Sehel (Sṯjt)

island

Location

Sehel island is located in the Nile, in the region of the first cataract, on the south of Aswan. The remains of human activity are concentrated in its south-western part where three rocky hills: Hussein togog, Bibi togog and Mussein togog encircle the wadi leading to the modern village. The narrow passage from the wadi to the south shore comes between Hussein togog and Bibi togog.

Description

The Sehel Island is very little examined. The only remains of human activity during the New Kingdom are attested so far at the southwest corner of the island. Only graffiti left on rocks in two groups are attested to the reign of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III. The first group is formed by two graffiti situated on the west shore of the island. The place is very carefully chosen, in the same location earlier graffiti were incised. The graffito no. SEH 242[1] records digging of the canal in 50th year of Tutmose III. In the very close vicinity, two other graffiti were found, providing the same information referring to different rulers: Senwosret III[2] and Thutmose I[3]. In the case of Senwosret III and Thutmose III the reason given for digging of the canal was a military expedition to the south. The only graffito carved there and dated to the reign of Hatshepsut was done for her official, bearing, among others, the titles of the Seal-Bearer of the King, the Sole Companion and the Overseer of Seal-bearers and Booty, whose name was Ty.[4] The man recalls in the text defeating of Nubians and calls himself the royal messenger. The official of Hatshepsut was in this place with similar purpose to those that forced the people of Senwosret III and Thutmose I to come to Sehel Island. Holding the office of the Overseer of Seal-bearers and Booty of the punitive expedition, he most probably describes the past events, i.e. he is on his way back. The canal repaired by Thutmose I was transient at that time, the aim remained the same: to secure the way back from the south.

Another group of graffiti dated to the reign of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III was located in the places traditionally used for this purpose.[5] Most of them[6] belong to one man who clearly visited the place several times. His name was Amen-hetep and he held functions of the First Prophet of Khnum, Anuket and Satet[7] and the First Prophet of Anuket.[8] The inscription of his son Amen-em-hat, the First Prophet of Anuket, was found on the east slope of Bibi togog.[9] The titles of Amen-hetep suggest that he was associated with the temple of Khnum at Elephantine and probably with the cult place at Sehel as well. This connection of two places in the hands of one priest can result from their ritual relationships and especially the organisation of the festival of Anuket during which the procession from Elephantine visited Sehel. The slopes of Hussein togog and Bibi togog could accommodate a group of people enjoying the feast and watching the procession from a distance. It can be confirmed by the graffito incised on the rock of Bibi togog and dated to the reign of Sebekhotep III, the first of the two preserved on the island which mention the festival of Anuket.[10] The other inscription is dated to Amenhotep II and was carved on the rock of Ras Sehel, opposite the entrance of the passage to the wadi from the south.[11] Apart from inscriptions commissioned by clergy, only one graffito from the reign of Hatshepsut was left. It belonged to the King's Son and the Overseer of the Southern Country, Amen-em-nekhu and was incised on the slope of Bibi togog. It is possible that this man also appeared there on the occasion of the feast of Anuket. The destination of the procession is unknown, only remains of a small chapel of Amenhotep II survived at the top of Hussein togog at Sehel.[12] It seems that the festival procession came from Elephantine on boats and reached the island from the east side, then nailed to the shore from the south visited the island and at the end departed from it on the west through the canal cleaned by Thutmose I.

Footnotes

  1. ^ 203: Les inscriptions de Séhel - Institut français d'archéologie orientale - 2007 - Gasse, Annie, Rondot, Vincent.
  2. ^ 203: Les inscriptions de Séhel - Institut français d'archéologie orientale - 2007 - Gasse, Annie, Rondot, Vincent.
  3. ^ 203: Les inscriptions de Séhel - Institut français d'archéologie orientale - 2007 - Gasse, Annie, Rondot, Vincent.
  4. ^ 203: Les inscriptions de Séhel - Institut français d'archéologie orientale - 2007 - Gasse, Annie, Rondot, Vincent.
  5. ^ 203: Les inscriptions de Séhel - Institut français d'archéologie orientale - 2007 - Gasse, Annie, Rondot, Vincent.
  6. ^ 203: Les inscriptions de Séhel - Institut français d'archéologie orientale - 2007 - Gasse, Annie, Rondot, Vincent.
  7. ^ 203: Les inscriptions de Séhel - Institut français d'archéologie orientale - 2007 - Gasse, Annie, Rondot, Vincent.
  8. ^ 606: Two Graffiti at Sehēl from the Reign of Queen Hatshepsut - - - Habachi, Labib; 203: Les inscriptions de Séhel - Institut français d'archéologie orientale - 2007 - Gasse, Annie, Rondot, Vincent.
  9. ^ 203: Les inscriptions de Séhel - Institut français d'archéologie orientale - 2007 - Gasse, Annie, Rondot, Vincent.
  10. ^ 64: Catalogue des monuments et inscriptions de l’Égypte antique I: De la frontière de Nubie à Kom Ombos - - 1894 - Legrain, Georges, Barsanti, Alexandre, de Morgan, Jacques, Bouriant, Urbain, Jéquier, Gustave; 798: Graffito of the Chamberlain and Controller of Works Antef at Sehēl - - - Habachi, Labib; 203: Les inscriptions de Séhel - Institut français d'archéologie orientale - 2007 - Gasse, Annie, Rondot, Vincent.
  11. ^ 64: Catalogue des monuments et inscriptions de l’Égypte antique I: De la frontière de Nubie à Kom Ombos - - 1894 - Legrain, Georges, Barsanti, Alexandre, de Morgan, Jacques, Bouriant, Urbain, Jéquier, Gustave; 604: The Graffiti and Work of the Viceroy of Kush in the Region of Aswan - - - Habachi, Labib; 203: Les inscriptions de Séhel - Institut français d'archéologie orientale - 2007 - Gasse, Annie, Rondot, Vincent.
  12. ^ 806: Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs, and Paintings II. Theban Temples, 2nd ed. - - 1972 - Porter, Bertha, Moss, Rosalind L.B.; 798: Graffito of the Chamberlain and Controller of Works Antef at Sehēl - - - Habachi, Labib; 604: The Graffiti and Work of the Viceroy of Kush in the Region of Aswan - - - Habachi, Labib.

Jadwiga Iwaszczuk

Exploration

Ancient people connected to the site: Amen-hetep , Amen-em-nekhu ,

Bibliography:

  • Gasse Annie, Rondot Vincent, Les inscriptions de Séhel, Mémoires publiés par les membres de l'Institut français d'archéologie orientale 126, Le Caire 2007, 127-128, 131-136, 479-482