
the shaft of Del' el Bahri (page 84) for safe keeping. In fact Hatsche-
psur' s sarcophagus had been enlarged to receiv e his body. Wh y
was T hutmose I laid to rest in his daughter's tomh ? Because his
own had already been used by T hu tmose II, who died prematurely
after a short co- regency with Hat schcpsut. And Hat schep sut ' s
mummy? It probabl y suffered the same fate as her statues and
representations in murals. For, when T hurmose III finally asserted
himself and expelled her from t he th rone, his years of frus trated
energy swelled fort h in a campaign of dest ru ction whe n he
obliterated from every temple throughout the land, but from De l'
cI Bahr i in part icular, ever y reference to the fema le Phar aoh.
Later, when Ikhnaton removed refer ences to Amo n from the
temp les of Egypt , t he inscriptions of Del' el Bahr i were further
muti lated. Ramses II ende avoured to restore them but the wor k-
The Mortuary Temple of Queen I Iatschcpsut 31 Dcr cl Hahn
Plan 12
Lower Court
manship was inferior. And in thi s condition the beaut iful templ e
remained, with only minor alterations takin g place unt il Christ ian
monks set up a convent there. Sad ly, but understandably, they too
scraped the walls and added to the overall desecration.
Two of the learned members of Napoleon's expedition to Egypt
in 1798 first made the temple ofDer el Bahri known to the modern
world, releasing part of it from its sandy embrace. Champollion
was responsible for deciphering the hieroglyphi cs and att empting
to unravel the famil y feud. Mariet te interpreted the picturesqu e
reliefs of the Voyage to Punt. In 1894 the Egy ptian Exploration
Fund started to exhume the temple properly but the ir work was
not completed for nine years. Some of the colonnades were roofed
in and certain other necessary alt erati ons were carri ed out to
pr eserve the rema inin g reliefs and colonnades.
For sever al years now a Pol ish team has been excavating and
reconstructing the templ e. In 1969 they unearthed a small temple
bu ilt by Thutmose I II to the left of the upper terra ce of Hat schep-
sur' s temple and parallel with the rock-hewn inner chambers. 1n
1970 they unearthed what at first appeared to be another terrace
but has since been described as a pr otective roof to the rear of the
temple to safeguard against falling rock.
Punt Colonnade
The Punt Colon nade commemorates an expedition or dered by
Qu een Hatschcpsut to the Land of Punt (in the East Africai
Somalia ar ea) to bring back myrrh and incense tr ees \ 0 be plant ed
on the terraces of the templ e. The relief tell s us that Amon himself
ordered the expedi tion and it appears that Hat schepsut not only
car ried out the divine will but made the expedit ion a ma jor mission .
Lower and Central Courts
We ascend the temple of Der cI Bahri from the lamer court where
two colonnades have been rest ored. These comprise twent y-two
columns on each side arra nged in double rows. In the southern
colonnade is a scene showing two obelisks bei ng tran sported by
water (those Harschepsur had erected at Karnak). The first row
shows them on the deck of the barge and below a trumpet er leads a
group of archer s to the inaugurati on ceremony.
Passing bet ween the two colonnades we come to the central court
(Plan 12 A ), which leads to the upper terra ce. We are now faced
with two famous colonnades . On the left (B) is the Colonnade of
the Expedition to Punt. On the right (C) is t he Birth Colonnade .
S . Colonnade
QOQl:I oao ,J o") QO
On the southern wall (II) we can see the village in Punt where the
houses ar e constructed over water with ladders leading up to the
entrances . We can see the mayor of the city, the inhabitant s, the
gr azing catt le and even the village dog. The Egyptian envoy and
his entourage arc greeted in welcome and are shown pr esent ing
merchandi se for barter . T he fat, deformed queen of Punt is there.
T he hieroglyphi cs relat e tha t t his illustri ous monar ch tra velled by
donkey and, with obvio us wit, the arti sts have shown the little
donkey itself. Throughout the span of Egypti an hist or y, from pre-
dynast ic times to the fall of the empire, it was not oft en that
deformed or ph ysically hand icapped persons were scu lpt ed or
drawn. The few that were belonged to the earl ier dvnastics and
were peopl e of the lower classes. The portrayal of the qu een of
Punt suffering from the swollen legs of elephantiasis, and without
even a royal carr iage for transport, makes one feel that neither
llarschcpsur nor her arti st s had mu ch respect for her.
On the back wall at (b) the Egypt ian fleet sets sail, arri ves in Punt
and we sec the transportation of the ince nse tr ees planted in small
tubs (t op row) and on board the vessel (lower row). These will be
carried back to Dcr cI Bahri, there to be planted in the court. In
ta ct the root s ar c st ill on site to thi s day.
On e ca nnot hut feel, di vine will notwithstanding, that more than
a littl e of Hat schcpsur ' s whim and fancy went into t he elabor ation
of the who le mi ssion. In a joyous representation at the cent re of the
long hack wall (c) the queen (defaced) can be seen offering the fruits
of her expedition to Amon: incense tree s, wild game, catt le,
clectrum and bows. The whole mural speaks of success and
Shrine of Hathor
T o the left of the Colonnade of Punt stands the Shrine of Hathor
( D) . It h,IS two roofed-in colonnades with Hathor columns leading
to the shrine itself whi ch comprises three chamhers, one beh ind
the ot her , and each with several recesses. In the colonnaded court
is a large sacrificial scene on the southern wall (If) showing a boat
containing the l luthor-cow with Qu een Hatschepsut drinking
from t he udder. On the rear western wall is a representat ion of
Thutmose II (replacing Ha rschcpsut ) having his hand licked hy
the Harhor -cow.
In the first chamher k) Harschepsut or Thutmose III is repre-
sent ed with several of the deit ies. The colour is excellent, especi ally
on the ceiling which is decorated with stars on a blue sky. The
l larhor column from 'he Shn nc of Hathor, JJcr d nahri
seco nd room ( f) sho ws Hatschcpsu t (scrape d) making offerings to
Harhor. who stands on the sacr ed barge beneath the canopy. This
is a reli efof unusual beauty. Ehi, son of Horus, is the little nude boy
who holds a sistrum in front of the queen. The third room (g) has
an unusual point ed roof and the wall reliefs show Hatschepsut (on
each of the side wall s) drinking from the udder of the cow, Hathor,
with Amon standing before them. On the back wall is another
particularly beaut iful relief of Harschepsut standing between
Hathor and Amon with the latt er holding before her face the
hiero glyph symbol of life.
Birth Colonnade
T he Birth Colonnade corresponds exact ly to the Punt Col onnade.
As already menti oned, it was const ructed to allay con cern about
l l urschcpsur's right to the throne. The theory of di vine origin was
above dis cu ssion, let alone di spute, and thi s is shown in a scene of
the ram-h eaded Khnum shaping} latschcpsut and her ka on the
pott er 's wheel (Ii) under instructions from Amon who has im-
pr egnated the queen mother. Among the particularly fine represen-
tations is that of the queen mother Ahrnose (I), full with child. She
radiates joy and stands dignified in her pregnancy, smiling a smile
of supreme cont entment as she is led to the birth room. Unfort u-
nately most of the scene in whi ch Amo n and the queen mother arc
borne to the heav ens by two goddesses seated on a lion-headed
couch, is badly damaged. But the grotes que figure of the god Bcs
can be seen in the lower row (j) .
In the scene of the act ual birth the qu een moth er sits on a chair
whi ch is placed on a couch held aloft by various gods . This in turn
stands upon another couch also supported by gods. The queen
mother has a retinue of femal e attendants . l lathor then pr esents
I Iarschepsut to Amon and the t welve kas of the divine child ar e
suckled by twelve goddesses (k) . Hatschepsut and her ka have been
erased but in th e scene at the end of the wall (I) they pass th rough
the hands of vari ous goddesses who record th e divine birth.
Hatschepsur ' s mother is shown in the presence of the ibis-headed
Thoth, the ram-head ed Khnum and the frog-head ed Hekel. She
also con ver ses with Amon who tell s her that he r daughter shall
exerci se kin gsh ip throughout th e land.
By depi ct ing l latschepsut as a boy and by repeating the theme
of Amon laying a hand of blessing on her shoulde r, the most
important prejudices against her rul e are ove rcome.
Srnall and Up per Courts, Sanctuary . .
To the ri ght of the Birth Colonnade is a sma ll court (E) c?mpnsmg
twel ve sixteen- sided col umns in three rows, and leading to the
chapel of Anubi s, which has three chambers. The walls (!f the
have excellently preserved reliefs, th ough represcntanons 01 the
queen have all been damaged. On the (II!) the
small recess is a scene of the monarch making a wine-offeri ng to the
hawk-head ed Sakal' is, god of the dead. On the rear wall offerings
are made to Amon (to the left) and Anubis (to the right) with the
sacrificial gi fts heaped up before each. .
The ifppa Court (F) was the part of the temple that suffered
most seve rely at the hands of the Christian monks. It has been
closed to for more than a year for reconstructi on . It in-
cludes a small vest ibule leading to one of the few altars (C ) to come
down to us from antiquity on their ori ginal sites, and to a sacri ficial
hall (H) with reliefs adorning the wall s. At the back of the court are
a number of small recesses, some lar ger than others, and the cent ral
recess leads int o the sanc tuarv itself whi ch was cut directl y into the
cliff backing the temple. granite portal forming the entrance
dates from the time of the Ptolemies.
The S anctuary (1) comprises three chambers. The first two have
vaulted ceilings and adj oining recesses. In the first chamber IS a
scene (on the upper reaches of the ri ght-hand wall)
Thutmose III and their little dau ghter, Princess Ranofru, sacri-
ficing to the barge of Amon. Behind th em are the qu een ' s father
Thutmose I with his wife Ahmose and their littl e dau ghter
Bitnofru. A similar scene, somewhat damaged , is represented on
the left-hand wall with Thutrnose III kneeling. In the inner room
of the san ctuary the reli efs show a marked deterioration from the
worthy representations in the reign of Hat schepsut . This room was
restored by Euergetes I I.
As already mentioned, Hatschepsut' s mummy was never found.
It was nei ther in the tomb she constructed in the Vall ey of the
Kings, nor in the one excavated south of the mortuary temple, nor
in the shaft at Del' el Bahri, nor in the tomb of Arnenhorcp II , the
' Safety Tomb' . Whether she was poi soned that .I ll
mi ght take over the throne, stabbed by her lover , killed by officials
jealous of Senmut' s favour, or died a natural death remains a matter
for spe culati on .
T he Shaft at Der el Ba hri
In 1881 a twelve metre shaft was excavated at the foot of the pre-
cipitous cliffs to the north of Der el Bahri . It was found to contain
no less than forty mummies of Egypt ' s anci ent monarchs, all of
which now lie in the Egyptian Muse um in Cairo.
T he story of this di scover y goes back to I S70' when various
anti que ob jects began to appear on the market at Luxor , slowly at
first but with a steadi ly increasing flow. Obvio usly some royal tomb
was being ransacked . Enquir ics -v-some subt le, some other wise -
yielded nothi ng. Although the felaheen of Kuma were clearl y
involved it was also abunda nt ly clear that they intended to keep
quiet. When funera ry statuett es of King Panejem followed t he
flowof import ant papyri on the market the Director of Antiq uities ,
Si r Gaston Maspero, redou bled his eflor ts in searc h of a solution.
The only substantial clue seemed to lead to a prominent anti -
quities merchant , Abd cI Rasool Ahmed. Yet even when his sullen
silence was bro ken and he agreed to a cross-examination, it led
nowhe re. His talent for denial was masterl y. And, since he was such
a respected citizen with so many supporters who could vouch for
his honesty and innoce nce, t here was complete deadlock.
Ironically enough it was a fami ly ri valr y that led to his betrayal.
His eldest brother finally led Emile Br ugsch, in t he absence of
Maspero, to t he site. A shaft was found in one of t he coves of the
range of hills separat ing the Valley of the Kings from Der eI Bahri.
In the words of Maspero himself it was : ' Acatacomb crammed wit h
Pharaohs !' It incl uded some of the most famous kings of the i Sth
and 19th Dynasties such as Amenhotep I, T hutmose II, Thutmose
III , Seti I, Rarnses II and Ramses II I. On e of the mummies was
that of Sekcncnre, an Egyptian prince duri ng the time of the
Hyksos. Mu mmifi catio n had been carried out only after some
decomposi tion had set in and it showed that he had met an ex-
tr emely violent death; his jaw was cr ushed and there were signs of
thre e other blows, each of which could have been fatal, on the head.
Mernepta h, thought by some scholars to be the Pharao h of the
Exodus , was missing . Drowned in t he Red Sea ? Many thought so
until , some eighteen years lat er, his mummy turned up wit h twelve
others in the tomb of Arncnhotcp I I, where they had also been
hidden by the priests for-safety.
T hese hiding- places represent a pathetic last att empt to safe-
guard the bodi es of Egypt's deceased Pharaohs from robbery. That
the hidden Valley of the Kings was no safer than the huge pyramids
was quickly made evident. And when the country experienced
Ikhnat on' s reformat ion, tomb-robbi ng became a free- for-all,
especially in the desolate Valley of the Kings, and with every
indication of official conniv ance. At the beginning of the rot h
Dynast y Harmhab issued instructions for the reburia l of T hutmose
IV. His successors Seri I and Ramses II endeavoure d to enforc e
better security hut the situation became worse as central aut hori tv
lapsed under- the later Ramess ides and violation of the b u r i , ~ l
places was resumed. T he temptation in the form of pure bullion
alone was more than enough to t urn desire into an epidemic of
greed. One has only to see the solid gold coffin, gold statuett es,
shrines and jewellery of T ute nkhamon, who was the younges t and
one of the least import ant of the Pharaohs of Egypt , to have some
idea of the lost treasures of the necropolis.
When robber s were caught in ancient times they were duly tried
and puni shed. T wo papyr i, known as t he Abbott and Amher st
papyri after their discoverers, not only confir m this but give details
of the tr ansportation of the mummies to the obscure shaft at Der el
Bahri. No less than sixty pr iests and offi cials of the necropolis were
arrested at the time for comp licit y in the desecration of the tombs.
Abd el Rasool was merel y the tail end of a long histor y of pillage.
The Cavern at Der el Bahri
Befor e leaving Der el Bahri, menti on must be made of a cavern
sit uated on an elevate d moun tain ledge above the mortuary temple.
Though it is not easily accessible, reference is made to it because it
was used by th e workers on the templ e as a rest ing- place and the
walls are covered with sketches and spare-ti me doodl es. T hey
depi cted their despised overseer in several unflatter ing and some-
what cr ude activ it ies and arc valuable as being amongst the few
examples of free individual expression. In these sketches the artist
not the art isan was at work and the theme was entir ely his own.
(T HE R AMASSE UM) : Plan 13
This magnificent mortuary temple is unfort una tely half in ruin . It
compares in bot h cons truct ion and qu ality of material with the
mortuar y temple of Seri I at Kuma but not in the art istic execution
Pl an 13
Entrance Pyl on
T he murals on t he inner sur faces of the entrance pylon show, on
the northern tower (a) towards the centre of the wall (lower rows),
the Egyptian army on the march with infantry and charioteers. T he
Egyptian camp is shown above them with a rampart of shields. T his
is a lively scene with the chariots dr awn up in long lines and heavy
baggage- waggons wit h the ir teams nearb y. Some of the unh arnessed
horse s are being foddered. Some of t he soldi ers converse with one
another. One drinks from a wineskin. Two others quarrel. The
scene to the ri ght of this same tower shows Ramscs II seated on his
throne taking counsel with his princes who stand before him.
Below him is a row of captur ed spies being beaten to extract
On the sout hern tower (b) the act ual attack is shown. The entire
left-hand side of the pylon shows the battle of Kadesh (as depi cred
also on the pylon of Luxor temple, page 26) : Ramses I I dashes into
batt le in his chariot, dead and wounded cover the ground, other s
of the murals. The design is simple for a New Kingdom structure
and though Ramses' son Merneptah, and his successor Rarnscs II I,
made some additions they were minimal and did not detract from
Rarnses II ' s ori ginal architectural conception.
Ramses II developed what can only be described as an extra-
ordinary building acti vity during his 67-year reign. He enjoyed
having his state sculptors depict him repeatedly and there is hardl y
a pylon, hall or chamber in the temples of Egypt that does not bear
his name. Hi s monument s, mostl y massive, spread from Memp his
and He liopoli s to Abydos and Thebes, apa rt from those in the
heart of Nubia. His image is also perpetuated in gigantic det ail in
the rocks of Asia.
On e ean imagine with what joy his sculptors presented ostenta-
tious project s that they were sure would he accepted. The image of
Rarnses II is more indelibly projected into the modern age than any
other. His favourite theme was his famous alliance with the Kin g
of the Hittites. It is in fact depicted on the great pylon that forms
the eastern entrance to the Rarnasseum. This campaign was the
Pharaoh' s only really import ant one in Asia over some fifteen years,
though he was also responsible for suppressing some Nubian
revolts and carrying out a campaign in Libya.
The ent ire st ructure of the Rarnasseurn within the girdle- wall
measures approximately 275 metr es by 168 metres , though a large
porti on consi sted of sub sidiary buildings and storerooms.
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retreat in confusion only to fall headlong into the Orontes, the
Hittites take refuge in their fortress. The reliefs on right-han?
half of the tower show the Pharaoh grasping enemies by the hair
whilst smiting them.
First and Second Courts
The first court of the Ramasseurn ( A) is mostly in ruin. Towards
the rear, before the ancient western gate, lie the remains of
was once a colossus of the king and one of the most enormous pieces
of stone ever shaped to such perfe ction (c). This massive stat ue, or
rather t he remains of the chest, upper arm, foot , etc., shows work
of superb craftsmanship even to the final polish. When the French
expedition under Napoleon visited Egypt careful measurements
were made of the various remaining part s and it was estimated that
the stat ue' s total hei ght must have been over seventeen metres and
its weight over one thou sand tons. In other words this granite
statue not onl v exceeded in size the Colossi of Memnon (page 100) ,
but also most of the statues of Ramscs' ancestors. Its tran sportation
from the granite quarries of Aswan in one piece is almost impossi?le
to conceive. Hatschepsut 's obelisks at Karnak were onl y one thud
of t he weight.
