Sunday, April 6, 2014

Short Story: Resurrection at Thebes? by Nevine El-Aref / Al-Ahram Weekly

Very interesting article to share 
by Nevine El-Aref / Al-Ahram Weekly

Could the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III be returning to something like its original splendour after 3,200 years in ruins, asks Nevine El-Aref
Copyrights for Khaled Desouki/Getty Images

At Wadi Al-Hittan on Luxor’s west bank, the two lonely Colossi of Memnon are seated, greeting visitors to the Theban necropolis. However, last week things were different from usual, as the temple that the monoliths once safeguarded is progressively re-emerging from oblivion for the first time since its collapse 3,200 years ago after a massive earthquake.

The originally awe-inspiring temple of the pharaoh Amenhotep III now appears as just slight elevations and depressions in the packed earth, with blocks, statues and fragments scattered across the surface. However, three of the temple’s original pylons can now be discerned, along with the statues and stelae that decorated its different courts.

The efforts exerted by the Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project (CMATCP) and the Ministry of State for Antiquities (MSA) under the supervision of Egyptologist Hourig Sourouzian may be making the dream of the reconstruction of the lost temple come true.

The temple was built throughout the 38 years of the pharaoh’s reign in the first half of the 14th century BCE. Some 150 years later, it was toppled after a destructive earthquake hit the country around 1,200BCE.

The site was then used as a quarry, and most of the blocks and decorative elements were re-used in the construction of surrounding temples and structures.

Later, the remains of the temple were regularly subjected to floods and it was covered with the alluvial layers of the Nile.

In the 19th century, collectors scoured the site, taking away several royal statues, smaller divine effigies and statues of the goddess Sekhmet. These are now dispersed in the hands of private collectors or exhibited at museums abroad.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Egyptian Antiquities Service of the time inspected the site, and more recently work was carried out there in collaboration with the Swiss Institute in 1964 and 1970, the results being published in 1981.

Since then, the site has been abandoned, and the visible remains of the temple have been in a poor state of conservation, submerged by water, invaded by vegetation or threatened by encroachment or vandalism.

In 1998, the CMATCP started a salvage operation at the temple in order to conserve the last remains of the ruined site and to mount the monuments in their original locations within the temple’s walls.

Over 16 archaeological seasons, excavation and conservation work was carried out and the architecture of this magnificent temple finally revealed. Last week, a number of Egyptian and foreign journalists, as well as archaeologists and government officials, flocked to the funerary temple in order to catch a glimpse of the new finds that the archaeologists were about to unveil, these suggesting the original plan of the temple.

Full article …….. CLICK HERE

Conceptual Design for the site management plan
Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III mortuary temple project

Schematized design (rough plans) for the site of Kom El Hetan. Courtesy of the European mission directed by Dr. Hourig Sourouzian and Dr. Rainer Stadelmann

Related posts: 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.