Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tell Edfu

Wednesday, November 25: On this day, we were the beneficiaries of a very special visit to Tell Edfu. Dr. Nadine Moeller, our scholarly escort and director of the Tell Edfu project, gave us a spectacularly unique tour of the site, including climbing up the settlement layers to the current excavation area and a visit to the roof of the temple proper. The site of Edfu contains a remarkable accumulation of settlement debris going back to the Old Kingdom. To the west of the temple, the ancient settlement can be scene in the area where Dr. Moeller is conducting excavations. However, further ancient settlement, and perhaps temple structures, extends far out under the modern town. Well preserved Ptolemaic Period houses can be seen on top of the settlement mound on the west side. These houses were contemporary to the Ptolemaic Temple of Horus, whose foundation must have required the excavation of settlement debris in antiquity. Construction on the naos ("sanctuary) of the temple began under Ptolemy III Euergetes, as we know from the famous building inscription which runs around the enclosure wall. The bark shrine houses a reused naos of Nectanebo II. Decoration on the inner section of the temple had been completed under Ptolemy IV Philopator. The temple was not fully dedicated until the reign of Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II and Cleopatra II. However, Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II expanded the temple by adding a pronaos, and enclosure wall and a mammisi dedicated to Horus, Hathor and Harsomtus. Much of the decoration of these elements took place under Ptolemy IX Soter II. The construction of the court and pylon were completed and decorated by Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos. In the court in front of the pronaos and behind the pylon blocks from the New Kingdom Sed-festival gate, dating to Taharqa and reused by Psametichus II, were excavated.

Pylon Decoration


Group Portrait in front of Pylon


The Purification-Sanctuary (Wabet)


Inner Sanctuary


Mammisi


Myth of Horus from inside the western enclosure wall


Imhotep Inscription on inside of north east corner of the enclosure wall


Group Portrait before the Falcon Statue in front of the Pronaos


Settlement Area from Temple Roof


On the Archaeological Site


Bibliography:

Le temple d'Edfou. 1-15. Cairo: IFAO, 1897-1985

Barbara Watterson. The House of Horus at Edfu: Ritual in an Ancient Egyptian Temple (Gloucestershire: Tempus, 1998)

Dieter Kurth. The Temple of Edfu A Guide by an Ancient Egyptian Priest. Translated by Anthony Alcock (Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 2004)

Dieter Kurth. Edfou VIII. Die Inschriften des Tempels von Edfu, Abteilung I: √úbersetzungen, Band 1. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 1998

Katelijn Vandorpe and Willy Clarysse (eds.). Edfu, An Egyptian Provincial Capital in the Ptolemaic Period. Brussels, 3 September 2001 (Brussel: Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie van Belgue voor Wettenshappen en Kunsten, 2003)

H. W. Fairman. “The Myth of Horus at Edfu – 1.” Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 21 (1935), 26-36

A. M. Blackman and H. W. Fairman. "The Myth of Horus at Edfu: II. C. The Triumph of Horus over His Enemies: A Sacred Drama." Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 28 (1942), 32-38

A. M. Blackman and H. W. Fairman. "The Myth of Horus at Edfu: II. C. The Triumph of Horus over His Enemies a Sacred Drama (Continued)." Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 29 (1943), 2-36

A. M. Blackman and H. W. Fairman. "The Myth of Horus at Edfu: II. C. The Triumph of Horus over His Enemies a Sacred Drama (Concluded)." Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 30 (1944), 5-22

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