On passing the colossal remains we enter the second court (B),
which is in a much better state of preservation. It has colonnades on
all four sides, those to the rear on a terrace. Facing the are
statues of Osiris and the representations on the column
Ramses II sacrificing to the deities. This court was the one Identi-
fied with the Augustan historian Diodoru s' description of the
"Tomb of Osymandyas'. 'Osymandyas' may be explained as a
corrupt form of User- ma- re, one of the names of Rarnses II. The
two colossal monoliths of the king (d), which must once have
towered over the pyl ons of the Ramasscurn, inspired Shelley to
write his famous poem O.z)'/1/l/ndias.
In th is court arc well pr eser ved scenes of the battle of Kad esh (e).
Rarnscs II dashes into battle (lower row). He is depicted larger
than his men , and the enem y, mostl y dead and wounded, lie in
heaps on the ground. The fortress of Kadesh, by a
moat , divides a group of the enemy from the battlefield. 1 hese mel!,
far from preparing themselves for hattie, arc lending a hand their
dr owning companions. Though this mural has been considered
by some as a pretentious interpretation, there is no doubt
complexit y of the composition shows and
tion. The indi vidual figures, howe ver , indicate marked det eri ora-
tion from the expressive detail of the murals of Seti I 's mortuary
Hi gher on the wall (e) are scenes from the Festival of the God
Min which was celebrated when the Pharaoh came to the throne.
The priests, who stand to the side of the king and await a pro-
cession headed by other priests carrying images of the royal
ancestors, let forth four birds to carry the royal tidings to the four
corners of the earth. Further to the right the Pharaoh cuts a sheaf
with a sickle for presenting to the god. Murals portraying such
festivals are immensely effective. The artists' ability to depict battle
action is less so in view ofthe stylized treatment of the human form.
At the back of the court are some stairs, and on the rear wall to
the left cn are three rows of relief work. The bottom row depicts
Ramses II as a family man with his eleven sons . The middle row
(left) shows the hawk-headed Montu holding the hierogl yph for life
before the king's face and (right) the king kneels before the Theban
triad while Thorh, who is behind him, writes his years on a palm-
leaf. In the top row he is making a sacrifice to Ptah and offering
incense to Min.
Rem ain s of t he <:olnSS.11 mon olit h nf Ramses II in his Mortll ;u y Tcmpl..., the R:Jnl:ls: stum
Hypostyle Hall
The Hypostyle Hall (C), which follows a small flight of stairs at
the centre back of the court, is markedlv similar to the one at
Karnak. Both have three aisles, the taller columns at the centre with
calyx capitals and the lower ones at the sides with bud capitals. As
at Karnak the difference in height is made up bv a wall with
openings for light. The hypostyle hall of the is less
cumbersome than that of Karnak. The columns appear more grace-
ful and better proportioned. Throughout the hall the representa-
tions depict Ramses II in battle. This time the troops with ladders
storm the fortress of Zapur (g. lower row). The Pharaoh dashes
Into the thick of battle in his chariot (to the left), leaving the enemy
In flight or scattered on the ground. To the right the attacking
Egyptians scale the fortress on ladders and push up to the walls
under the protection of storming-sheds and shields. The sons of
the Pharaoh took part and proved themselves worthy of their
heroic father. Each is identifiable by his name engraved beside him.
On the western walls (h) and (i) the sons of Ramses II are shown
(in the lower rows). Above them (at h) the Pharaoh is followed by a
goddess in the presence of Amon and Mut. Above the princes (at i)
he 1S depicted before Amon and Khonsu with the lion-headed
Sekhmet behind him.
Smaller hypostyle halls
Beyond the hypostyle hall arc two smaller hypostyle halls falling
one behind the other in the middle of the remaining chambers
which spread backwards and sidewards from the few standing
walls. The first (D) has astrological representations on the roof
and on the easternwalls (j) and (/::) priests bear the sacred boats of
Amon, Mut and Khonsu, each decorated with the head of its god.
On the rear right-hand wall (I) Ramses is seated beneath the sacred
tree ofHeliopolis, on the leaves of which his names are being written
by Arum, who is seated on a throne to the left, with a goddess and
Thoth to the right.
The second hypostyle hall (E) is mostly in ruin. It has some
sacrificial representations including a scene (Ill) of Ramscs burning
incense to Prah and the lion-headed Sckhrnct.
The Portrayal of Ramses II
When looking at the murals of the Ramasseum, recording the wars
of conquest and aggrandisement, one cannot help recognising this
as a very early form of mass persuasion. On no monument wall
or pylon, is there a record of a single governmental setback,
neither through Internal ferment nor through military defeat. The
Pharaoh IS always hero. His chronicles arc always glorious. And
none are. more glonous than those of Ramses II. According to his
royal scribe, Pentaur, when he and his chariot driver were separated
from the army and. ho,?elessly surrounded by the enemy, the
fearless Ramses II S1X times charged the foe single-handed. He
hewed them. down. with his sword and trampled them under the
wheels of hIS chanot. According to Pentaur Ramses overthrew
2,50 ? enemy chariots, scattered 100,000 warriors and drove the
rest Into the water!
Ramses Irs feats on the home front do not have to be exag-
gerated. They stand today as proof of his abilities. He was the
Pharaoh who dug out the heart of a mountain at Abu Simbel in
to fashion within it a great hall and no less than fifteen
spacious chambers. He faced the hollowed construction with four
carved colossi that, even a seated tower to a height of
20 metres. Ramses II will always remam a central figure in
Statues of Osiris in the second court of the Ramasseum
Egyptian hi story and one that can be forgiven for claiming full
cr edit, here and there, for work begun by his ancestors .
Plan 14

. i . _ = = = = = = ~
Outer Court
Shrine of --:i] ;
Amenert8is ~ ~ ~ II ~
I U :.
- - ~ ~ 1 ~ : ~ _
Me dinct Habu is the name given by t he early Christians to a gro up
of bu ildi ngs dating from the beginning of the i Sth Dynasty and
conti nui ng right th rough to Roman ti mes . T he original st ruc ture
was built by Arncnhotep I and was added to by Hat schepsut and
Thutrnosc III who for med it into a small, grac eful temple (Plan 14
A) . Rams es I II built an unusual en trance st ructure (B ) whi ch took
the place of the regular entra nce pylon and por tals of stone. This
str uct ure is known as the Pavilion, the name given by the French
scho lars accompanying Napoleon. Rarnses III also bui lt a splendid
mort uary temple (C) which is one of t he best examples of the
smaller type of sanctuaries of the time . Under the Pto1cmies and
the Romans the temple was enlarged and the complex elaborated .
Much of it came to grief following the rise of Christianity. A churc h
was in fact built in the main court.
We enter the Mcdinet Habu complex th rough the pavilion. In
front of it are two small watc h-towers and a battl ement of elevated
masonr y. It has two upper stor ies cont aining several small apart -
ments. Passing th ro ugh the end gateway we enter an outer court.
The i Sth Dynast y Temple, begun by Arnenhotep I and add ed to by
Hatschepsut and Thutmose I II during their co-regency, lies to the
right. It was completed dur ing the latter's sole monar chy and bear s
tr aces of drastic alteration bv both Thutmose II and II I, who
scraped off all the qu een' s original reliefs, especially in the inn er
chambers. Restorations were made by IIarmhab and Seti I to the
figur es of the deit ies defaced by Ikh naton. T he ancient gro und plan
was drast icallv alt ered in Pt olemaic and Roman times and littl e of
it is dis tinguishable today .
To t he left is a sma ll shri ne of Ame nertais (D) , the moth er- in-law
of Pscmrnct ikh I, and further back is the main temple of Ramses
T he mort uary temple of Rams es III at Medinet Habu was bui lt
on exactly the same plan as the Rama sseum. T he pain t on the
reliefs is well preserved, in some places in nearl y per fect condi tion .
T his temple grew th rough successive years and, as the campaigns
- -I
1- - - - - - - - - t
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Pylo" 2
D ~
Fi rst Cou rt
0 v
b A
Pvl on 1
Pylon 1
Plan 15
Second Pylon, Second Court
At t hc back of thc court is thc second pyloll ( P.2) recording the
Pharaoh's battles in the eighth year of his re ign, On the left -hand
tower (r) he leads three rows of pri soners to Amon and Mut. T hese
prisoners do not have beards, whic h usually denote Asian peoples,
hUI wear caps adorned with feath ers and aprons decorated with
tassels. T he right-hand lower (d) has a long series of inscripti ons
First Pyl on, Fi rs t Court
T he f irst pylon (Plan 15 P. l) is covered on bot h sides with repre-
sentat ions and inscriptions recording Ramses Ill's victory over the
Libyans in the 11 th year of his reign. On the right-hand tower (a)
the Pha raoh stands before Amon (to t he right) in the trad itional
pose of dan gling enemies by t he hai r whilst smiting them wit h a
club. T he captured lands - circular forts inscribed wit h the name
of the city and mou nted on bound enemies -c- are handed to him by
the hawk-headed Montu. Between the groo ves for the flagstaffs (to
the left) is a simi lar scene on a smaller scale, and below it is a long
poeti c description in exagge rated language of the great victory. At
the foot of the pylon Amon is seated (to the left) with Pta h standing
behind hi m inscribing the Pharaoh's name on a palm- leaf. The
Pharaoh kneels before Amon and recei ves from him the hier oglyphs
for 'jubilee of the rei gn' suspe nded on a palm- branch . T hoth
writes the kings years on t he leaves of the tr ee.
The left- hand tower of t he entrance pylon repea ts these scenes
and inscript ions.
Passing through the central portal, whi ch is emb ellished with
representat ions of Rarn scs I II wor ship pi ng the various deitie s, we
enter the first court (A) and view an inter est ing representation on
the inner side of t he first pylon (b). This is also of the Libyan
campai gn. The me rcenari es who took part ar c recognis able by
their round helmets ornamented with horn s. The chariotcd
Pharaoh charges and overthrows t he enemy . This court is flanked
by covered colonnades, those to the right with colossal statues of
t he king as Os iris in front of each. T he scenes on the side walls
repeat t he victorious war themes and the tr iumphant return of the
king with his captives to att end t he Great Feast of Amon .
of Rarnses were graphically recorded with its growt h, his mil itar y
exploits can be followed st ep by step from the rear , or in other
words from his last military campaign on the foremost pylon,
backwards in time.
recordi ng Ramses' military tr iumph over ' the Great League of
Sea- Peoples' .
An incli ned plane leads us thro ugh the granite gateway of the
second pylon and int o the second court (B) , which was the area
convert ed into a churc h. It was fully cleared of remna nts of the
Christ ian per iod in 1895 and thi s proved to be one instance where
we can thank the early Christians for preser ving rath er than
destr oying. For it is due to their having covered the original
representati ons with mud, to avoid distracting the congregation no
doub t, t hat they arc in such good condition today. This cour t is an
almost exact replica of the second cou rt of the Rarnasscum, bot h in
architectur al layout and in the relief dr awings. On the back walls of
t he colonnades are sce nes from the life of the Pharaoh incl udi ng
importan t festivals and warl ike deeds.
On the right-hand side of the court (upper rows) are scenes from
the Great Fes tival of the Go d Min. As in t he mural of the Ramas-
scum, ther e is a lovely representation inclu ding trumpet ers, dr um-
mers and castane t player s. At (e) the Pharaoh is borne on a richly-
decor ated litter with a canopy from the palace, led hy pr iests and
soldiers and followed by his sons and courti ers. At the head of the
line (upper row) are a trumpeter and a drummer and in the lower
row castanet players. At (j) the king sacrifices before the image of
Min and offers incense. Then comes a scene of the sacred pro-
cession : it star ts on the ri ght-hand wall at (g) and conti nues
rou nd the corne r to (11) . Studying the scene from left to righ t, we
sec pri ests, flanked by fan-hear ers ; t he pri ests carry the image of
Mi n on a litt er. Next more priests wit h the sacred caskets. T hen
come the Pharaoh, the sacred white bu ll of Min, pri ests, the queen
and a procession of priest s in two rows carrying standards and
images of the Pharaoh and his ancestor s. Further to the right the
Pharaoh awaits the procession and the pr iests allow four birds to
fly to the four corne rs of the earth to carr y the royal tidi ngs. At (i)
the Pharaoh cuts a sheaf of corn with his sickle in the pr esence of
priests and his qu een (above). The white bull again appears in
front of the Pharaoh and benea th is a series of images of royal
ancestors. At (j) the Phar aoh is shown offering incense to the god
Min as he stands ben eath a canopy.
T he colonnade on the left-hand side of the court has scenes from
the Fest ival of Ptah- Sokari s in the upper rows, and the much more
int erestin g war rel iefs in the lower divisions on the wall, starti ng
with the inn er wall of the second pylon (k) . The first scene shows
the Pharaoh att acking the Libyans with his charioteers as he shoot s
Second Pylon uf the Te mple of Ramscs III at Mcdinct Habu.
wit h hi s bow and the infant ry flee in all di rect ion s. T he mercenaries
arc in th e lower row. The second scene shows him returning fro m
battle wi th t hree rows of fettered L ibyans before him and two fan-
bear er s behind. The third scene show's him lead ing his pr isoner s of
war before Amon and Mut. These are t hemes we hav e met before,
part icularl y on the first pylon of Rarnscs II I' s little in
court of Karna k (page +1), but with th e additi on of an
scene in t he co rner (I). T his shows t he Phar aoh t urning In hIS
char iot to receive four rows of pri son er s of war fro m, amongs t oth er
notables, his own sons. Hands and phalluses (uncircumcised) of
t he slain arc co unted .
T he rea r walls of th e ter race (m) and (II) ha ve three ro ws of
rep resentations . In th e t wo upper rows t he is shown .wor-
shippi ng vario us deiti es. The lowest row depi ct s th e royal prmces
and pri ncesses.
Great Hypostylc Hall
T he Great Hypost yle Ii all follows. T he rool: syP-
ported by t went y-four columns in six rows of. lour, WIth. t he eight
columns forming th e double central row considerably thicker th an
th e ot he rs . The wall reli efs show Ra mses III in t he presence of
various deiti es. Adjoining eac h side of the hypostylc hall arc a series
of chambers which stored costl y je wel s, musical inst ruments, etc.
Rarn scs II I was the last of t he grea t Ph ar aohs and also th e hies t .
.\ s he offers the fr uits of ear lier co nquests, coupled With his own,
to Arnon one can sec that t his is no exaggera tion. In chamber (0)
he pr esents Amon wit h papyru s-h olders in t he form of lions wit h
1he Ph ar aoh's head or kneel ing figures of the Pharaoh. In chamber
(/1 ) cos tly vessels, wi t h lids of rams' , hawks' , or Phar aohs' .heads, are
handed to Amon. Chamber (if) shows t he Ph araoh hand ing Amon
sacks of precious stones and in (r ) cost ly tabl e-services, harps,
silver lead an d ornaments . Again, in chambe r (s) he oil ers heaps
of gold and othe r pr ecious met al.s to Amo n. .chambers to .t he
r ight of the hyposr ylc hall conta m mostl y sacrificial scenes bel ore
the var ious deities.
Beyond th e hypost ylc hall ar c t hr ee smaller (C , f) ?nd
F) . T he first t wo have eight col umns each and t he third four
pi llars. The surrounding cha mbers are dedicated to di fferent
Exteri or
On t he outside of the temple t he re ar c important histori cal reliefs
commemora ti ng th e wars of Rarnses I I I. T hose on t he wes tern
wall (t) have sce nes of the Pharaoh' s battle again st the Nubians.
The actual bat tle sce ne, the tr iumphal procession with capti ves and
the pr esentati on to Amo n, ar e sho wn. The nort hern wall has ten
scenes from the war s against th e Libyans and a naval victory over
a northern people. T he naval battle (at /I) is an extremely animated
representation : ha ving alighted from his char iot th e Ph ara oh
shoots agai nst the hostile fleet. Before him are arche rs . Above him,
in the form of a vult ure, hovers the goddess of Lower Egy pt. One
enemy ship ha s capsized and the Egypti an vessels -distinguishable
by a lion's head on the prow-s-are stee red by men wit h lar ge oars
whil st th e rest of t he cre w row from benches. T here are bound
captives inside th e ship. Ot he rs appear in the lower row. The north-
ern wall (at v) has scenes fr om th e Syria n wars including t he
storming ofa fort ress and the presentati on of prisoners to Amon and
Ther e is little doubt that these r eli efs show a decline in art istic
ability. T he painsta king det ail of Set i I's rel iefs is lost. T hese arc
cru de r in execut ion and t he compo sition is somewha t lackadai sical
Ramscs II I pr esent s wine to t he deit ies. Scene from his Mortuar y Temple at Mcdin cr Habu
compared to the relief work of the rSth Dynasty. There is, however,
one relief that reflects artistic inheritance from earlier times. This
is the hunt for deer, wild bull and wild asses in a marshy area, and
it can be seen on the southern wall on the back of the first pylon
(r). The Pharaoh has already slain one bull which lies on the
ground. Others escape into the thicket and the artist has endeavoured
to create depth by showing the bull hiding between the rushes. As
a three-dimensional approach it is extremely effective. On the
southern wall (at x) is a festival calendar which includes a list of
appointed sacrifices dating from Ramses Ill's accession to the
Two massive statues, sadly weathered by time and now of no
artistic merit, sit in stately isolation in the fertile lower valley of the
necropolis. They once formed an impressive entrance to the
mortuary temple of Amenhotep III and are solitary relics of his
golden era. The mortuary temple itself was probably destroyed by
royal vandals ofthe ruth Dynasty: Ramses II and hisson Merneptah
apparently had no scruples about pillaging the most awe-inspiring
temple on the necropolis in order to build one for themselves.
