Elephantine: temple of Khnum

temple

Location

The temple of Khnum was located on the top of the hill in the south-east part of the island, inside the cult area. It faces the river, being situated perpendicularly to the line of the bank.

Parts

Elephantine: temple of Khnum, enclosure wall 

Description

The temple of Khnum was an element of the sacred landscape of Elephantine at least from the early Middle Kingdom.[1] The relationships of this building with the New Kingdom temple are not established, the work on this material as well as on the material from the New Kingdom is in progress.[2]

Martin Bommas supposes that works on the New Kingdom temple of Khnum were started early, perhaps even during the short reign of Thutmose II and his work was continued by his wife Hatshepsut.[3] He refers to the Youth Legend of the queen preserved at Deir el-Bahari, according to which, in her childhood the queen visited the temple of Khnum together with her father and indicates that at that time the temple visited by the king accompanied by his daughter was the Middle Kingdom temple.[4] According to M. Bommas, Hatshepsut dismantled only a part of the Middle Kingdom temple of Khnum and the rest of it was still in use.[5] Among a big amount of decorated blocks and block fragments found in the area of the temple of Khnum[6] only a few of them were dated by M. Bommas to the reign of Hatshepsut.[7] He thinks that at the time of Thutmose II the sandstone façade of the temple as well as the sandstone surrounding walls were erected and connected with the mudbrick wall. At least the southern face of the surrounding wall was decorated by workers of Thutmose II.[8] M. Bommas believes that the four columns with the original name of Thutmose II constituted a square courtyard.[9] The original name of Hatshepsut was not found on the blocks of the temple of Khnum and her temple is reconstructed by M. Bommas on the basis of erased cartouches of the queen, the stylistic observations and history of architecture.[10] He suggests that Hatshepsut rebuilt the construction of her husband by moving the columns from the courtyard to the façade and by the addition of the fifth column, which required the removal of the main door from its central position.[11] The temple rearranged by Hatshepsut was freestanding, she removed the mudbrick wall from the time of Thutmose II, which was attached to the main building, and built the sandstone enclosure wall decorated in sunken relief with the names of her husband.[12] Hatshepsut probably designed the plan of the main temple building with three lines of rooms. The vestibule (A) had a roof supported on four pillars erected in one row.[13] In its north wall the side entrance was located to open the passage between the temple of Khnum and the temple of Satet.[14] M. Bommas sees three rooms (B, C, D) in the middle part of the temple, oriented east-west and connected with the vestibule. From the south room there was an access to a long room (E) oriented south-north.[15] Hatshepsut did not finish the decoration, but M. Bommas supposes that room B was decorated with her names.[16]

It is true that the names of Thutmose II were carved originally on block fragments but the presence of these names there does not necessarily prove such an early dating, the temple could have been decorated during the reign of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III as well. M. Bommas is of the opinion that the temple, although unfinished, was partially decorated and equipped with the statue of Thutmose II erected most probably very early in her reign. Such an erection of the statue of Thutmose II in the unfinished temple seems to be questionable since it means that the object of the cult was introduced to the building which had an unfinished sanctuary.

In 2012 F. Arnold started reexamination of the blocks studied previously by M. Bommas.[17] He supposes that the first phase of works on the Khnum temple can be dated to the reign of Hatshepsut and that fragments of five 20-faces columns inscribed with names of Thutmose II come from this time. He shows that they were constructed of four drums, each approximately 80cm high, which gives the total height of 3.45m together with the abacus measured over the column base. The width of abacus was about 79cm. The columns were decorated with a single column of inscription carved in sunken relief.

F. Arnold also added some new blocks to the collection of Hatshepsut's blocks with the name of Thutmose II, among them one coming from the outer side of the gate and bearing the sunken relief decoration.[18] He suggests that the door could have originally been inserted in the enclosure wall as the main door of the temple complex and was dismantled by Thutmose III for construction of the first pylon.[19] The fragments of small pillars were found in the area of the temple as well. They were only 64cm wide and were decorated with names of Thutmose II and Thutmose III. F. Arnold supposes that they were erected very early, but their location remains unknown.[20]

From the temple area there was a staircase running down from enclosure of the temple of Khnum to the area of the temple of Satet.[21] Perhaps this was the route of the procession represented on one of the blocks found in the temple of Khnum.[22] The block cannot be dated precisely, there is no name of any king on it, however, the style is the Thutmoside one.

The temple of Khnum was connected with the Nile, having another processional route, although there is no proof that it appeared as early as during the reign of Hatshepsut. In the list of festivals carved on the blocks of Thutmose III which were found in the area of the temple of Khnum, there is a mention of the chapel located on the east bank.[23] It might suggest that the water procession between both sacred buildings took place there. In a slightly later source, i.e. the stela of Amenhotep II,[24] which was devoted to the erection of the temple of Khnum, a chapter was dedicated to the endowment made on the occasion of the feast of Anuket from Sehel. It seems very likely that the greatest feast of the region was conducted in all temples on its route, and among them in the temple of Khnum.

The only known object coming from the temple of Khnum and dated to the reign of Hatshepsut is the statue of Thutmose II. The placement of this statue in the temple of Khnum by the queen[25] can be an indication for dating the construction to her early years – mentioning of Thutmose II by Hatshepsut was characteristic especially for that period.[26] It is probable that Hatshepsut erected the statue of her husband in the still existing Middle Kingdom temple, another possibility is that she finished her new temple but it was later rebuilt by Thutmose III and this is the reason of the absence of names of the queen in other parts of the building.

There are no other published objects that can be dated with the certainty to the times of Hatshepsut, however, it is probable that the obelisk of Thutmose I[27] could have been erected by the queen or left in its original place if it had been erected by Thutmose I himself.

On the basis of the published blocks it cannot be stated beyond doubt if the temple of Khnum was built by Hatshepsut but left partially undecorated and after her disappearance finished by Thutmose III or if these two rulers constructed two separate buildings. Felix Arnold noted that blocks of Thutmose III studied by him and coming from the temple house had been found only in the foundation of the Ptolemaic pronaos of the Khnum temple and not in the temple of Nectanebo II.[28] On the other hand, most of the blocks identified by M. Bommas as dated to Hatshepsut (C 41, C 44, C 246, C 248, C 249, C 250, C 251, C 253, C 254, C 256) as well as those which show the features of erasing and reconstruction (C 255, C 257) were found in the foundation of the temple of Nectanebo.[29] Nevertheless, there are some blocks certainly assigned to the reign of Hatshepsut which were found in other places (southern ambulatory: C 10). It appears from the reports of 42nd and 43rd seasons of works of the German-Swiss Mission that Thutmose III erected a separate building without any connection to the construction of Hatshepsut and that the construction of Hatshepsut is relatively early.[30] It can support the conclusions emerging from the interpretation of the statue of Thutmose II erected by Hatshepsut.