These two statues rise to a height of twenty metres above the
plain. They were made of sandstone under the supervision of the
Pharaoh's chief architect, Amenhotep son of Hapu, who trans-
ported them from the quarries on eight barges along the Nile
during the annual flood. The one on the left is in a better state of
repair' and shows Amenhotep III seated and flanked by his mother
Mctarnwa and his wife Tiy. A third figure between the legs has
been destroyed. On each side of the scat arc representations of two
Nile-gods winding the papyrus and lotus, symbols of Lower and
Upper Egypt, round the hieroglyph for 'unite'.
The Colossi of Memnon were so named by the Romans who
believed them to be statues of the legendary son of Aurora,
goddess of the dawn. Memnon had slain Anrilochus during the
Trojan War the latter being the valiant son of Nestor -vand had
himself finallv fallen at the hand of Achilles. The first visitors to the
necropolis during the Roman epoch interpreted the strange sounds
they heard emerging from the statues at dawn each day as Memnon
greeting his mother Aurora.
The myth grew and tourists flocked to see and hear for them-
selves. The number of Greek and Latin inscriptions, in both prose
and verse, on the legs of the statues, attest to each having heard
the sound for himself. Some said it was a musical note, others a
trumpet blast. Others still said that they could hear voices chanting,
or the sound of an angry god. It was a great tourist attraction. The
curious were subsequently followed by the eminent. Physicists
carne-and exploded the myth utterly. It was, they said, the
contracting of the stone during the cool nights following expansion
during the day that caused a splitting off of particles from the
Be that as it may the sound completely stopped when, in the time
of Septimius Severus, the Colossi were repaired and some of the
holes were filled in. It has never been heard since.
The Colossi of Mcmnon
No' . Toufl st , w lSh'ng to _"lef tomb s
t ~ 1 4re c l o ~ "..ey ob' . ,n ptIlm, u ion
to do sa lmm the Int9'8"OI of
Al'lllq"u i.,
The Valley of the Kings, other wise known as Biban el M il/ilk, is
situated about two mil es inland from the edge of the valley. A
tarmac road makes the distan ce seem short. Before its construction
a visitor had a sense of the arid remot eness of the site chosen by the
Pharaohs of the rSth, roth and zoth Dynasties for their tombs.
There are over sixty in the valley.
The Pha raohs of the New Kingdom, as already explained, chose
to separate their tombs from their mortuary temples as a safeguard
against pillage, and to burrow through solid rock in an effort to
ensure eternal seclusion. T he actual tomb design was relatively
uniform, differi ng only in length and in the number of chambers.
There were usually three corridors, one following the other ,
leading to the inner chambers. High up on the walls of the second
corridor were sometimes oblong recesses for t he recepti on of the
furnit ure and effects of the deceased. Alternat ively other recesses
or chambers were provided at the end of the third corr idor for the
same purpose. At the end of the third cor ridor was a door leadin g
to an ante-chamber; the main hall or tomb chamber lay beyond.
The roof of the tomb chamber was often suppor ted by pilla; s and
small chambers led off it. In the centre or to t he rear was a crypt
containing the sarco phagus, usually of red sandstone.
A shaft, someti mes dropping to a depth of over six metres, was a
feature of several tombs. Whether thi s was designed to di scourage
possib le grave- robbers from pr oceedi ng further is not sure, though
there are positi ve indications that this was their purp ose; for
example, the representations on the upp er walls of the pit shaft were
usually left unfini shed with the outer frame of decorat ion missing,
whereas the chambers beyond the shaft were fully decorat ed.
Another theory is that the shaft was for the drainage of rain-wat er ;
thou gh rain is not common in Egypt the tomb designers may well
have taken precaut ions against the possibility of seepage.
The concern of the Pharaoh was not with his death, which was
inevitable, but that his journey to the hereafter should be as
as possible. There was no apprehensi on, no fear. Man continued
lite after death in mu ch the same manner as he had lived on earth,
so long as the necessities for his exist ence were provided, safe-
guards were taken to prevent his body from decay, and the
reli gious formu lae were scrupulously followed . .
In the Middle Kingdom the religious formulae by which the
dead were to triumph had been record ed both inside and outside
the sarcophagus. Gradually the texts were elaborated and scroll s
of papyrus were placed in the coffin as well. Enl arged over the
years these graduall y became uniform and the nucleus of what has
become known as the Book ofthe Dead.
The rock-hewn passages and chambers represent stages in the
journey to the underworld, which was. supposedly di vided
twelve hours or caverns. The deceased sailed through them at night
in the boat of the Sun God ---in fact actuall y absorbed by him-
and rep resentations on the tirst corridors of the tombs often show
the ram-headed Sun God surrounded bv his retinu e who are
standing in a boat and temporaril y bringing light to the places he
-travcrscs, As they pass from one leg of the journey to another they
have to go through massive gates, each guarded by huge serpents.
These chapters of the formula are known as the Book ofthe Gates.
The forward corridors were generall y devot ed to Prais es ofRa-
hymns 10 be sung and illustrations of the ceremonies to be per-
tC;rmed before statue of the deceased Pharaoh to imbue it with
eternal life. And finallv the decea sed reached the judgement scat of
Osiris, King of the
Osiris, the creator of law and agri culture, had once ruled on
earth. With his wife and sister Isi s at his side he had been a just and
much loved ruler who was slain by his jealous brother Set. Set, as
the myth goes, conspired against Osiris and at a banquet I?er-
suaded him to ente r a chest which was then scaled and thrown IOta
the Nile. It was carried down to the sea. The broken-hearted Isis
wandered far and wide in tortured miser y seeking the body of her
loved one. Accompanied on her sad mission by the goddess
Nephthys she eventually found the bod y entangled in a tamarisk
bush in the marshes of th e delta . She hid the bod y, but Set, out
boar -hunting, found it and cut it into fourteen pieces , scatt eri ng
it in all directions . Isis cont inued her mission, collected the pieces
(at each spot a monument was erected, which accounts for the
widespread myth) and sought the help of the jackal-god Anubis,
who became god of embalmment, to prepare it for the netherworld.
While he carried out her orders Isis wept and prayed and drew near
her dead lord 'making a shadow with her pinions and causing a
wind with her wings . . . raising the weary limbs of the silent-
hearted (dead), receiving his seed, and bringing forth an heir .. .' 1
Isis, the myth continues, raised her son Horus in the marshes
until he was strong enough to avenge his father's death by slaying
Set. He then set out to seek his father and raise him from the dead.
The risen Osiris, however, could no longer reign in the kingdom on
earth and now became ki"b of the underworld where, with Isis
still at his side, he ruled below with the same justice as he had
exercised above. Horus took over the throne of his father on earth.
On the walls of the tomb chamber, or in the rear corridors, arc
dramatic representations of the dangers carefully guarded against :
enemies withdrawing the breath from the nostrils of the deceased;
water bursting into flame as he drinks; foes robbing him of his
throne, his organs and , worst of all, his very name , which would
thus depri ve him forever of his identity.
The tombs in the Valley of the Kings, which are guidebooks to
the hereafter, give us an insight into the hopes, expectations and
fears of the living Pharaoh. Verv soon after his coronation he must
have ordered the construct ion of these usuall y vast complexes. His
artists made initial sketches on the walls. Hi s arti sans began to turn
out the 403 Shataabti (little statues bearing the implements of
labour and usuall y put in big wooden boxes in the tomb to save the
Pharaoh from tedi ous work in the hereafter). Funerary furniture
was designed and made. And since secrecy was vital, only the
worker s from the cit y at Ocr el Medina (pages 7017I) toiled on the
tombs and onl y the Pharaoh himself and the high priests knew the
actual site.
It is probable that the priests actually possessed an architectural
plan or blueprint for the construction of tombs in the valley.
Though none has ever been found , one cannot believe that a people
capable of placing an obelisk of solid granite upri ght on a small
rectangular base, of planning irrigation canals, and, with their
obsession for accuracy, of dividing the year nearly 4000 years
B.c. -into 365 days and thus forming the basis of the calendar we
use today, that such a people would hazard a guess about that most
vital decision : wher e to dig a Pharaoh's tomb. Admittedly the first
corridor of the tomb of Ramses III actually breaks through into
another tomb-that of Arnen-mesis, one of the pretenders to the
throne at the end of the roth Dynasty-s-and is consequentl y
diverted and continued to the right . While this might indicate the
Ij ames Breasted, Til t' Dawn Charles Sc ribner, H'47. (l . 100,
absen ce of any blueprint it may equall y be the exception that proves
the rule.
What a sad tum of fate that, despite the remoteness of the site,
enforced secrecy, complexity of structure and diversion shafts, the
tombs were robhed from earl iest times ! In fact they were probahly
penetrated soon after they were sealed. Lust for gold, though the
main , was not the onl y reason for their violation. The sacr ed
corri dors were also penetrated hy enemies of the Ph araoh who
want ed to pr event him from continuing his rule in the hereafter.
There has been viciou s mutilati on of some of the mummies .
Ramses VI, for example, when unwrapped after having heen found
hidden in the tomb of Arnenhotep II, was discovered to have been
literally hacked to pieces.
On the sar cophagi of Scri I and Ramscs I I ar e records of a
cent ury and a hal f of persistent effort by the pri est s to safeguard the
roval mummies. Ramses II was first taken from his own tomb to
that of his fath er Seti I. Later he was hidden in the tomh of Queen
Inhapi . And finally he was placed in the shaft at Ocr el Bahri. In
th eir haste to rewrap and hide the mummies, the priests sometimes
failed to take the necessary precautions; in the wrappings of
Rarnses I the bod y of an old lad y was found! This was no isolated
As we pas s along th e corridors of the violated tombs we wonder
to what happy st roke of fortune we owe the preservat ion of one
single tomb left intact. We wonder why the first robbers of
Tutcnkhamon' s tornb i-and ther e ar e indications that it had been
opened and re- sealed . never went hack to complete the job, When
Rarn ses VI had his tomb constr uc ted above that of Tutenkhamon
the rubble undouhtedl y fell and obliterated the latter's, but that
was over a centu ry lat er. Whatever the reason , it is thanks to the
pr eser vat ion of the tomb of Tutcnkharnon that we know the story
of the lavish splendour, the artist ic merit and the able craftsmanship
of the i Sth Dyna st y. And if this was the tomb of Egypt' s younges t ,
and one of its least significant monarchs, what unimaginable
tr easures mu st ha ve been stolen from the tombs of Amcnhotep the
Magnificent, Rarnses II who loved size and splendour, Se ti I who
encou raged an art istic revi val, and Rarnscs I I I who was known as
the 'Wealthiest of Pharaohs' .
Tutenkhamon was the young Pharaoh who succeeded Ikhnaton
towards the end of the r8th Dynasty. During his nine year rule he
restored Thebes as the capital and start ed the restorati on of the
wor ship of Amon . Apart from this all we know of him is that he met
a sudden end. Egyptologists did not seem worried that his tomb
had never been found. If there were a tomb, they reasoned, it would
probabl y be poor in content. In any case the notable Ame rican
archeologist Davis had said that the Valley of the Kings had long
since yielded all that it had to yield.
Lord Carnarvon, the wealthy En glishman with a passion for
ancient Egypt, thought otherwise. He was convinced not only that
there was a tomb but that there was a great possibility of its bein g
intact . Howard Carter, in charge of the team, toiled year after year
in the desert of the necropolis, as keen and dedicated as Ca rnarvon
was convinced. For th ese two, one fruitless year merely built up
hop e for the next. After six seasons, during which time it was
estimated that some 200,000 tons of rubble were moved, IIoward
Carter was finally forced to accept the fact that his predecessor had
probably been right and t hat the vall ey had no tomb to yield. It was
a depressing decision and one that he could not bring himself to
take. For there was one last , very remote possibility : the sit e
immediately beneath the tomb of Ramses VI. It was cove red with
roughly-constructed workmens' hu ts. On inst ru ctions from Carter
his men set about demoli shing them.
It was 1922. At the bottom of the steps was the doorway of a
tomb. As yet it was too early to tell whose, but the seals seemed
intact. Cables were sent to Lord Carn arvon in Engl and whil e
preparations were made for the opening.
Whatever had been expected, or hoped for , there is no doubt
that the tomb' s actual contents surpassed the wildest dr eams. Wh en
we gaze at the contents whi ch now lie in Cairo Museum we can
almost feel the agony of suspense, exhilaration and utter amaze-
ment that must have over whelmed the first to see the fabul ous
tr easures. The opening was att ended by Lord Ca rnarvon himsel f,
who unhappily never lived to see the full ri chness of the contents
of the tomb, as well as by Lady Eve lyn Herbert , Professor Breasted
and Dr Alan Gardener.
The tomb proved to be small, but packed to bursting with
furn iture, emble ms, utensils, ornaments, bows , arrows and
walking- st icks. Co mforts for the Ph araoh in the hereafter included
a fly-whisk trimmed with ostrich feathers and a camp- bed folded
108 10
in three parts. There were neckl ets, pendants, rings and car-rings,
to say nothing of the shrines and sarcophagi. According to Carter ,
who spent ten years cataloguing the cont ents, the re were 171 objects
in the first room alone . Wh en he had made a small opening in the
door of the tomb chamb er, he had been faced with what appeared
to be a wall of solid gold. It turned out to be an enormous gilded
shrine within which, one after another , lay no less than thr ee
other s. Within these were a stone sarcophagus and three mummy
coffi ns. The one holding the Pharaoh' s remains was in solid gold
and alone weighed 2,488.8 Ibs.
Whilst the world pr ess was focussed on T hebes it was not
surprising that one imaginative journalist should attribute the
death of Lord Ca rnarvon to 'The Pharaoh's cursc-va sti ng from a
mosquito entom bed for centuries' . It added spice to an already
fermenting excit ement and a growing tourist trade. Vendors ;1I1d
photographers had a he yday in the sacr ed valley, while for gers were
turning out ' anti qui ties' whol esale.
The mummy was found to be resplendent in gold, with a solid
gold mask on the head. There were bracelets , chains, collars, gold
beads and necklets of pr ecious and semi-precious stones, engraved
scarabs and garlands of flowers. Onl y the inner mummy case,
which contained the Pharaoh' s mummy, has been left on site. T he
rest are in the Cairo Mu seum . But ;t is as well to bear these
tr easures in mind as we enter thi s, the smallest tomb in the Vallev
of the Kings, for the walls of the first chamber (Plan )() A) which
measure a mere eight by four metr es, are shockingly bare. Bare, too,
are the walls of the small ann ex (B) which contained vessels and
containers for oils, basket s of fruit and seed, wine jars and potter y,
~ l l decorated in alabaster, ebony, turq uoise, gold, lapis-lazuli and
The onl y chamber with decorated walls is the burial chamber
itself (C). The pai ntings are in almost perfe ct cond ition. T he
religious scenes and inscriptions retain the vivid colour of the day
they were painted. There are full-length figures on thr ee of the
walls standing beneath a dark band which represents the sky. T he
wall on the left (a) has representations from the Book of the Dead.
One is immediately struck by the proportion of the figures, which
appear top-heavy. This was of course a characteri stic of the
Amarna period.
Questi ons spring to the mind. Why should the walls, apart from
the tomb chamber, have been so devoid of decoration when it was
believed to be imp erat ive for every stage of the journe y to the
110 III
underworld to be faithfully followed ? Why were the contents
placed in the disorder indi cated in the photographs taken just after
the opening of the tomb ? And how could so vast an array of
splendid provisions have been completed in the short span of nine
years during which the boy-king rul ed ? Would a young monarch
have been anything but sur e that time was in his favour ?
The provisions for the her eafter can be easily explained.
Tutenkhamon was the last in the famil y line and his tomb was
filled not merel y with his own but with famil y treasures. Many of
the pieces had been taken from the royal temples of Td cl Amarna .
The pr iceless royal throne in Cairo Museum, for exampl e, shows
the young king being anointed by his wife against a background of
the life-giving Aton, symbol of his father-i n-law's heresy. So even
though Tutenkh amon had completely renounced the teachings of
Ikhnaton he carri ed his symbols to his grave. Many of the glazed
vases and sceptres clearl y ori ginated in the other capital. In
addition some of the funerary objects were proved to have been
made, not for Tutenkhamon , but for Sernenekh-Ka-Rc, Ikhnaron' s
son-in-law and co-regent. T hese included one of the larger shrines,
some of the mummy ornaments and the miniature canopi c coffins
which had for some reason been usurped and used in Turenkha-
men ' s tomb.
T he disorder is und oub tedl y ind icative of hurry, as is the lack of
decoration on the tomb walls. It is clear that the young king met a
sudden death and was buri ed in haste. Murder ? Suic ide ? Unt il
1969 the mummy revealed no secrets. But the result s of an ant hro-
pological and skeletal examination of the Pharaoh' s mummy,
carried out by the Departments of Anatomy of Cairo and Liverpool
Universities, are now at hand and it appears that death could have
been caused by a blow on the head. Nearly half a century ago
Howard Carter had said that there was a ' scab' on the Pharaoh' s
head. Now Professor Harri son of Liverpool Un iversity claims that
the unusual thinness of the outer skull of the mummy could have
resulted from a haemorrhage beneath the membranes overlying the
brain. The X-ray examination has ruled out the theory that
Tutenkhamon died of tuber culosis.
If the young Pharaoh proves to have been murdered after all, it
raises another question. Who was gui lty ? Was it his tutor Eye, who
coveted his young wife and probably marri ed her after Tuten-
khamon's death ? Or was it Gen eral Harrnhab who had designs on
the throne and actually succeeded in seizing it from the blue-bloods
at the beginning of the roth Dynasty ?
Plan 17
T hese 1110\ ...... h,l\l: 0 01 lwt:n d eawn III th e , l Ol l ' sca le.
\u t t.:n l fll ' , tom b \s ve ry :-i lllil ll; S el l 1' 10 is the Ltrgcst ,
Plan 16
TOMB OF SETI I (17): Plan 17
This is a classical tomb that far sur passes all others in the Valley
of the Kings both in size and in the artistic executio n of the
sculpt ur ed walls. Ever y inch of wall space of its entire 100 metre
length is covered with represent ati ons whi ch were carr ied out by
the finest cr aftsmen.
Gio vanni Belzoni, who discovered the tomb in 1817, was a cir cus
strong man who ori ginally came to Egypt to market an irrigati on
pump he had designed in England. The pr oject fell through but he
arranged t he successful tr ansportation of the colossal head of
Ramses II from the Rama sseum to the Brit ish Museum in London,
and by the standards of the day he was forthwith an archeologist !
He turned his energies to the Valley of the Kings and made this
remarkable find just one year lat er. When the T urkish officials in
Egypt heard of the di scovery they st raigh tway made for the tomb,
bent on the delightful thought of acqui ring pricel ess treasure. Down
the corridors they went, ransacking every corne r only to find to their
disappointment that the tomb contained no more than an empty
sarcophagus .
A steep flight of stairs leads to the entrance of Seti' s tomb which
is covered with sacred texts along its full length from the highest
reaches down t o the bed rock. The first corri dor ( / ) is carved in
high relief. On the left-hand wall (0) the sun- disc bearing a scara b,
and the ram-headed Sun God can be seen between a serpent , a
crocodi le and two cows' heads. T he texts which start on the left arc
continued to th e right (b). T he roof is painted with flying vultures.
The second corri dor (2), which is staircased, has thirt y-seven
forms of the Sun God depi cted on the upper part of the recesses on
both sides. As we descend to the third corridor, Maar, goddess of
truth, faces us with outstretched wings above the doorway (r) .
Isis is represe nted on the left-h and side (d), and Nephthys on the
right (e), and they both kneel on the hierogl yph for ' gold' and
place their hands upon a seal ring. Above them, on each side of the
corri dor, the jackal-god Anubis can be seen. The wall reliefs here
have not been completed but we can see the outlines in black, the
mast er's touch in red, and the accuracy with which the relief is
carved from the bot tom up ward s.
Pr oceeding beneath Maa t with her outstretched wings we pass
into the third corridor (3), which has dr amatic repr esentations of
the fifth hour of night from the fifth chapter of the Book of the
Dead. Towards the middle of the left-hand wall (f) the sun-boat
(damaged) is dr iven through the neth erworld by seven gods and
A", rrolnglC:l1 figur es on the roof ofthe burial rha mber 01Scl i 1\ Tomb
seven goddesses and in front of it march four gods and the goddes s
Isis. On the ri ght-hand wall (g) the Sun God and his retinue ar e
dr awn through a land inhabited by demons and mon sters (top and
bott om rows) and we see a serpent with three heads, wings and
human legs. But t he Sun God is safe, drawn by Horus and Thoth
(middle row) who carry an eye as a protecti on against evil. The
ceiling is blackened from the candles of the early Christ ians who
hid in the tomb.
From the third corridor onwards the qualit y of the colour on the
reliefs is superb. We now come to a small ante- chamber (4). The
walls, both to lett and right, show the Pharaoh between Harrnachi s
and Isis offering wine to Hathor.
\Ve now enter a square chamber with four pillar s (s) . On the
pillars themselves the Pharaoh is shown before the var ious deiti es :
Isis and Nephthys the sister - wife and the sist er of Osiris, Harbor
the goddess of joy and love who was also t he goddess of Dend er a
to whom the cow was sacred, Selket the goddess to whom the
scorpion was sacred, Horus the uni versal Sun God, and Harsicsis
and Harrnaches who wer e special forms of Horu s ; also of course
Anubis, the jackal-god of embalming. T he walls, especiall y those
at the sides, have marvellou s representations of the sun tr avelling
through the fourth region of the underworld. On the rear wall (Iz)
Osiri s is ent hroned before Hathor while t he Pharaoh is led int o his
pr esence by the hawk-headed Horus. This is a super b mural wit h
intri cate detail and rich colour. Near the corn er of the left-hand
wall (i ) the four chief races of men known at the ti me stand before
Horu s : these are Egyptians, Asiatics with pointed bear ds and
coloured ap ron s, four negroes and four Libyans with feathers on
their heads and tattooed bodies.
The chamber (6), situated to the right and ent ered via a narrow
flight of ste ps, was never completed. Whether this was because it
was discovered that the walls were of inferior mater ial, or as a bli nd
to mislead grave- robbers, is not known, but the sket ches on the
walls are bold and compelling and show the touch of a mast er
craftsma n. The original sket ch was done in red . T he cor rections in
black were pr obabl y the work of the sen ior ar tist , after which the
carvers took over. The left-h and wall (j) shows the journey during
the ninth hour of the und erworld : the sacred cow, ram, bird and
human head guar ding the pr ocession agains t the fiery serpents. On
the rear-wall (k) is the tenth hour with the hawk joining the pro-
tecti ve deiti es and the spirits carr ying arrows and lances. On the
right- hand wall (I) is the eleventh hour with the condemned in the
Unfinis hed rclu-f work in the T omb of Sct i I (Chamber 6)
, , .
' \
'/ / ,;. , ; / : ~ : . .
" '
lower row. The enemies of the Sun God are being burned under
the supervision of the hawk-headed Horus in strange furnaces,
whilst fire-breathing goddesses stand watch with swords.
We retrace our steps to the chamber of pillar s (s), to the left of
which a stairway, carefully concealed by the builders of the tomb,
descends to the fourth corridor (7). To the left of this corridor (m)
is a figure of the Pharaoh (destroyed) seated at an offering table.
Above him hovers a hawk and before him stands a priest .
We descend a few more steps int o a small corridor (8) which is
decorated with texts of the ceremonies performed before the statue
of the deceased Pharaoh in order that he may eat and drink in the
hereafter. On the right-hand wall (II) is a list of offerings,
The ante-chamber (9) is decorated with the gods of the dead
including Anubis, Isis, Hathor, Harsiesis and Osiris. Finally we
come to a large hall ( / 0). Here a slight incline with steps at the sides
takes us to the mummy-shaft, which comprises two portions. The
front portion has pillars and the rear portion a vaulted ceiling. It
was in the front section that the alabaster sarcophagus of the
Pharaoh stood when the tomb was discovered . It was made out of
a single piece of alabaster, carved to a thickness of two inches and
with the exquisite reliefs filled in with blue paste . This magnificent
piece is comparable onl y to the alabaster vase found in T uten-
khamon' s tomb which is today in the Cairo Museum. The mummy,
which was one of those found at Der el Bahri , is in the same
museum. The sarcophagus lies in the Soane Mu seum in London.
When Belzoni, who was commissioned to tran spor t it, took it to
the Briti sh Museum, the tru stees considered the price set too high
and the trea sur e was without a buyer until 1824 when Sir John
Soane paid 2,000 for it.
The decorations on the walls of the pillar ed port ion of the hall
show the journey through the first region of the und erworld on the
left entrance-wall (0) and through the fourth region of the under-
world on the left-hand wall (p). In a small recess at the end of this
wall (q) is a beauti ful representat ion of Anubis performing the
opening-of- t he-mouth ceremony before Osir is. On the right-hand
entrance wall (r) and the right-hand wall (s) are repr esentations of
the journey through the second region of the unde rworld .
The vaulted ceiling has been painted with astrological figures.
From early times, of course, the Egypt ians had mapped Ollt the
heavens, identified some of the fixed stars and were able to deter-
mine the positions of oth ers. This ceiling is unu sual in that it has
not been painted in the fami liar balanced, repeti tive form.
118 119
Adjoining the tomb chamber are four side-rooms. The first one
on the right (I I) has the text of a myth that concerns the rebellion
of mankind against the Sun God, their punishment and final
rescue. On the rear wall is a magn ificent rel ief of the heavenl y cow
of the myth supported by Shu, the god of the atmosphere, and
bearing on its back two boats of the sun.
The chamber on the left (12) has a shelf decorated with a corni ce
running round the th ree main walls. It contains mor e dramatic
repre sentations of the Pharaoh' s progress through various pro-
vinces, safeguarded by the spells of Isis, the sacred Ibis and the
ostrich feather - symbol of justice and truth. Sp irit s and demons
(left-hand wall (I), middl e row) greet the procession. The foes of
Osiris are beheaded by a lion-headed god (top row), and dwellings
of the deceased gods and spir its open their door s as the Sun God
approaches (rear wall (u), middle row), showing the dead restor ed
to life, and serpents with heads of genii of the dead upon their
backs, or with swords in the ir hands, rising in unison to annihil ate
the foes of the Sun God at the end of the journey.
The Pharaoh will overcome. With the help of the Sun God the
doors of the hereafter arc open to him. He will enter with his
valuables and possessions ; with the ability to eat and dr ink ; and
imbu ed with life so as to reign again.
This is his ultimate hope.
Some nine years ago Sheikh Abdel Rasool, a descendant of the
Rasool family of Der el Bahri fame, told the Antiquities Depart-
ment that he conside red it his duty to share with them an int elli-
gence that had come down by word of mouth for generat ions : that
bevond the burial chamber in the tomb of Seti I was another
ch; mber.
Although such an extension beyond the burial chamber would
be compl etely irr egular, excavations were nevertheless enthusiast i-
cally commenced in the hope that if there were such a chamber it
would contain some of the funerary furni t ure of the deceased. A
passage soon app eared and continued on a steep decline . The walls
bore no decor ation. Nearly ninet y metres were dug befor e work had
to be abandoned for the more pressing task of salvaging the T emple
of Abu Simbcl from the rising waters of Lake Nasser.
Work has never been resumed on the passage and it is unlikely
that it ever will be. For one thing there is no ind ication as to how
deep it will go; and for another , the disposal of th e debri s would
require some 250 workmen passing with their loads through the
From the Book of the Dead , Tomh or Scri I.
priceless corridors of Seti's tomb. Apart from this the humidity
and the lack of oxygen would be major difficulties and already, as
a result of the excavations so far carried out, fissure s have appeared
in the bur ial chamber.
Since this is the only tomb which has such an extension, migh t it
not be the work of robbers ? On the other hand, each side of the
sloping corridor has steps, which were typi cal of the period and
certainly not somet hing that robbers would have wasted time on.
This tomb was excavated in 1898. The attention of Loret , the
prominent Fr ench archeologist, was drawn to it by local/elaheen .
It was a remarkable find. For one thing it was the first tomb ever
opened in which the Pharaoh was found where he had been laid.
Secondly, there was a wind fall of mummies in a sealed-off chamber,
including nine of royalt y. Thirdl y, the burial chamber proved to be
one of the most beauti ful, certainly the most original, in the entire
Valley of the Kings. But more important, the tomb was nearl y
complete and contained a complete and unspoiled set of texts from
the Book of the Dead.
The first corridors are rough and und ecorat ed. They lead to a
shaft (now bridged), a false burial chamber (J) created to confuse
robbers, and finally to the actual tomb chamber (2). This is
supported by six pillars and the sarcophagus of the Pharaoh lay in
the crypt-like section at the rear. The mummy was festooned and
garlanded and the sands tone sarcophagus was all that the grave-
robbers had left . Ever ything else had been ruthlessly plundered.
As one enters the tomb chamber one is immediately struck by
the originality and beauty of the decorat ions. The figur es on the
columns -e-for the most part depicting Amenhotep and the gods of
the underwor ld-s-ar e outlined in blaek with only his crown,
jeweller y, belt and the surrounding decorations in colour. The
drawing is exquisitel y fine and the blue roof is covered with stars.
The walls are painted yellow and the tradi tional reli gious formu lae
are so drawn as to give the impression of papyrus texts having been
pinned to the walls. There is not too much detail and the use of the
pigment is beneficially restrained. As already explained, the Book
of the Dead was a development of the magical formul ae inscribed on
the insi de of the coffins of the Middle Kingdom. With the aid of
these formulae the deceased would overcome the foes to his eternal
triumph in the underworld. Onl y with the magic inscript ions could
he hope to make his heart (conscience) acceptable in the awesome
Burial Chamber of the To mb of Amenhute p 11.
prese nce of Osiris when it was weighed against the feat her of
truth ; and only thus could he hope to live sec urely foreve r.
On each side of the chamber are two small rooms. T hree
mummies lay in the first to the right ( 1), and in the second (4) wer e
nine roya l mummi es including T hutmose I V, Amenhotep III,
Seti II and Ramses I V, V and VI. All have been taken to Cairo
Museum. No t surprisingly thi s qu ickl y became known as th e
S afety Tomb and th is is undoubtedl y what the priests had int ended
it for. When they found th at Amenhot ep II' s tomb had been
violated th ey reasoned t hat the robbers would not ret urn to its
ravaged corri dors. In fact they never did . The royal pers onages
remained in peace for cen turies.
When Lor et excavated the tomb qu ite a con trove rsy arose as to
whether the mummy shou ld be left on site or whether it should be
removed with the othe rs to the mu seum. It was finally agreed tha t
it should remai n on site but with an armed guar d. Ne arly three
years lat er the tomb was rifled when , del iberately or otherwi se, the
backs of the guards were turned . The mummy of Arncnhot cp was
found on the floor , in a very much poorer condition as a result of
de lving and pr ying hands in search of overlooked treasures in the
folds of the cloth. T he re was now no qu esti on about it. T he
mummy of the Pharaoh was placed in Cairo Museum. The
mar vellous sandstone sarco phagus stands on site.
Plan 19
h 6
a a a
f D Q 9
a 0
TOMB OF RAMSES VI (9) : Pla n 19
This tomb was started by Rarnses V and was usur ped by his
successor. It has three entrance halls, two chambers, a further two
corr idors, an ante-c hamber and the tomb chamber. The wall
representations arc carried out in low painted relief. The standard
of craftsmanship is not high but the tomb chamber itself has one of
the most import ant ceilings in the Valley of the Kings. In fact
names and mott oes in Coptic and Greek show that thi s Gil/den Hall
was an attract ion from the first cent ury A. D.
The first three corridors carry texts and representations from the
Pr aises of Ra . On both sides of the first corridor, at (0) and (b), the
deceased Pharaoh stands before t he deit ies Harachte and Osir is. On
the ri ght-hand side of the second corridor (c) is the barge of the Sun
God with the twelve hours of night. Towards the end of the left-
hand wall (d) is the figure of Osiris before whom is the boat of the
Sun God. A pig (represent ing evi l) is being dri ven away from it by
sacred dog-h eaded apes. We now pass int o the th ird corridor.
On the roof there is a painting of the goddess Nut which extends
from the beginning of the corr idor (J) , t hrough the ant e-chamb er
(.,.) when: her body curves to the ri ght of the roof, and ends in the
chamber C'l)' On the ri ght-hand wall of the third corr idor is a
superb rep resentation of Osiris under a canopy (1.') .
The chamber C'l) has four columns and a sloping passage at the
rear which is guarded by sacred winged snakes. The columns show
the Pharaoh making offerings to the deities. The roof is rich in
colour. On the rear walls (/) and (g) are representat ions of the
enthroned Osir is before whom the deceased burns incense.
T hough the colour is well-preserved, the reliefs are inferior when
compared to those in the tomb of Seti 1.
The following corridor (6) takes us further along the road to the
underworld. On the left -hand side (Ii) is the journey in the fourth
hour with the sacred cow (centre row) and the crocodi le in a boat
(second row).
T he sloping corridor (7) has sacred and protective emblems and
religious formulae from the book of 'That which is in the Under-
wo;ld ' , and leads to an ant e-chamber (8). On t he right-hand wall (i)
is the deceased Ph ara oh with Maa t. T he left-hand wall (j) has text s
from the Book of the Dead .
Dark blue and gold predominate in the tomb chamber (9) . Across
the vaulted ceiling 'the goddess N lit is twice represented along its
ent ire length, in a graceful semi-c ircle with backs touching. This
represents the morning and evening skies. Her elongated bod y
curves to touch the ear th with finger and toe , head to the west ,
loins to th e cast.
T he ent ire cha mber is a complex of appropriate text s from the
Book of the Dead. For example, on the right-hand wall (k) is a
small representation (second row) of the boat of the Sun God, who
is represented in t he shape of a beetle with a ram's head. The boat
is being worshipped by two human-headed birds and the souls of
Khepere and Atum (forms of the Sun God) . Bel ow this scene (to
lett and right) ar e the beh eaded condemned and above is a repre-
sentation of the goddess Nut with upstrct ched ar ms.
In th e niche at the rear of the tomb chamber (I) is the barge of
the Sun God held aloft in upstretched arms .
The smashed sarcophagus of the Pharaoh and his molested
mummy were left on sit e by the grave-robbers who violated the
This tomb is second in size only to that of Seti I and has become
known as the Tomb111'1 he Harp-Playcr . Its const ruction differs from
the regular tomb in th at five small cha mbers lead off either side of
the first and seco nd corri dors, making ten in all. Eac h is devot ed to
aspects of the Pharaoh 's life. It is also interesting that the fi rst part
of the tomb -up to the th ird room - was built by. Set nakht, father
of Ramses I II, and in places where the paint has fallen off his
cartouches are revealed . This is the tomb, it will be remembered ,
whe re the third corridor was divert ed to the right after its bu ilders
had broken into an adjacen t tomb by mi stake (sec page [04)
Alth ough the wall decor ati ons may not be cons ide red of the best
arti sti c qu alit y, th eir var iety and richness arc certai nly unsurpassed .
T he entr ance door is at the foot of a flight of steps on each side of
which arc small pi llars with bulls' head s. Over the door is a repre-
sentation of Isis and Nephthys wor shipping the sun- disc. Along the
first corridor are figur es of Maar, goddess of int egr ity and truth,
kneeling and shel ter ing with her wings the deceased Pharaoh as his
bod v ent ers th e tom b . On the wall s arc Pra ises of Ra. The Pharaoh
him; clf can be seen on the left-hand wall before Harmaches (one
of the forms of the Sun God) followed by the familiar sacre d
serpent , crocodile and two gazelles' heads.
. We now to t he five small chambers leading off the lej t-hand
Side of the corndor . The first chamber (a) contains various scenes
of cooking, slaughtering and bakin g. The second chamber (/I) has,
on the. wall to the left , the kneelin g god of the Nile
bestowin g his gifts to seve n gods of fertil ity whi ch have ears of corn
on th eir head s. On the wall to the right the Nile god is seen before
the ser pent- headed goddes s Napret, five apron-cl ad roval snakes
two gods of T he third chamber (c) is lar gel y-decorated
WIth ma le and female local deities with offer ings. In the bottom
are kneeling Nile god s. The fourth chamber (d) has represen-
tauons of the guardian spirit of the deceased on either side of the
entrance, each bearing a staff ending in a roya l held. T he other
walls show double rows of rowe rs, sacred serpents and sacred
catt le. fifth chamber (c) the representations that gave
the tomb Its name : on the lett wall arc two har pist s, one befor e
Anh or and the hawk-headed Harrn aches, and the other befor e Shu
a.nd Atu.m. The text on either side of the doorway is the song the y
sing asking that the blessed Pharaoh mi ght be received.
_As alrea?y sta ted, there are five chambers on the right-hand side
of the T he first en contains a double row of sailing shi ps :
those In the upper row ready to set sail and those in the lower with
sails furled. The seco nd (g) is the Ph ar aoh ' s armoury. The
walls have rep resentatIOns of al! the royal weapons and standards .
At the top of the left-hand wall are standards with heads of sacred
animals. At the top of the right- hand wall ar e standards with gods'
heads. 9 n the rear wall arc a multitude of bows, arr ows and quivers.
The th.lrd chamber (It) IS part icularly interesti ng if we remember
that th is was a very wealthy Pharaoh, for it contains his tr easury.
On the walls arc representations of furn iture and orna ments
utensi ls and jewellery, elab orat e head-rest s, cushioned benches and
comfo rt able couches that are attained by steps. The fourt h
(I) has . rural The Ph ar aoh sai ls along a canal
watch ing ploughing, SOWIng and reap ing. In the fields are sacred
.last chamber on the right-hand side (j) is notable for
Its twe lve differ ent forms of Osiris, the god of the underworld.
The fourth corr idor is decorated w itll scenes from the Book of
the Dead , leads to an ante-chamber ( j") with rcprcse nrations of
the Phar aoh In th e pre sence of the gods of the underworld . The
sl.oping passage (6) that follows has side galleries support ed hy four
pilla rs, and a door way on th e ri)"{ht leading to a small chamber (7) ;
Plan 20
!...o... _.d
j 10
:.. '0 0 0 ..0..:
~ _ - ; i '_- -'1
here are some fine repre sentations : on the right-hand wall (k) the
Pharaoh is guided by the deities Thoth and Har-Khentkheti. On
the left-h and wall (I) he presents the image of tr uth to Osiris, god
of the und erworld . On the rear wall (m) the Pharaoh stands in the
presence of Osiris.
T he following corri dor (8) is badly damaged, as are the ante-
chambers that precede the tomb chamber itself (r o). T his is a long
oblong room with four pillars on each side and an extra chamber
at each of the four corners. The actual sarcophagus is now in the
Louvre, its lid is in Cambri dge, and the Pharaoh' s mummy,
amongst t hose taken from the shaft at Der el Bahri , is now in the
Cairo Museum.
TOMB OF RAMSES IX (6) : Plan 21
This tomb is const ruc ted on fairly classical lines and comprises
three chambers, one following the other in a straight line. It is
approached by an inclined plane with steps on either side. Flanking
the door way are representa tions of the deceased standing befor e
Harmaches and Os iris (a), and Amon and a goddess of the dead (h).
The two pairs of chamb ers in this part of the corri dor have no
On the right hand wall, over the second chamber on the right (c)
are demon s of the underworld inclu ding serpents and ghosts with
the heads of bull s and jackals. At this point is the beginning of the
text of the sun's journey t hrough the underworld. On the left- hand
side of the corridor (d) a pr iest pours forth the symbols for life,
wealth , etc. on the deceased Pha raoh, who is dressed like Os iris.
The priest wears the side-lock of a royal prince and is probably a
son of the deceased.
The roof of the second corr idor (2) is decorated with conste lla-
tions. To both left and right (e) serpents rear themselves . Note the
recesses for figur es of the gods, followed on the left-hand wall (I)
with the beginning of another text from the Book of the Dead and
the deceased Pharaoh before the hawk-headed Sun God . On the
opposite wall (g) are demons and spiri ts.
T he third corridor (3) is also protected by serpe nts. On the
right-h and wall (Iz) the Pharaoh presents an image of Maat to Ptah,
the god of Memphis, beside whom stands the goddess Maar. Note
t hat the tr ansparent cloth of the skirt is cut in low relief thus
enabling the foot and front legs of the Pharaoh to appear in high
relief. Immediately beyond this represent at ion we see the mummy
of the Pharaoh across a mount ain, symbolising the resurrect ion.
T? is i.s the tomb of the w?rld' s first empi re builder. .A. steep night
01 stairs across a dr amatic ravine bet ween sheer mountain faces
leads to the remote entrance. It was excavat ed in the J 8th Dyn ast y
TOMB OF HARMHAB (57) : Plan 22
T his tomb, which was pl und ered in antiquity, has an unimpressive
entrance with steps thro ugh t wo cor ri dors and is followed bv t he
mcll-room (]) and by a hall (.;) that was completed to the
tomb chamber. T he stairway on the left-hand side of this hall,
though care fully conc ealed, was nevertheless found by robbers
who, following the cor ridor (,), passed through the ante-chamber
(6) and plundered the tomb chamber (;).
T his tomb is worth a visit for four reasons. First for the extr emely
high quality of the reliefs of the well-room (;) and the ante-chamber
(6). Secondly, to see the stages of mural execution in some of t he
corridors where the work has not been completed and especially in
the burial chamber (7). T hirdly, because in the six-pi llared bur ial
hall the sarcophagus is a fine piece of work in red granit e with
beautifully car ved figures of the various deities along with the
religious formu lae. At the corners goddesses spread wings to
guard the deceased. Thei r prot ecti on was inadequate, for when the
Amer ican archeologist Davis excava ted the tomb in 1(j0S the
mummy was in such poor condition as even to prevent confi rma tion
of its sex. Four t hly, because on the higher reaches of the tomb
chamber are the symbols for north, sou th, east and west and it is
interesting to observe that these were instructions for the workers,
who were given appropriate decorations lor each.
On the left-hand wall (j) are the boat s of the Sun God (cent re)
travelling throu gh the second and third hours of night bearing
protect ive divi ni ties.
We now enter a chamber (4). Beyond, at (k) and (I ), are pri ests
with panther skins and side- locks, sacr ificing and making offerings
before a standard. The next chamb er (s) is rough and unfinished
and slopes down wards to the burial chamber thro ugh anot her
corri dor (6). In the burial chamber (7) t here are tr aces (on the floor )
of the sarcophagus. On the walls are gods and demons. The goddess
Nut, repr esent ing the morning and eveni ng skies, is shown across
the rough ceiling in two figures . Below are constellations, boats of
the stars, etc . On t he rear wall (m) the child Ho rus , seated within
the winged sun-disc, is symbolic of rebirth after death .
Plan 22
0 0
0 0
3 i
Plan 21 2
The scarab and the sun-disc (above) indi cate t he bringing forth of
renewed life on the eart h. T oward s the middle of this same wall (at
i) are ritual ist ic representat ions including four men spi tti ng out
scarabs as thcv bend over backwards, demons standing upon
ser pen ts, ser pen ts pier ced by arr ows and t he scarab in a boat with
two llor us eyes.
when t he Pharaoh's chief aim was concealment . When it became
evide nt that these precauti ons were useless, the tombs of the rqth
Dy nasty were grou ped toget her under armed guar? .
The design is simple. After the st airway a sloping
descends to a staircase which has broad niches on both Sides (I).
Bevond this is another corridor leading to a shaft
(crossed by a hand-b ridge) .a.nd into a cha':fl ber (2) has
undecorated pillars and a ceiling covered with star s. I he walls bear
the names of 7..P differ ent deities. . . .
The tomb chamber Cl) is approached by a stairway and IS In
form of an oval. T he scenes of the under world arc mostl y In
excellent condition. The repre senta tions on the pillars.are
fully simplified black drawings. On of the first ISa religious
inscription and on the left-hand tac.e top to
T hut rnose and his queen-mother ISIs In a boat, the be!ng
suckled by Isis in the form of a tr ee and (helow) king being
followed by his thr ee wives and the prin cess . .On
third face of the pillar arc demons. De mons and religious mscn p-
tions adorn the other pillars. The sarcophagus, on an alabaste r
pedestal, was made of red and was found to be .empty.
T he Pharaoh's mummy was safely III the Ocr el Bahn shalt .
Plan 23
In this valley by no means all the queens of the New Ki ngdom were
buried. It appears tha t a special burial ground for the royal con-
sort s was started only in the reign of Ramses I and royal offspr ing
were also buried here. T here are signs that previously the queens
were laid to rest beside their husband s in the Valley of the Kings.
but pillage of t he royal tombs has made it ext remely difficult for
archeologists to confirm this .
There are over twenty tombs in the Valley of the Queens. Many
are unfinished and entirely without decorat ion, resembling caves
rather than sacred tomb chambers. T he most impressive is that of
the wife of Ramses II, Queen Ne fer-tari, his favour ite. Although
her tomb may only be visited by special permission because of the
deteriorat ion of the murals, it will nevert heless be described in
order to give a picture of the memorial to a Pharaoh's love. T his,
and the tomb constructed for the son of Ramses I II, Arnon-hir-
Khopshef, who died too young to pass alone int o the divine
presence of the gods of the under world, are t he most important.
TOMB OF NEFER- T ARI (66): Plan 24
Nefer-tari or 'Beautiful Companion' has a magnificent tomb com-
prising an entrance hall (I) with a side chamber (2) leading off to
the right . A cor ridor stair way (3) leads to the burial chamber (4)
which has four square pillars and, in the centre, a few stairs leadin g
to what was once the site of t he sarcophagus, sunk slightly lower
than the ground rock. T he walls t hro ughout the tomb are elabor-
ately worked in low relief, partly filled st ucco and paint ed.
The first th ing that strikes one on ent ry int o the tomb is the
extravagant use of colour and its astounding brilliance. T he flesh
hues, white robes, black hair, bright friezes give the impression of
having been newly painted. And the second thing is the realism
with which the que en her self has been paint ed. She is graceful and
sensitive and extreme ly beauti ful. Her form, as she appears before
the various deities, is accompa nied by only a modest amount of
Plan 25
text. This, desp ite the excessive det ail of the drawings, gives the
impression of simplification, somewhat as though the presence of
one so beautiful spoke for itself.
On the left-h and wall of the first chamher (a) is a series of magical
formulae with the quee n playing. At (b) the lea worships the rising
sun between t wo lions which symbolise the immediate past and the
imme diate fut ure. To the right at (c) and (d) the goddesses Neith
and Selket receive the queen. Maar, goddess of truth, is represent ed
at each side of the entrance to t he annex (e).
In t he side chamber (2) on the right-hand wall cn the queen
adores seven sacred cows, the bull and four steering oars of the
sky. On the facing wall (g) she makes offerings to Os iris (on the
left) and Atum (on the right). On the left-h and wall (h) she stands
before th e ibis-headed Thoth while Heqt t he frogsqu ats before him.
In the stai rcased corri dor <J) Nefer-tari makes offerings to Isis
(on the left) and Ha t hor (on the right) while guardian deities
protect and guide her.
T he murals of the tomb chamber (4) are not in such perfect
condi tion but represent the deceased queen again with the deities.

2 g
c d

Plan 26
a g
Plan 24
As usual, demons guard the gates of the underworld and the quee!1
passes by with the aid of the sac:ed for!T!ulae a ~ d emblems. In this
tomb the safeguards and warnmgs agamst evil, and examples of
possible sufferings to those. not pu:e in ~ e a r t , seem to. have been
used to the minimum. One IS conscious of a path of punty through
the underworld, as though the journey of Ramses Irs beloved was
a mere formality.
In this charming tomb Ramses III himself leads his son Amon-
Hir-Khopshef into the presence of the gods of the under-
world. The nine-year-old boy wears. the side-lock ?f youth ,and
carries the feather of truth as he obediently follows hISfather. I'he
reliefs arc of fine quality low painted relief, in excellently pre-
served colour. In fact the murals of this tomb are amongst the
finest on the necropolis. .,.
The tomb comprises a large entrance hall W.lth an unfinished
annex to the right and the tomb chamber (unfinished).
On the left-hand wall, travelling clockwise, we ~ e e ~ h e young
prince following the Pharaoh Ramses III, who offers incense to
Ptah (a) and then introduces his son. Afterwards he pre:,ents t ~ e
hoy to Duamutef and to Imseti (h), who conducts the pair to ISIS.
N\;te that Isis (c) looks over her shoulder to the advancing Pharaoh.
She holds him by the hand. .
On the right-hand wall (continuing clockwise) Ramses and hIS
son are conducted to Hathor (d), Hapi, QebhsnewefIe) Shu en and
Nephthys (g) who puts her hand beneath the chin of the bereaved
The corridors bear scenes from the Book of the Dead.
There was no mummy of the boy in the sarcophagus but in its
place was a foetus of six months' development. Perhaps the mother
miscarried due to grief at the loss of the boy .. One can only spec.ulate.
The foetus is preserved in a small hermetically sealed glass ill the
TOMB OF QUEEN TITI (52): Plan 26
This is not Queen Tiy, consort of A.menhotep III and. mother of
Ikhnaron, but a queen of the Rarnesside era. The tomb IS damaged
but some of the murals still retain startling freshness of colour. The
figures of the gods and demons in the tomb chamber defy the years
with their brightness.
The tomb is simple, comprising an ante-chamber (I), a long
passage (2) and the tomb chamber (,), which is flanked by three
small chambers.
On the rear wall ofthe chamber flanking the tomb chamber to the
right (a) is a representation of Hathor who appears in the form of a
cow in a mountainous landscape. In front there is a sycamore from
which Hathor, now represented in human form, pours out Nile
water to revive the queen.
The chamber on the opposite side (b) contains the mummy shaft.
The rear chamber (c) shows genii of the dead and various gods
seated at offering tables while the queen prays to them (to left and
right). On the rear wall Osiris sits enthroned with Neith and Selket
before him and Nephthys, Isis and Thoth behind him.
--2 09
39 1
" f):-
39 9 259
~ m e s s e u m
T he Tombs of the Nobles spread over an area of about two square
miles from Dra Abu el Nega in the nor th to Oer el Medina in the
sout h. T her e are well over three hundred. All belong to the
officials who wielded power, to a greater or lesser extent, in the New
Kin gdom.
Who were these people, these aristocr ats of the age? Perha ps
their posit ion is best under stood by stressing first of all that the
Pharaoh of Egypt was no mere figurehead. Hi s position was supreme
and he took an active part in all affairs of state. He was concerned
with matters ranging from the height the water rose during the
inundation of the Nil e in any year, to the recruitment of t roops,
whom he personall y led into battle. He part icipat ed in public
ceremonies and dedicat ions, super vised the planning and constru c-
tion of an edifice or a state thoroughfare and even had the final say
in the judgement of a pet ty crime. It can be read ily appreciated
therefor e that this was far too much for a single pair of hands and
the Pharaoh' s vizier took a share of the responsibil ity. Along with
the chief tr easurer, he headed the main government departmen ts.
The vizier pro vided the liaison bet ween the departmental heads and
the Pharaoh, just as the departmental heads provided the liaison
between the workers and the vizier. In Thebes all the affairs of t he
state capital filtered through the hands of the vizier before coming
to the att ent ion of the Pharaoh, including the annual taxat ion from
officials and record ing of tributes from conquered lands.
The viziers held a power ful position and the growth of this power
can be traced in their tombs from the days of Thutmose III, when
the mona rch could afford to be liberal with his loyal and trusted
subordinates, giving them gifts and honours in recognition of their
services, to the era following Ikhnaton' s breakaway government
when the vizier became the power behi nd the throne and, taking
advantage of a weakening line of mona rchs , ultimately gained the
supreme posit ion for himsel f.
T hese then are the tombs of the grand vizier and of those under
his contro l : the army general, the superintende nt of granaries, the
overseer of gardens, the scr ibe of the fields, etc. The major ity of
tombs were uniform and simple, designed in t wo part s. There was
a wide open cour t leading to a hall which was sometimes support ed
by pillars or columns. Directly centre-back of th is hall was a long
corri dor leading to the offer ing shri ne which had niches for the
statues of the relatives of t he deceased. T he walls, due to the poor
quality limestone rock, were covered with a layer of clay and the n
a coat of whitewash. These were painted. There are sculptured
reliefs on only a few. The walls of the main hall usuall y bore
pr ayers for t he deceased to the right and a record of his career to
the left. The back corr idor usually carried the various funerary
rit es.
T he tombs of the nobles differed from those of the Pharaoh in
one important respect. Wh ereas the royal tombs were only bur ial
places, the tombs of the nobl es were funerary rooms and bur ial
places combined. The Pharaoh was divine and joy and plen ty were
autornaticallv assured to him in t he hereafter, while a nobl eman
depict ed on the walls of his tomb every aspect of his experience on
earth t hat he wanted repeated in the hereafter. Naturally he chose
the most pleasant memories : the perfect harvest, the perfect feast,
the perfect catch on the hook and the perfect fowl brought down
with an arr ow. The happiest hours of his life were captured for the
hereaft er, the grea test joys and naturally the most prais eworthy
honours bestowed on him for his admi nistr ative excellence.
These tombs shed a flood of light on the life and times. They are
valuable chapte rs in ancient histor y. J ust as the Sakkara mastabas
tell us about life in the Old Kingdom and the rock-hewn tombs of
Bcni Hassan give an insight into t he Middle Kingdom, it is the
tombs of the nobles that tell us most about the New Kingdom. We
see how the people lived, worked, built, fished, speared . We see
them enjoyi ng a social fun ction and grieving at a funeral. We sec the
impassive faces of officials at a public ceremony and the light-
hear ted gaiety of a grou p of dancers. I n fact here is a new type of art .
Egypt ian art , as we have seen, was both religious and idealised,
conforming to a strict pattern in the por trayal of t he Pharaoh, the
deities, batt les and fest ivities. The side-vie w face was considered
more typical of the indi vidual than front-view, whilst front-view
eyes wer e necessa ry for express ion. t\ side-view of the arms neces-
sari ly mean t concealing one of them, therefor e square shou lders
were necessary. Groups of peopl e were shown as parallel outlines
behind t he front figure . These trad itions were never questioned by
the state artists and they continued the repetiti ve posit ions and
positi oning from generation to generation. Movement was
unkn own.
In the tombs of the nobles we come across a severe br eak with
these traditions. All the paintings arc characterise d by natural ism.
First of all, in place of the frieze, each wall is surrounded by a
decorati ve border and with in each frame is a picture, complete in
itself. T he outer figures face inwards, movements and actions are
varied. T here is balance, perspecti ve and, sur prisingly, even front -
view faces and side-view shoulders. T he most delightful drawings
are such realistic portrayals as a th irsty man and a naughty child.
The natural wit and spontaneity of the artist has at last been
released. While national and mortuary temples were normall y
filled wit h stylized, grand, heroi c and repetiti ve t hemes, the walls
of the tombs of the nobles were covered with a rich and exciting
catalogue of the lives of men, each of whom was a pivot of at least
one administrat ive unit of his time - and not, as sometimes claimed,
by cheap substitutes for wall relief.
Plan 27
Tomb of Na kh t (52) : Plan 27
This is the simple tomb of the scr ibe of the granaries under
T hutmose IV. It comprises two chambers and only the first is
decor ated. But in this single room are such detailed activities,
executed with such infinite charm and in such a good state of
repair that the tomb of Nakht will always rank as one of the finest.
The more detailed t he eart hly act ivities depicted in the tomb, the
easier for them to be re peated in the hereafter ; that much is clear.
But th is tomb has, in addition, ext raordinary and remarkabl e
irrelevances that both sur prise and charm.
We will turn to the left after we enter the doorway. On the first
wall (a) is a series of agricultural scenes includ ing ploughing,
digging, sowing, etc. In the upper row t he deceased superintends
three stages of the harvest : the measuring and winnowing of the
grain, the reaping and pressing of the grain into baskets v- wirh a
kneeling position and holding an inscribed stele. This little master-
piece is now lying on the floor of the Irish Sea. The s.s. Arabic on
which it was being transported was sunk in World War I.
Nakht the man has emerged from the paintings in his tomb. We
know about his official career with its emphasis on organisation,
efficiency and production, his family life with its show of harmony
and plenty, his entertainments with their air of light-hearted gaiety
and the pastimes that gave him most pleasure.
Tomb of Ramose (55): Plan 28
This tomb belongs to the vizier in the reigns of Amenhotep III and
Amenhotep IV (later Ikhnaton). It comprises a main hall with
thirty-two rather squat papyrus columns (I), an inner hall (2)
containing eight clustered columns of smaller dimension (all
destroyed) and the shrine (3).
Ramose was one of the earliest converts to the sun-worship and
his tomb is therefore of historical significance as one of the few
standing monuments in Thebes of the period between the two
faiths. It is moreover of artistic significance since it gives a unique
opportunity to see conventional relief representations alongside
o 0bO 0
eO 0 0 0
Plan 28
charming drawing of a man leaping in the air so that the weight of
his body might press the grain tightly-and, in the the
labourers being organised by the deceased for ploughing In two
teams. Note that the ploughman has ragged hair, the ox is piebald
and that, in the midst of the strenuous work one of the workers
takes a moment's respite to drink from a wineskin on a tree.
On the rear left-hand wall (b) there is a delightful scene showing
the deceased and his wife (in the lower row) being brought flowers
and geese by their son whilst three women play music to
These female musicians are sensitively painted in perfect detail.
The graceful nude lute-player dances to the accompaniment. of.a
no less graceful flautist and harpist. The body of the one girl IS
given front-view treatment while her head is turned to speak to her
colleague. Above is a blind harpist playing to guests and attended
bv an audience of women seated on the ground, who are apparently
more interested in local gossip than in watching the dancers, and a
naked young girl leaning to put perfume before the nostrils of three
women. Below Nakht's chair is a bristling cat who has just stolen
a feast.
On the right-hand rear wall (c) the deceased is seated with his
wife in an arbour (lower row), while flowers, poultry, grapes and
fish are brought to them by their servants. Servants were of course
a regular feature in the homes of Egypt's noblemen. Each had a
specific chore: cleaning the bed-chamber, washing the laundry,
acting as nanny.
On this same wall (c) birds are being caught in nets and plucked.
The filled net is a complex of wings and colours. Grapes are being
picked and turned into wine (lower rows) and in the row the
deceased enjoys his hobbies. He is spearing fish and shooting fowl.
The fishing scene was never completed. Though the fish them-
selves are drawn, Nakht has no spear in hand. His wife tenderly
holds an injured bird in her hand. His little daughter holds his leg
to prevent him from losing balance. .
It is interesting to note that, in contrast to the twelve
zones of the underworld traversed by the deceased Pharaohs In
their tombs in the Valley of the Kings, the deceased noblemen had
simple intercourse with the gods. On each side of the entrance
doorway Nakht followed by his wife and three rows of servants,
makes offerings 'to Amon, whose name was obliterated by Ikhnaton
whenever it occurred.
In the second chamber, in a shaft descending to the mummy
chamber, was found a small and exquisite statue of Nakht in a
the new realism which has become known as the Amarna period.
Before we describe the tomb of Ramose a word should be said
about lkhnaton's sun-worship and the art it heralded. The move-
ment was not the isolated act of a rebellious Pharaoh who established
a new capital in Tel el Amarna with a set of original ideas and a new
outlook. The sun-worship of Ikhnaton was introduced in Thebes
over a number of years. The formation of a new capital, rendering
Amon no more than a local deity, was really only the final step in a
continuing process.
Light is still being shed on the transition period from one
worship to another. There is considerable evidence to support the
theory that Amenhotep III and his son shared a co-regency for
many years at Thebes, and that, while the father was too disabled
by ill-health and his son too young for the responsibility, Queen
Tiy laid the foundations for the new thought that her son was to
bring to fruition. Among the first steps taken were the 'enlighten-
ment' of certain Theban noblemen to the 'truth of monotheism',
and a breakaway from the traditional forms of art. The tomb of
Ramose dates from this period. It was started in the traditional
style, continued in the new and left unfinished when Ramose
followed his master to Tel el Amarna.
On both the left and right eastern walls of the main chamber, the
murals are in unpainted, stylized relief. This was the conventional
mural form typical of Amenhotep Ill's last years when his son may
have been co-regent. On the southern half (a) Ramose the deceased
vizier sits with his relati ves. The men and women of his household
are depicted in the traditional manner with regular faces, clothes
and elaborate wigs, the details of which were carried out with
faultless precision; the only paintwork is on the eyes. On the
northern wall (b) are scenes of worship, offerings and religious
The representation that most fully shows the stylized, unemo-
tional, traditional treatment of the mural is that on the left-hand
rear wall (c) by the central doorway. It is a portrayal of Amenhotep
IV, as he was then still called, seated below a canopy with Maat.
Ramose himself is twice represented before the throne. This scene
probably dates from the period of the building of the first temple
to the sun at Thebes, a time when Amon was not yet openly
challenged but the worship of Aton was nevertheless taking root.
However on the right-hand rear wall (d) we see a quite new mood.
Now the young Pharaoh, who changed his name to Ikhnaton only
after he set up the new capital, stands with his royal consort
on a. while Ran:ose, in Amarna style
attitude, IS being decorated WIth chams. Though it is still in
relief, one can easily recognise the new realism, especially in the
of the Pharaoh and his wife. Compared with the divine
incarnanon of Amon at (c), here at (d) we see the Pharaoh with
extended in unflattering truth. Above is the life-giving sun
WIth fourteen rays. Fo!!r of them hold symbols of life and happi-
ness. Two support hIS outstretched arm. Another offers the
symbol of life to the nostrils of the queen. Behind is the roval
bodyguard. This mural probably dates from the period just
the departure from Thebes and already the thick loins of the
Amarna period are apparent, though some of the innovations such
as the higher relief of the attendants in comparison with the rest of
the sculpture, has not yet matured. It is a preview of art movement
taking shape.
Let us ponder a moment about this so-called 'freedom of
expression' under Ikhnaton. It does not imply individualism
the state artists worked in teams on approved themes in-
hented from the early dynasties. They were now freed from this
traditionalism, which was encouraged by the priesthood, to do free
poses by t?e Pharaoh. A swinging walk, relaxed com-
fort, tender relationships, predominate in the new art.
One is that the Amarna period was one of artistic de-
gener.atlOn. But degeneration does not take place overnight, and
here In the tomb of Ramose the two art forms coexist. One may
c011?pare .the stiff, unpainted, precise relief work of the earlic"r
penod the first stages of the new realism. It is a unique
to see the Pharaoh on one wall in perfect, divine
and, on the other, as the relaxed and physically
Imperfect man. " "
the part of. the left-hand wall (e) is a peculiar juxta-
position of old and new III the group of mourners one of the most
expressive and drawings to be found in' any tomb. Grief
comes down the centunes III a heart-rending funerary convoy. The
men carry boxes with cooling foliage, a jar of water and
flowers. A group of grieving women turn towards the funeral bier
fling their.arms about and throw dust in their hair, tears streaming
down their cheeks. One woman is supported by a svmpathetic
One is so yoyng as .to be unclothed. Most o(the figures
are individual, expressing vaned movements and degrees of grief
and are even. of different sizes. But the group of five mourners at
the centre of the group of women are shown as a series of parallel
On the right-hand rear wall (e) the enthroned Pharaoh (defa ced)
receives homage from Khaernhet and his officials. Fur ther along
(1) Khae mhet is being decorated by the Pharaoh; accor ding to the
inscription he was so honoured in t he t hir teenth year of the reign of
Ame nhotep II I.
On the right-hand entrance wall (g) are a set of agricultural
scenes includi ng measuring the land , sowing and reaping. Khaem-
her' s chariot is dra wn up near the fields and while a sleepy dri ver
awaits the ret urn of his master the hor ses take advantage of the
break to graze .
In the corridor, on the left-hand side at (17) , is a fine represent at ion
of Osiris enthroned with Hathor sta nding behind hi m.
Tomb of Userhet, F ir st Prophet (51) : Plan 30
Although it is not in too good a state of repair, th is tomb, belonging
to the Fi rst Prophet of the Royal Ka of Thut mose 1 in the reign of
Sen I, contains a symbolic scene of such high order of artisti c
execut ion that it should on no accou nt be missed .
lines behind the front figure. Traditions are not easily broken !
Fur t her along t he wall women beat th eir breas ts and t highs in
grief or squat to gather dust to scatt er on their heads.
Another theory abo ut the repres entatio ns of th e Amarna peri od
is tha t the young Pha rao h re verted to the archaic for ms of art th at
he held so dea r. He bel ieved th at Amon was bu t a usurper of the
true sun- worship of Ra at Heliopol is and accordingly the propor-
tions of pr e- dyna st ic t imes were recaptured . T he art he encouraged ,
in the words of Art hur We igall, was ' a kind of renai ssance -s-a retu rn
to the classical peri od of ar chaic days."
In t he door way leading to the second, unfinished, chamber
Ramose appears sta ndi ng (on the left -hand side) and praying (on
the rig ht ).
T omb of Khaemhet (57) : Plan 29
T his is t he tomb of th e overseer of th e granaries of Upper and
Lower Egypt late in th e rei gn of Amenho tep Ill , a time when art
and ar chi tec ture were flourish ing. It was also a time whe n religious
conception s wer e undergoin g a gra dual cha nge towards the wor-
ship of a single deit y, the sun . The mural s are in low relief and arc
carried out in pr ecise an d sensitive det ail. This is part icularly
apparent in the trea tme nt of Khaemhet ' s wig, wit h his own hair
showing benea t h.
T he tom b compri ses a lar ge traverse chamber ( I ) with a niche
on the left- hand side containing badly damaged statues of t he
deceased and the royal scribe Imhotep, a corridor (2) with scenes
relating to the unde rworld and a second tra ver se chamber (J)
contai ni ng three nich es beari ng statues of Khae mhet and his
relat ives. These too are in poor condition.
On the left-hand entrance wall of the first chamber at (a) is a
remarkabl e representation of Rcnenet, the sna ke- headed goddess
of the granaries. She is seated in a shrine and offer ings are made to
her by three finely sculpted mal e figures. T he child she nurses is
svmbolic of the new ha rvest. Fur ther along the wall (h) is the bustli ng
port of Thebes. T he ma st s of many corn-laden vessels, the steering
(lars t ipped with the head of the Pharaoh , the mast heads, th e
rigging- all are depict ed in meti cul ous det ail.
On th e rea r left-hand wall (c) is a scen e showing servants of the
vizier br ingin g in catt le. At (d) ar e damaged figures of th e Pharaoh
and his vizier. At the foot of the royal canopy are nine captive
tribes whilst bet ween t he lion- legs of the throne are two captives :
Ne gro and Asian.
l T!rt- I.I/e attd rl11U $ flr l fh tlOl!ln , T horn ton Butt er worth, lq J]. page h.l
Plan 29
Plan 30
First Prophet
~ ~
It is on the right-hand wall of the narrow tr averse chamber (a)
and shows Userhet and his wife and sister sitting beneath a fig-
laden tree drinking the Water of Life presented to them by a tree-
goddess who ri ses out of the lake before them. As the liquid is
poured from a golden vessel into the cups, the three seated figures
arc offered figs and grapes, bread and honeycomb. The T-shaped
lake between Userhet and the tree-goddess shows the soul s of
Uscr het and hi s wife as birds drinking the Water
of I .ife from their cupped hands. The symbolic purpose of the
mural is almost obliterated by the imaginative and realistic tre at-
ment. It must have been a truly magnificent representation. Above
the seated figures wagtails flit among the branches ofthe fruit-laden
tree and above the two women are the human-headed birds whi ch
represent their soul s or bas.
On the left-hand entrance wall (Ii) User het ' s heart is being
weighed, not against the ostrich feather of truth, but this time
against the figure of a man.
T he inn er corridor is in ruin.
Tomb of Userhet, Royal Scribe (56): Plan 31
This is the tomb of the royal scribe in the reign of Amenhotep II.
Hi s name was also Userhet and the condition of his tomb is
extremely good .
Rural scenes decorate the left -hand entrance wall (a) . They
include the branding of catt le and the collecti on of gra in. On the
rear left-hand wall (b) is a feasting scene where all the
figures of the wom en were destroyed by a Christian monk who
made his home in the tomb. On the right-hand rear wall (c) men
bring bags of gold-d ust to he counted by super visors row) ,
and in the lower row is a charming scene of men queumg beneath
the trees to have their heads cut and shaved. The barber himself is
busily at work on two clients. On the same wall (d) bakers are
making bread (middle row) and User het's guests ar e seated (lower
row). 'r owards the end of the wall (e) Us erhet makes offer ings to
his Pharaoh, who wears a colourful red tunic with yellow spots.
The most notable scene in thi s tomb is on the left-hand wall of
the inner corridor (.I). It is a hunting scene in which the charioted
nobleman shoots at fleeing gazelles, jackals, hares and other
animal s. User hct has the reins tied around his waist and the string
of his bow taut and ready to shoot . The movement among the
fleeing animals is beautiful and rhythmic. Further along the wall
(g) are scenes of fishin g, fowling, and viti culture.
The right-hand wall has funerary scenes with the weeping
women (h) beautifully depicted in their sorrow.
Tomb of Rekhmire (100) : Plan 32
Rekhmire was vizier under Thutmose III and his son Amenhotep
I I. The tomb follows the regular style of the rSth Dynasty nobles'
tombs, comprising a narrow, oblong. first and a.
corridor opposite the entrance. But thi s rapidl y gains In
height to the rear of the tomb and runs Into the rock . It was
inhabited by a [elaheen family for many years the wall
tion s have suffered at their hands. The tomb IS a memorial to
personal greatness and a revelation o.n tax;tion and ?umerous
industries. Professor Breasted described It as the most Important
private monument of the Empire' . .
Rekhrnire was an outstanding vizier who was a
great many duties. There he wrote of hImself. In an
inscripti on, of which he was Ignorant In heaven, on earth or I.n any
part of the underworld. One of the most important scenes In the
tomb is that on the left-hand wall of the first chamber near the
corner (a) . It shows the int erior of a court of law in which tax
evade rs are brought to justice by the grand vizier himself. T he
pr isoners are led up the cent ral aisle, witnesses wait outside and at
t he foot of the judge men t seat are four mats with rolled papyri.
T hese arc proof that writte n law existed in '500 B.C. Messe nger s
wait outside and others bow deepl y as t hey enter the presence of
the vizier. ,
Near the centre of the oppos ite wall (/I) Rekhmire performs his
dual role of receiving taxes from officials who annua lly came with
th eir dues, and receiving tributes from the vassal princes of Asia,
the chiefs of Nubia, etc. T he foreign gift-bea rers are arranged in
five rows : from the Land of Pun t (dark skinned) , from Crete
(heari ng vases of t he distinctive Minoan type discovered on the
island hv Sir Art hur Evans), from Nubia, from Syria, and men,
womcn -and children from the South . T he di verse and exotic
tributes range from panther s, apes and animal skins, to chariots,
pearls and costly vases, to say nothing of an elephant and a bear.
T he inner corr idor gives an insight into the act ivities of the
times. On the left-hand wall (c) Rckhmire super vises the delivery
of corn, wine and clot h from the royal storehouses. He inspects
carpenters, leather-workers, metal-workers and potters, who all
came under his cont rol. In the lower row is a somewhat damaged
record for poster ity of one of the most important tasks with which
he was entrusted : superv ising the construction of an ent rance
portal to the temple of Amon at Karnak. He held vigil over the
manu facture of the raw mat erial, the moulding of the hricks and
their final use. Pylons and sphinxes, furni ture and even household
ut ensil s all came und er his control. T here are int erest ing scenes, to
the left of the bottom row, of seat ed and standi ng stat ues being
given final touches by the artist before polishing. The fascinating
detail provides a pict orial treatise on the different indust ries of the
On the right-hand wall (d) Rekhmire may beseen at a table and
there are tr aditional scenes of offerings before statues of the
deceased, the deceased in a boat on a pond being towed by men on
the bank, and a banquet with musicians and singers.
All the representatio ns in this tomb show rhythm and free-
posing, gesticulati ng and act ive figures . They are very different
Plan 31
Plan 32
r .
from the patterned group acti on with which v:e are fami liar. T he
high pr emium tr aditionally set on balanced d.eslgn was not But
the solid str ings of people arc gone, and the br e.ak With the
frieze the curtain is suddenly lifted on a picture of thi ngs as they
really were : workers bending to mi x mort ar or squatting to carve
a stat ue: a man who raises a bucket to his colleague's shoulder;
another 'engrossed in car pentry; .the elegant of Rekhmire's
household prepar ing for a SOCial fun ction .wlth female
servants arra nging their hair, anoi nting their limbs, .bn nglng them
jewellery. The message in these delightful IS forceful
clear, with the di gnified personage of the vizier himself tower ing
over his subordi nates in admi nistra tive excellence.
OI? the tJ:"averse. first (1) on the left-hand rear wall (a),
African tribes tributes includ ing gold, pant her- skins, ivory
a?d, the a.D1mals, a small donkey clinging to the neck of a
On the n.ght -hand wall (b) Asiatics br ing weapons, jars,
a car n age and white and brown hor ses.
On the right -hand side of the rear corri dor (c) the deceased
makes a tour of inspection of the prod uce of the estate. There is a
scene of the hunt for wild animals in the desert, the chase of water-
fowl .an.d the usual .o.ffering scenes, but unfortunately most of the
wall IS 10 bad condi tion. The funera ry scenes are on the left-h and
wall (d) .
The vaulted ceiling of t he shrine is finely decorated.
Plan 34
Tomb of Amenemheb (85): Plan 34
T his tomb has a line of pillars in the first chamber and side cham-
off the main corri dor directly behind it. It is important
historically because Amenemheb was the military commander of
T hutmose III, and not only does his tomb record his part in the
important Asiatic campaigns, but it gives exact informa-
tion of the of his reign and those of his predecessors.
Amenemheb IS recorded as having accomplished two feats of
unusual daring. One was during the battl e ofKadesh on the Orontcs
just before the clash of arms as the opposing armies were
poised and ready, the prince of Kadesh released a mare who
galloped straight for the bat tle lines of the Egyptian army. T he
plan was to br eak up the ranks and confuse the soldiers but Com-
man?er Amenemheb, ever on the alert, report edly leapt from his
chano t, pursued the mar e, caught it and promptly slew it.
:rhe second experience took place on the ret urn marc h from Asia
Minor near the Euphrates the Pha raoh was suddenly in
danger of being run down by a herd of wild elephants . Arnenemheb
not onl y managed to di vert the dan ger and save his master from a
nasty fate but apparently struck off t he trunk of the leader of the
herd while balancing precariously bet ween two rocks !
Natur ally such a brave and dutiful warrior should be just ly
rewarded by his Pharaoh for his bravery and such nobles as
Amenemheb re<:eived part of the boot y, decorations, and in special
cases even land In recognition of their services.
. Three :-valls in this tomb are especially noteworthy. The first is
10 the main chamber ( I) on the rear righ t- hand wall (a) . This is the
recor d of T hutmose Ill's Asiatic campaigns, his length of reign,
ctc. , as well as a record of Amenemheb's military honour s. Ncar
d c
Tom.b of Em.unzeh (84) : Plan 33
T his is the tomb of the super intendent of granar ies und er T hutmose
III and Amenhotep 11. T he condition is poor due largely to damage
from the [ela heen famil y who lived in it for many years and also
due to pillage by grave- robbers.
Plan 33
Tomb of Scnnofcr (96) : P lan 35
In this deli ghtful tomh the boxed- in effect has heen broken. The
the bott om of the wall Syrians bring tribute. They wear white
garme nts with colour ed braiding and there are talkat ive children
among them.
In the chamber leading off the corri dor to the right (2) is a scene
on the left-h and wall (b) of a feast in pr ogress with abundant food
and drink . Ser vant s bring bunches of flower s. The guests, relaxing
in comfo rtable chairs or squatt ing on stools, arc offered refresh-
ments and the ladies in the second row all hold lotus flowers in thei r
hand s, whil e round their necks and in their hair they have blossoms.
Att endant s hold staffs wreathed and cro wned with flowers. Lower
on the wall arc harp, flute and lut e-players. It is a gay and lively
representati on.
In the rear corr idor on the left-hand wall (c) is the pri vate garden
of Commander Ame ncmheb. Fish swim in a pool surrounded by
plant s. The deceased and his wife are presented with flower s.
The funerary scenes are found in the left-hand chamber U)
whi ch leads off the rear corridor.
Scnnofer and his wife on ihe vnyagv10 Abvdos
Plan 35
Th e To mb of Scnnofcr, ( h t"rsn :r of The Ga rdens of Amon
'o rie nt al tent' atmospher e of most tombs is missi ng becau se th e
en ti re cei ling has been painted with a creeping vine. Inter est ing use
has been mad e of the rough sur faces of th e rock to make th e grapes
and vine- te nd r ils more real ist ic, and th e exp eriment has succeede d .
Both th e fir st sma ll chamber and th e main hall , whi ch is supported
by four pill ars, ha ve been dec orated in this manner.
Sennofer was the overseer of the gardens of Amon under
Amcnhotcp II. His t omb, which was excavat ed on ly in t he zo t h
cent ury, wa s found to ha ve mostly religiou s inscript ions but the
condit ion of th e fresco es is almost per fect and t heir fr eshness and
beauty make t he tomb a very special one.
:\ steep fl ight of sta irs takes us down to th e firs t chambe r, and th e
fir st representati on s we meet on th e left-ha nd wall (1I) sho w
Scnnofcr bei ng b ro ug ht offerings fr om hi s daught er and ten pr ies ts .
Circl ing th e ch amber clockwise we see on t he two rear wall s (b and
c) drawings of t he deceased with his wife worshipping Osir is who is
represe nted above th e do orway of th e main cha mber. On th e rig ht-
hand wall (d) th e deceased is see n entering ami leaving his t omb
while serv an ts bring sacr ed offer ings and his daugh t er stands
behi nd him.
Above t he doorway of th e main chamber lie two represent at ions
of :\ nubis. T ouring the ch amber clo ckwise we come first to a sce ne
of the deceased and hi s wi le emerg ing from th e tomb (c), and
furt he r along sea ted on a ben ch . On the left -hand wall at cn arc
servan ts bringin g furn itu re to th e tomb an d setti ng up two obelisks
before t he shr ine. At ( g) ar c funerary ceremonies and th e noblema n
hi msel f (to t he left ) looks on. On the rear wall (Ii) the deceased and
hi s wife arc at a table of offer ings wh ile pr iest s offe r sacri fices to th e
dead. F urt he r to the ri ght (i) arc sce nes of th e voyage to Abydos,
st at ues of th e decea sed and hi s wi fe in a shr ine in a boat being
towed bv ano t he r boa t. T h us the deceased no bleman satis fied
himself (;f favour wit h Osir is by showing that he had had t he inten-
tion of per forming th e sacr ed pilgr image ,
One of th e most beaut iful re pr esent ations is that of the deceased
and his wilc in an arbour (j) praying to Osiris and Anubi s. At CA')
a priest clad in a leopard skin purifies th em with hol y wat er and at
(I) is the scene before a ta ble of offeri ngs whe re Sennofer puts a
lot us blossom to hi s nostril s and hi s wife te nderly holds his leg .
The pi llars have represe ntat ion s of Scnnofer and his wife .
Perhaps t he most all rac tive is to he found on th e left -hand pi llar
at (III ).
most beautiful scen es may , cons equentl y, be seen toda y in man y of
the mu seums of the world.
To the right of the fishing scene (1) is a ship (top row) from
which one of the sailors leans over the side to fill a bowl of water
from the river.
On the right-hand en trance wall (g) it can be seen that Menna
usurped this tomb. Where his st ucco has fallen off, the paintings
of the original owner can be seen beneat h. Perhaps it was the
descenda nts of that owner who destro yed Me nna' s face as an act of
Tomb of Intefoqer (60): Plan 37
T his is a regular r zth Dynasty tomb com pris ing a long entrance
cor ridor before the main chamber. It belongs to the governor and
vizier under Sesostris I and is one of the oldest tombs in this
group. It is situated high on the mountain and comma nds a good
view of the Nile Valley.
In contrast with the i Sth Dynasty mur als, these pai nti ngs are
somewhat crude and car ried out on rough plaster. T hey are
nevertheless quaint and inform ative. On the right-hand wall of the
main chamber (a) is a hunti ng scene with the deceased shooting
game T he gazelles, har es, etc. are being chased by
dogs. BIrds are being nett ed and fish are being haul ed in from a
square pond of water . Ju st beyond the centre of the wall (/I) is a
series of cooking scenes and st ill fur t her along (c) is a repres enta-
tion of Intefoqer and his wife.
T omb of Menna (69) : Plan 36
T his famous tomb of t he scr ibe of the fields und er T hutmose IV
has some of the most beauti ful repre sentat ions to be found of
harvests, feasts and hobbi es. It is a fine tomb and the colours are
brilliant , parti cula rly on the cei ling of the inner chamber.
On the left -hand entrance wall (a) Menna can be seen before a
table of offeri ngs and furt her along the wall (/I) are agricultural
scenes wit h ste p- by-step portrayals of the grain bei ng measured,
recorded, winnowed and tro dden . T he ploughing and sowing is
followed by reaping and , as in so many tombs, the art ist has
managed to add a human to uch; in th is case a young girl remo ving
a thorn from a friend's foot (bottom row) and two girls quarrell ing
(immedia tely abov e). At (c) Menna stands before a ship coming in
to dock with a cargo of st ores.
On the left-hand wall of t he rear corri dor (d) are funerary
scenes of the voyage to Abydos in fine detail and brill iant colour.
Men na' s heart is weighed before Osi ris (the tongue of the balance
has been destroyed ). On the right- hand wall (e) is the famous
fishing and fowling scene among t he pap yrus thickets. T he
deceased nobl eman is enjoying his favouri te past ime. Coloured
fowl rise from the ru shes. Crocodile, d uck and assort ed fish can be
seen in the water. Menna' s littl e daugh ter kneels to pluck a lotu s
flower from the rushes. The mural is a magnificent example of the
importance laid on depict ing good th ings for the hereafter. It is
spoiled on ly by the fact that Menna ' s face has been carefully
hacked out of the wall.
T he murals of the nobles' tombs have passed through three
major eras of destruct ion . In very earl y t imes , when anci ent tomb-
robbers extr acted t he valuable funerary equipment , the enemies of
the deceased also entered the chambers to dest roy some of the happy
represent at ions that the dec eased wanted to repeat in the hereafter.
What other reason could there be for the severi ng of a boomerang,
the dest ructi on of a wat er-jar or the blinding of the eyes ?
In the Ch ristian er a when many of the tombs were used as
hideou ts, some of the monks carefully plastere d over the wall
dr awings and thus preserved t hem for us in excellent condit ion,
while ot hers scra ped the distractin g repr esentati ons completely off
the walls. At the t urn of the zoth century, before proper secur ity
measures were enforced on the necr opoli s, antiquity deal ers
removed whole sections of the invaluab le murals and some of the
c b
d e
",. ....e.:
T owards th e centre of the left-hand wall (d) is a fascinat ing
representatio n ofa funerary dance. It takes place before th e deceased
is hrought to the tomb. T he ma le per formers have unusual reed
crowns. T hey chant '0 Hath or - v-a newcomer' and 'She has incli ne d
her head" the second chant indi cati ng appr oval by the goddess of
the deceased's entry to th e underworl d .
T he inner chamber has a deep niche at th e end, designed to hold
In tcfoqer' s stat ue (which has now been reconstructed ). T he bur ial
shaft extends off th is cha mber. On the r ight-hand ent rance wall (e)
ar e musician s, both male and female. T he offerings to th e god s of
the un derworld ar e ncar the cen tre of the ri ght-hand wall (.I).
Pl a n 37
Plan J8
1 r
b c
a d
Menna and hi s family en joy fishing and fowling in the hereafter
Tomb of Harmhab (78): Plan 38
This nobleman was royal scribe, scribe of recruits and the official
in charge of revenue in the reigns of Thutmose Ill, Amenhotep II,
Thutmose IV and Amenhotep III. He should not be confused with
the Pharaoh of the same name. His tomb comprises a traverse hall
and a single long corridor.
On the left-hand entrance wall (a) the much damaged figures of
IIarmhab and his wife are being offered bowls by servants as
female musicians play to them. On the left-hand rear wall (h) the
deceased (obliterated) presents to the Pharaoh the contributions of
the peasants. Above this scene are scribes registering the peasants
who are arranged in groups headed by standard bearers. On the
right-hand rear wall (c) foreign tributes are brought in by plumed
Asiatics. Note that a group of negroes from the Sudan are women
(upper row) who carry their babies in the well-known negro fashion,
tied to their backs. On the lower wall is a gay scene of negroes
dancing to a drum beat. On the right-hand entrance wall (d) is the
familiar funerary feast with dancing and music.
The left-hand wall of the inner corridor (e) has the traditional
funerary scenes. On the right-hand wall (j) is a much damaged
fishing and fowling scene.
Tomb of Ineni (Ennc) (81): Plan 39
This was the architect who excavated the first tomb in the Vallev of
the Kings, that of Thutmose I. His tomb comprises a main
chamber, the facade of which is formed of pillars which carry their
murals on the rear faces, and a corridor.
Three of the square pillars carry particularly interesting murals.
The first (a) is a hunting scene with a rearing hyena biting a broken
arrow as a dog rushes the wounded creature from the rear and
gazelles flee. The second (h) shows Ineni's country house and he
and his wife are seen in the arbour (damaged) from whence he
orders his gardener round the walled estate. On the third pillar (c)
Ineni can be seen before a sumptuous feast.
On the left-hand rear wall of the first chamber (d) Ineni receives
tributes from swarthy Nubians including two women who carry
their babies on their backs (top row). Below he receives contribu-
tions from the peasants. This part of the mural is squared up for the
draughtsman. On the right-hand wall (e) is a scene in poor condition
of Incni and his pet dog watching a parade of the estate animals
including sheep, goats, flamingoes and geese.
On the left-hand wall of the rear corridor en Ineni and his wife
Thorh weighs the heart of the deceased against a figure of the Goddess ofjustice and Truth. Tomb of xtcnna
receive offer ings . On t he rig ht - hand wall (g) are more funerar y
scenes and offer ings. The roof is decorated.
In th e niche at the rea r arc four seated st atues of the deceased
and hi s wi fe.
tional braided rob es. Having extended his empire Thurrnose I I r
was thus recorded as hav ing homage paid him bv the chieftai ns of
Khefti u, th e Hittites, T unip and Kadesh. .
The left-hand ent rance wall (c) has har vest sce nes.
Plan 39
Plan 40

b c

T omb of Menkheperrasonb (86) : Plan 40

T his tomb was never completed. Only the regul ar tr aver se chamber
was cons t r ucted and this has two small chambers projecting from
the rear wall s on either side. It belonged to the first prophet of
Amo n in the reign of Thutrnose III, who was another of tho se
masters- of- all in an cient Egypt who could as read ily turn th eir
hands to agricu lt ure as to raising an obelisk.
T owards the end of th e r ight-hand entran ce wall (a) craftsme n
are at work on weapons, vases, et c. whi le gold for th e inla y is being
weigh ed out (upper reaches ). The inscription records for poste rit y
the fact th at the illu str iou s Pharaoh Thutmose III actua lly designed
some of the ves sels himsel f, thus creati ng a pr ecedent followed by
several monar chs and states men!
On th e right-hand rear wall (b) foreign envoys bring gi fts ranging
from gold and silver inlaid vases to diverse weapon s, bat tledress
and hor ses. T he negro es wear loincloths, th e Syri ans th eir tradi-
Tomb of Kheru-ef'{rqz): Plan 41
T he tomb of Kheru-ef is at pr esent closed to visitors du e to recon -
st ruct ion.
was st eward to the Great Royal Wife Queen Tiy at the
cr ucial period of the rSrh Dyna sty just before Amo n was dethron ed
by Ikhnat on , The tomb was never completed but th e murals are
carved in exquisite hi gh reli ef.
The outer cour tyard contains vario us other tombs and a wall has
been constructed to preserve the rel iefs of Kheru-ef. On the left-
hand wall are deli ghtful scenes from the Sed fest ival the 10- vear
Jubilee of th e Phar aoh. Amenhotep III and Queen
devel oped that st iffne ss that characterised the later Rame sside
period, is in extr emely good cond ition and the low curve d roof is
used to continue the themes of the side walls.
A narrow flight of stairs, followed by a curved flight, leads to
this entrance of the tomb. On the wall opposite the door way (from
left to right) are: (a) Anubi s embalming the mummy of the
deceased, (b) Osiris before an offering tabl e flanked by two Horu s
eyes, (c) offeri ngs and perfume s and (d) the deceased being led bv
Anubis. .
On the right-hand wall (c) is an agri cultural scene with ripe
wheat fields, fruits and flower s. In the lower row are ploughing
scenes. On the opposite wall U) is a delight ful repr esentation of the
deceased nobleman and his wife, whose transparent dress reveals
slender limb s.
On the roof are scenes of the opening of the door of the tomb, the
journey to the underworld and chapters from the Book of the Dead,
as well as the tree of life and the sacred spott ed Apis bull.
On the left-hand side of the doorway (g) is a scene showing the
mummy of the deceased in the tomb with Nepht hys and Isis in the
form of birds and (lower row) the wife and daughter of the deceased.
On the right-hand wall (Ii) are evil spirits and (lower row) the
deceased and his fami ly.
In thi s tomb one feels an intense intimacy with the deceased as
he was during his life and as he carried his tr easures and pleasures
to his grave. Perhaps it is the fine condi t ion of the murals that helps
to create this feeling . Perhaps, and more likely, it is the very
smallness of the tomb itself.
- - -,
1- ----------
00 000 :
r- ---- ------
r- - --
1_- -
r---- - - - ---1
'0 00 00
: 0 0 0 00
-- ------ -- - ,
Plan 41
with l Iathor behind them (a) watc hing a processional in
honour. Further along the wall (/7) they leave the palace with eight
slim princesses walking in pairs and bearing jars of sacr ed w:lter.
At (c) delightful carvings of the ceremonial a
of rebirt h of life on the earth and include a j umpi ng bird, a flying
bini and a monkev . In the lower row are musicians with flut es and
drums. Towards the end of t he wall (d) is a sket ch of the hi gh priest
and t he text describes the celebrat ion.
The right -hand sect ion of the wall is somewhat damag;ed. At (c)
Amenhotep II I is portrayed with his sixteen prInces: Que en
Tiv he wat ches the erect ion of a column svrnbolising the god
Osiris (./). At ( g) the Pharaoh and Qu een Tiy ar c shown with the
deceased nobl eman behind them. Beneath the tno arc the conquered
The other nobleman of thi s era, when the royal capi tal was being
shifted to T el cl Amarna, was Ramose. But while Ramose followed
his master to the new capital , Khcru-ef remained in Thebes with
the royal mother.
Tomh of Sennutem Plan 4
T his is the tomb of t he 'Servant in the Place of Truth in the early
Rarnc sside period. The mural decoration, which had not yet
de b a
Scene [rum Tomb of Scn nuu-m \ h l l W j l \ ~ whcur lidtb. trui r and lluwcrs in t he bcrcat rcr .
Anubis embalms the deceased nobleman, To mb of Svnruncm.
The Temple of Der el Medina: Plan 43
T his small, gr aceful Pt ol emaic temple, completely surrounde d by
a brick wall , is th ou ght to have been origina lly founded by the
architec t ur al genius under Arnc nhotep II I known as Amenhotep
son of Hapu . It lies in a barren hollow and was dedi cated to Harhor
and Maat. It took shape under t he Ptolemies, Within its preci ncts
Christian monks bui lt a monasrerv th e remains of which can be
seen to th e left and ri ght of the temple. It was th ese monks who
gave it its name.
The temple consists of a lar ge ves ti bule (1) containi ng two
ela boratel y adorned palm-columns with flor al capitals and a screen
wall dividing it from a central hall (2) and t he back of th e temple
where there ar c t hree shrines. Here, as in so ma ny templ es in the
Nile Vall ey, th e pure lin es of Egyptian work and the elabor ated
G raeco-Egyptian sty le ar e found si de by si de .
Passing t hrough the entrance door way of the temple we noti ce
steep rocks. The facade, which has a hollow corn ice, bear s names
at test to the man y Co pts and G reeks who visi ted t he templ e.
Fa cing us are t he t wo palm columns and behind th em t he screen
wall s with pillars bearing heads of Hathor . Near th e top of the wall
on the lett is a window wh ich once lig hted a stai rcase.
In th e left -hand sh rine on the left-hand wall (a) is a chapt er from
the Book of the Dead showing Osiris seated (near the end of the
wall) and before him four genii of th e dead upon a lotus flower.
Thoth ins cribes th e ver dict . To th e left th e heart of th e dec eased
(Philopat or) is wei gh ed by Anubis and Horus in one of the most
complete representat ion s of th is sce ne to be found, and also one of
the most With t he 42 judges of the dead (upper row) th e
deceased IS led to the scene of th e judgeme nt hy Maar who, in
another representation and joine d hy Anubis and Horus, weigh s
the heart of the deceased against the feat her of truth. Note that
Anubis and Horus not only measure th e wei ght hut test the scales;
Horu s himself checks th e balance ; Thoth records t he resu It. Ifit
pr oves sati sfactory th en t he deceased ent ers the underworld if
unsat isfactory he will be devoured bv the hippopotamus-like
monst er hefore him.
On the rear wall (/I) the deceased offers incense to Osiris and Isis.
On th e right-hand wall (r) is th e sacre d boat with sta nda rds, etc.
Above t he doorway (d) is a four-head ed ram represent ing the God
of the Fo ur \Vinds and above th is st range creatu re a flying vult ure
worsh ipped by fou r goddesses. On t he jambs of th e door way th e
Ph araoh is represented wit h three ha wk-headed and th ree jackal -
headed genii .
In th e ce nt re shrine (J) are representations of th e deceased
before t he vario us Theb an deities.
the r ight-hand shri ne on th e ri gh t-hand wall (e) arc fine
car vmgs of seated deit ies: Osiris with Hathor, Isis, Horus,
Nephthys and Anubis behind him. On t he left-hand wall (j) ar e
Mut, Arnon-Ra, etc .
South of the temple of Ocr el Medina is th e settlement of tomb
and temple wor kers (page 70) . The ceme te ry lies to the west.
Plan 43
e 3
a c
SEASON 197517
Archaeologists believe that the soil .of Egypt cO,ncea ls as as
ever came out of it. Though most dl scovenes WIll be
ma de in Sa kkara, the Fa youm and the Delta, some Important tinds
ha ve been made in Luxor in recent years.
For example, elec tric ians, buryi ng elec tric cables the
flagstones of the great court of Karnak temple for the . Son et
Lumi er c' per forman ces, un earthed a sl.opmg ran,lp leading to a
jerry. T his W,\S the sacred hoat s of Amo n, assume?
to have been carned to the fi ver by pri ests, launched for t heir
journey during the C? ret festi val And some foundatIOn
at the four corners of the pyramid of Mentuhotep at pel eI Bah: 1
were found to contain unique miniat ur es in gree n ThIS
vcrv rare and comple te collect ion . 01 all the
implements used by thc of the H,me, 111 add It Ion to some
t iny inscr ibed tahl ets da tin g from the ,erectIOn or the
Are there an y royal tombs yet 111 the \ alle,Y of.the
Kings ? What of the Queens ? T he WI ves. 01 Ramses II s, eight
suc ccssors of the same name, for example [ Or the royal oftspnng
who di ed at a tender age? Or noblemen ? What sort of story WIll the
walls of Ikhnaton ' s reconstructed temples tel.1 of th,e era sun-
worship at L uxor ? Might there be another hidd en cache III the
precinct s of Karnak ? Or ano ther disman tl ed temple ?
Such qu estions as these draw ar chaeologIsts to year
vea r. Work continues wit h t he
'fervour of the previous cent ury. But now It com? mes excavati on
with documentation, conser vation and reco ns tructIOn. The 197517
archacological season starts in Oct ober .
T he following tea ms continue work iJ.l Luxo r : .
I . T he Aust rian Archaeologi cal In stitu te" who have been. exca-
vat ing in Asas if for several di scover ed the
un known tomb of Ankh- Hor, which dat es .to La te Penod"
A mummy and parts of seve ral sarcophagi with the names of
were fou nd in it , As wi th most other tombs in the sou th
Asasif the poor quality of the roc k made it impossible for
relief sculptors to wor k dir ectl y on the walls. In ste ad,
limes tone blocks were cut, fitt ed to the wall and dul v inscri bed.
T he, tom? was never finis he.d mor eover , a large number of
the inscrib ed .blocks are rmssmg, but wor k on reconstruction
and conse rvat ion will be conti nued .
2 . A Belg!an archaeological team, excavat ing in the north Asas if
area, di scover ed the Saitic tomb of Padi -Horrcsn et on wh ich
clearance and documen tati on will continue : a task complicated
by the that fragme nts of mur als from other tombs are being
found III It .
3, The Unive rs ity of Chicago's Epigraphic Survey, having
completed a 50- year long st U?y of Medinet Habu, are carr ying
out the first complete recor ding of Se ri I' s battle reliefs on the
northern (outer) wall of the Hypost yle Hall at Karnak. In the
have locat ed a hidd en wall on whi ch these import-
ant scenes conti nu e, They have also started a new
of 'Feast of Opet' in Luxor Temple.
for the season include the first map of the
I' he ban since 1\) 2 1 and a series of Handboo ks to
monumen ts m the L uxor area .
4 Ej!:yptian Centre for Docume ntati on is preparing publica-
non of two volumes on t he mo rtuary temple of Ramses II the
on the reliefs of his battles against the Hi;t ites
of Syria, including the of the fortresses of Tulip and
Zap ur , and the ot her to cont ain a plan and descr iption of the
north-west ern gra!,aries and storer <:lOms of the templ e,
where unusual mud-bri ck statues were found in a columned
hal l.
In, the , Valley of the Qu eens, clearing or recording will
cO,ntlllue m many tombs, including those of several of Ramscs
II s sons and those of the wives and daughter of Ramses I I.
of the tomb of Yuyi , Ramses II 's moth er, will
continue, and the full text and descr iption of the tomb of
Arnon- Hir- Khops hef will be publish ed.
, Among the tombs to be clea red and studied at Kuma is that of
1 hay, a official who start ed his car eer und er Ramses
II and continued under Merneptah (be lieved by some scholars
to be the Ph ar aoh during the Exodus took place).
T he fragments of murals of this umque tomb will be studied
and recorded.
5. The Fran co-Egypt ian Centre at Karnak ent er its
season. Among various undertakings wh ich In.elud e excavations
and th e preservation of monuments, one the m?st u.rgent.
projects is to continue to study the of
monuments through water seepage, and erOSIOn,
and to take ste ps to pr event fur th er destruction. Until the
decade the causes of dam age were not full y and, in
fact , spec ialists working for the Centre ha ve had to som e
previou sly held views, as, for examp le, the mi sconceptIOn,
there was no humidity in Upper Eg ypt and that was
caus ed bv subte rrane;n seepage only. The
having b'een establi shed, methods to curb
heing experimented on. Many modern of conser van on
whi ch have proved sat isfactory in other countn es have appeared
to he less so in the case of Egy pt's monuments, where th e
na tural process of evapo rat ion o.f r:t0isture mu st be allow.ed
crystallisation he curbed . Specialist s arc extremely opnrmsnc
and will continue to carry out tri als next season. .
It is inter est ing to learn tha t the High to a
extent, improved conditions for the of monuments.
Befor e I t)6+the differen ce be.tween low .hlgh flood was
to ten metr es.This resulted, lime and again, being
Hood ed, the ll ypost yle Hall at sometimes
to a depth of one metre. Tyday, With the control of irri gatr on
water , there is a difference of only ahm.1t two metres, and
the ave rage level is high er than before the over all,
have improved . The murals on the lower w.allsare decay so
rapidl y from salt erosion caused by wetting and .dry109
out every year, and steps can more easily be taken to
undermined foundations and to prevent the further collaps e
of lar ge str uctures . . . ,. . .
6. The French Institute of Oriental w I Ilk
excava te and carry out epigraphic st udies at arnax or nex
season. In ende avouring to establish th e strata and th e ground
plans of ear lier monuments, the team located the sandstone
pa vement of a temple I. . . .
On the west ba nk of the NIle, at Der el Medina, t.he
has completed half a century of the Village
was occupied by workers engaged 10 e.xcavatlOg an.d
the roval tombs of the Vall ey of the K1Ogs. A of the
find ings is now be ing This . will a u,mque study,
since the fam ily hi stories of each of the inha bi ta nts of th e
village can . be traced from gene ration to generati on th rou ghout
the . of three cent uri es, with full details of th eir duil v
reh glOus ceremonies, ma rriages and even
antagOni sms and jealou sies of the community .
7 Institute have been carrying out
van<?us projects m the Luxor area for over a decade. In the
commg .season work will continue on the documentation and
resroranon of the 26th dyna st y tomb of Ibi in Asasif, where rhev
the burial chamber and hitherto unrecorded rcpre-
as the astronomi cal ceiling. Res toration of
I?l s tomb includes the replacing of fragments of rel iefs
by. the Belgian a rchae? logical team excavati ng th e
.of Padl-Horresnet Immediately to the cast. Suita ble
pr ovrsion , for public admissi on to the tomb of Ibi will probabl v
be made. .
Work will also continue in the 1- Taref area the northern-
most p.oin.t on the Theban necropolis where th d princes of the
Inref famil y of the uth and l oth dy nasti es wer e bu ri ed. Last
yea.r, during excavations of thi s site, two mud-brick mastabas
to the +th dyna st y and of a type hithert o unknown in the
I'h eban area were located. A survey last season indicated that
are tombs of the saj/"type in the ar ea.
Germany s most recent trial project IS to apply a tec hnique
known as photogrammetry for the do cumentation of the relie fs
of the temple of Seti I at Kuma. Photogrammet ry is
us ually apphed to document architecture ; it was used , for
for the rest ora tion and rel ocation of the temples at
Abu Sirnb el . The German team will now use it also to document
reli e!s . Th.e technjque of ph oto gr ammetry is, ro ughl y, to
obtam a paIr.of ste!eo- photographs which, by mean s of special
appa ratus: WIll pr?ject a three-d imensional, undi storted picture
of the subject. ThIS can th en be utili sed for plotting to whatever
scale or plan be required. Photogrammetry should provide
means for qui cker, more accurate and more econ omi cal
documentation whi ch, in turn, can also enable pr eci se and
accurate rest oration to be done. The tri al run last season was
encouragin g.
8. A Japanese team, exca vat ing in ,'\ 'lalqatt a,
south-west of ivi edmel Habu, ha ve dis covered a staircase of
Amenhotep III leading to his Heb Sed Court. Thev will
continue. working !n the area during the coming season..
9 The Universir-; of Pennsyl vania has taken out a con cession to
dear and conserve a series of Late New Kingdom tombs of the
Dra abu el- Naga area . They will also continue to excavate the
palace of Amenhotep III at Malqarta, where they have already
unearthed a large qua y. This was where the royal barge was
moored at the edge of a ri verine harbour.
10 . The Universities of Penn sylvania and Toronto continue to
sponsor the reconstruction by computer of Ikhnatori' s Sun
T emple from thousands of blocks extracted from various sites
within the pre cincts of Karnak Temple. At the beginning of
the coming season the y will excavate outside the western gate
in an effort to locate the sour ce of the blocks and the original
site of the temple.
[ I . The Polish Archaeological Institute will continue recon struction
of the magnificent mortuary of Queen Hatschcpsut at Oer eI
Hahri as well as a struct ure ofThutmose III above the third tier.
The new Mu seum at Luxor, to be opened in 1<)76, is situated on
the river' s edge about half-way between the great temples of Luxor
and Karnak. It has been designed by one of Egypt's leading
architects to display works of art from three main sources : from the
temples of Luxor and Karnak, from storehouses containing
treasures excavated from both sides of the Nile in Luxor, and some
selected pieces from the Cairo Museum.
Visitors to this air -conditioned museum, on two levels under a
single roof (a ramp leads to the upper gallery), will be attracted
by effecti vely illuminated works of art , offset against ncar-black
walls. The creation of individual vistas at strategic positions will
encourage an organised, uninterrupted flow of people through the
mu seum, and pre vent the tendency to double back and congest the
T o the rear of the main hall of the Museum, a few stairs lead
to a long gallery where two masterpieces (the recently found red
granite head of'Scsostris I, and the great stone stele of Mentuhotep
II flanked by two recentl y found statues) become the first focal
point. Effective lighting will encourage visitors to bypass the
Information Well to the right and to make their way towards these
displayed objects.
After the major work of art and the major rel ief, the next focal
point is the magnificent alaba ster statue of Arnenhotep II I, seated
besid e, and under the protection of Sobek, the Crocodile-god .
This, the largest free standing statue in the museum, is half-way up
the gallery. In approaching it visitors pass on the right the famous
narrating how Karnose conquered the Hyksos (p. 37), and
varIOUS other works of art from the Theban area on the left.
From the centre of the gallery, attention is drawn once more
towards illuminated objects at the end of the gallery, where a
ramp leads to the upper floor and commands an excellent view of
the lower gallery.
The first important work of art on the upper floor is one of the
statues of Amenhotep, son of Hapu ; it is individuall y
illuminated . On the short wall are some blocks, carved in relief
from the famous red-granite shrine of Hatschepsut taken from
the restricted area ofKamak Temple (see Plan 4)' and 'as one makes
the . turI:', one's attention is immediately drawn ;0 work of
major Importance : the head of the Pharaoh Ikhnaton which
introduces the Amarna Period (pp. 142 / 143).
On the upper gallery of Luxor Museum is one of the finest
reconstructions of modem times : the famous 'Ikhnaton Wall' an
I 8-metre, wall reconstructed from 300 of the 6,000 block; of
Ikhnaton s Sun Temple extracted by the Franco-Egyptian Centre
at Karnak from Harmhab's ninth pylon (p. 60). The wall is a
record. of some aspects of ever yday life during the period of sun
has been so constructed that newl y-discovered or
pieces can be systematically added to the wall.
A area for small objects, such as jewellery, faience vessels
and Items of adornment, is situated irnrnediatelv above the
Information Well on the ground floor. The second ramp leads the
vlslt?rs downwards towards the well, the main feature of which is
a relief map of the various temples and monuments of Luxor on a
large scale, illum.inated by press buttons to show 'Where you' are' .
One of the unique features of Luxor Museum is the huge slab,
or along Its outer face, which separates and enhances
the building proper. This serves to keep the museum cool and
creates, at the same time, a colonnade where statues will be di s-
played and illuminated at night. Several large stone works will be
exhibited in the grounds of the Museum also, as for example the
fa,:,ous stele of Amenhotep II, one of the finest single examples of
relief (photo on page 65).
important feature of the Museum, apart from the
varIOUS areas , offices, library and study areas, is
the Area where the majority of works ofart will be prepared
for mountmg and cleaning. The ticket-booth leads to an outdoor
cafeteria overlooking the Nile on the south side of the Museum.