Footnotes

  1. ^ 793: Inscriptions hiéroglyphiques trouvées dans Le Caire - - - Daressy, Georges; 786: Stadt und Tempel von Elephantine. 23./24. Grabungsbericht - - - Kaiser, Werner, Jaritz, Horst, Bommas, Martin, Ziermann, Martin, Niederberger, Walter, von Pilgrim, Cornelius, Seiler, Anne, Andraschko, Frank, Rodziewicz, Mieczysław; 777: Stadt und Tempel von Elephantine. 25./26./27. Grabungsbericht - - - Kaiser, Werner, Jaritz, Horst, Arnold, Felix, Bommas, Martin, Kopp, Peter, Ziermann, Martin, Hikade, Thomas, Hoffmann, Friedhelm, Niederberger, Walter, von Pilgrim, Beatrice, von Pilgrim, Cornelius, Raue, Dietrich, Rzeuska, Teodozja, Schaten, Sofia, Seiler, Anne, Stalder, Laurent, Pätznick, Jean-Pierre; 97: Der Tempel des Chnum der 18. Dyn. auf Elephantine, PhD thesis, Universität Heidelberg - - 2000 - Bommas, Martin; 821: Report on the 38th season of excavation and restoration on the island of Elephantine - - 2009 - Kaiser, Werner, Laskowska-Kusztal, Ewa, Arnold, Felix, Kopp, Peter, von Pilgrim, Cornelius, Raue, Dietrich; 822: Report on the Excavations at Elephantine by the German Archaeological Institute and the Swiss Institute from autumn 2012 to spring 2013 - - - Arnold, Felix, Kopp, Peter, von Pilgrim, Cornelius, Krapf, Tobias, Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes, Dijkstra, Jitse, Katzjäger, Denise, Abd el-Latif, Mohamed, Neef, Reinder, Podsiadlowski, Viola.
  2. ^ 666: Report on the Excavations at Elephantine by the German Archaeological Institute and the Swiss Institute from autumn 2013 to spring 2014 - - 2014 - Seidlmayer, Stephan, Arnold, Felix, Kopp, Peter, von Pilgrim, Cornelius, Budka, Julia, Krapf, Tobias, Perkins, Tyler, Schröder, Marie-Kristin, Schultz, Michael.
  3. ^ For the reconstruction of the temple of Thutmose II, see: 97: Der Tempel des Chnum der 18. Dyn. auf Elephantine, PhD thesis, Universität Heidelberg - - 2000 - Bommas, Martin.
  4. ^ 97: Der Tempel des Chnum der 18. Dyn. auf Elephantine, PhD thesis, Universität Heidelberg - - 2000 - Bommas, Martin.
  5. ^ 97: Der Tempel des Chnum der 18. Dyn. auf Elephantine, PhD thesis, Universität Heidelberg - - 2000 - Bommas, Martin.
  6. ^ 97: Der Tempel des Chnum der 18. Dyn. auf Elephantine, PhD thesis, Universität Heidelberg - - 2000 - Bommas, Martin; 822: Report on the Excavations at Elephantine by the German Archaeological Institute and the Swiss Institute from autumn 2012 to spring 2013 - - - Arnold, Felix, Kopp, Peter, von Pilgrim, Cornelius, Krapf, Tobias, Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes, Dijkstra, Jitse, Katzjäger, Denise, Abd el-Latif, Mohamed, Neef, Reinder, Podsiadlowski, Viola; 666: Report on the Excavations at Elephantine by the German Archaeological Institute and the Swiss Institute from autumn 2013 to spring 2014 - - 2014 - Seidlmayer, Stephan, Arnold, Felix, Kopp, Peter, von Pilgrim, Cornelius, Budka, Julia, Krapf, Tobias, Perkins, Tyler, Schröder, Marie-Kristin, Schultz, Michael.
  7. ^ 97: Der Tempel des Chnum der 18. Dyn. auf Elephantine, PhD thesis, Universität Heidelberg - - 2000 - Bommas, Martin.
  8. ^ 97: Der Tempel des Chnum der 18. Dyn. auf Elephantine, PhD thesis, Universität Heidelberg - - 2000 - Bommas, Martin.
  9. ^ 97: Der Tempel des Chnum der 18. Dyn. auf Elephantine, PhD thesis, Universität Heidelberg - - 2000 - Bommas, Martin.
  10. ^ 97: Der Tempel des Chnum der 18. Dyn. auf Elephantine, PhD thesis, Universität Heidelberg - - 2000 - Bommas, Martin.
  11. ^ 97: Der Tempel des Chnum der 18. Dyn. auf Elephantine, PhD thesis, Universität Heidelberg - - 2000 - Bommas, Martin.
  12. ^ 97: Der Tempel des Chnum der 18. Dyn. auf Elephantine, PhD thesis, Universität Heidelberg - - 2000 - Bommas, Martin.
  13. ^ 97: Der Tempel des Chnum der 18. Dyn. auf Elephantine, PhD thesis, Universität Heidelberg - - 2000 - Bommas, Martin.
  14. ^ 97: Der Tempel des Chnum der 18. Dyn. auf Elephantine, PhD thesis, Universität Heidelberg - - 2000 - Bommas, Martin.
  15. ^ 97: Der Tempel des Chnum der 18. Dyn. auf Elephantine, PhD thesis, Universität Heidelberg - - 2000 - Bommas, Martin.
  16. ^ 97: Der Tempel des Chnum der 18. Dyn. auf Elephantine, PhD thesis, Universität Heidelberg - - 2000 - Bommas, Martin.
  17. ^ 823: Report on the Excavations at Elephantine by the German Archaeological Institute and the Swiss Institute from autumn 2011 to spring 2012 - - 2012 - Arnold, Felix, Kopp, Peter, von Pilgrim, Cornelius, Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes, Katzjäger, Denise, Rzeuska, Teodozja I..
  18. ^ 666: Report on the Excavations at Elephantine by the German Archaeological Institute and the Swiss Institute from autumn 2013 to spring 2014 - - 2014 - Seidlmayer, Stephan, Arnold, Felix, Kopp, Peter, von Pilgrim, Cornelius, Budka, Julia, Krapf, Tobias, Perkins, Tyler, Schröder, Marie-Kristin, Schultz, Michael.
  19. ^ 666: Report on the Excavations at Elephantine by the German Archaeological Institute and the Swiss Institute from autumn 2013 to spring 2014 - - 2014 - Seidlmayer, Stephan, Arnold, Felix, Kopp, Peter, von Pilgrim, Cornelius, Budka, Julia, Krapf, Tobias, Perkins, Tyler, Schröder, Marie-Kristin, Schultz, Michael.
  20. ^ 666: Report on the Excavations at Elephantine by the German Archaeological Institute and the Swiss Institute from autumn 2013 to spring 2014 - - 2014 - Seidlmayer, Stephan, Arnold, Felix, Kopp, Peter, von Pilgrim, Cornelius, Budka, Julia, Krapf, Tobias, Perkins, Tyler, Schröder, Marie-Kristin, Schultz, Michael.
  21. ^ 638: Stadt und Tempel von Elephantine. Dritter Grabungsbericht - - - Kaiser, Werner, Grossmann, Peter, Jaritz, Horst, Stadelmann, Rainer, Haeny, Gerhard, Bidoli, Dino.
  22. ^ 705: Stadt und Tempel von Elephantine. 21./22. Grabungsbericht - - - Kaiser, Werner, Jaritz, Horst, Bommas, Martin, Ziermann, Martin, Hoffmann, Friedhelm, Becker, Peter, Müntel, Sven, Pätznick, Jean-Pierre.
  23. ^ 56: Denkmäler aus Aegypten und Aethiopien III - - 1972 - Lepsius, Carl Richard.
  24. ^ 795: Deux Stèles d'Aménophis II (Stèles d'Amada et d'Élephantine) - - 1925 - Kuentz, Charles; 97: Der Tempel des Chnum der 18. Dyn. auf Elephantine, PhD thesis, Universität Heidelberg - - 2000 - Bommas, Martin.
  25. ^ 779: Elephantine VIII. Der Tempel der Satet. Die Funde - - 1986 - Dreyer, Günter.
  26. ^ 70: The Monuments of Senenmut: Problems in Historical Methodology - Kegan Paul International - 1988 - Dorman, Peter F..
  27. ^ 591: An Inscription at Aswān Referring to Six Obelisks - - - Habachi, Labib; 97: Der Tempel des Chnum der 18. Dyn. auf Elephantine, PhD thesis, Universität Heidelberg - - 2000 - Bommas, Martin.
  28. ^ 822: Report on the Excavations at Elephantine by the German Archaeological Institute and the Swiss Institute from autumn 2012 to spring 2013 - - - Arnold, Felix, Kopp, Peter, von Pilgrim, Cornelius, Krapf, Tobias, Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes, Dijkstra, Jitse, Katzjäger, Denise, Abd el-Latif, Mohamed, Neef, Reinder, Podsiadlowski, Viola.
  29. ^ 97: Der Tempel des Chnum der 18. Dyn. auf Elephantine, PhD thesis, Universität Heidelberg - - 2000 - Bommas, Martin.
  30. ^ 822: Report on the Excavations at Elephantine by the German Archaeological Institute and the Swiss Institute from autumn 2012 to spring 2013 - - - Arnold, Felix, Kopp, Peter, von Pilgrim, Cornelius, Krapf, Tobias, Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes, Dijkstra, Jitse, Katzjäger, Denise, Abd el-Latif, Mohamed, Neef, Reinder, Podsiadlowski, Viola; 666: Report on the Excavations at Elephantine by the German Archaeological Institute and the Swiss Institute from autumn 2013 to spring 2014 - - 2014 - Seidlmayer, Stephan, Arnold, Felix, Kopp, Peter, von Pilgrim, Cornelius, Budka, Julia, Krapf, Tobias, Perkins, Tyler, Schröder, Marie-Kristin, Schultz, Michael.

Jadwiga Iwaszczuk

Exploration

Mission(s) working on the site: The Excavations at Elephantine by the German Archaeological Institute and the Swiss Institute of Architectural and Archaeological Research on Ancient Egypt in Cairo

Objects:

Bibliography: