Speos Artemidos (unknown)

rock shrine

Location

Nome: 16th Upper Egyptian nome

Geographical coordinates: 27º54´N / 30º51´E

Modern Istabl Antar is situated on the east bank of the Nile at the southern entrance to Wadi Batn el-Baqara, on its south slope. The wadi was used as a source of limestone during the Middle Kingdom. In the New Kingdom, when limestone stopped to be widely exploited, its function changed and initial part of the quarry was has been turned into a rock shrine. The wadi is wide and its walls descend gently.

Parts

Speos Artemidos: portico 

Description

The area at a distance of about four kilometres between Beni Hassan tombs and to the south of the wadi Batn el-Baqara had been functioning as a quarry long time before the shrine Speos Artemidos was hewn.[1] The regular exploitation of the southern district and on both slopes of the wadi was carried out during the Old and Middle Kingdoms[2] and the front part of the shrine together with the portico show traces of exploitation in these periods. On the south of the estuary of the wadi as well as in the wadi itself, a rock-cut necropolis dated most probably to the Old Kingdom was situated.[3] This means that the testimonies of human activity in the area are well attested in the period prior to the construction of the shrine during the reign of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III.

The small shrine called Speos Artemidos in classical sources, was entirely cut in the limestone rock. It was not mentioned in the Pharaonic sources except for the text preserved in the shrine itself, the people serving there are completely unknown. From the texts preserved on walls of the tombs at Beni Hassan it is known that the cult place of the goddess Pakhet, called there pr PȜḫ.t, existed in the area at least in the Middle Kingdom,[4] but its connection with Speos Artemidos is questionable.

The shrine is oriented North-South and consists of two rooms (see plan): a portico and a sanctuary with a small niche in its rear wall. The floor of the shrine gently rises and is higher in the back part of the sanctuary with two steps leading from the passage to the sanctuary, the ceilings of both rooms is flat. The modern floor of the shrine, according to S. Bickel and L. Chappaz, is not the original one, the traces of a staircase in the corridor suggest its lowering of about 80cm.[5] The shrine displays many features of irregularity: the shape of the rock above, the distance between pillars, the length of two parts of the south wall, the face of the fourth pillar.[6]

It is generally accepted[7] that the shrine was described by Hatshepsut among many other constructions: "I have made her temple, by the order [of this goddess], 21for her Ennead. Its doors were made of the acacia-wood banded with copper so that [they] might be [in it. Her festival offering] were made 22according to its timing and the wab-priests knew the right time for it."[8] This description appears immediately after the epithets of Pakhet "who traverses the valleys (ḫns.t jn.wt)" and "who resides in the East (ḥr.t-jb jȝbtt)" which means that this fragment can refer not to the shrine in the wadi but to the main temple in the east.

The shrine was left unfinished at the end of the reign of Hatshepsut, which may testify against its early construction. The inside decoration of the passage and the sanctuary was entirely prepared by Seti I,[9] the decoration from the times of Hatshepsut can be observed in the south-eastern part of the portico as well as on the architrave and some pillars.[10] Susan Bickel and Luc Chappaz are of the opinion that the modern shape of the sanctuary results from a considerable intervention of Seti I and that the original architecture was in fact rearranged by this king by adding the corridor, the sanctuary and the niche.[11] It is surprising, since the sanctuary appears to be the most important part of every temple and as such it should be the first decorated part of the cult building. The location and decoration of the door can testify against the theory assigning the execution of the sanctuary to Seti I. S. Bickel and L. Chappaz admit that this door was planned from the beginning as it is raised 2.5-3.0 centimetres above the surface of the wall and located exactly on the axis between two middle pillars II and III.[12] Seti I himself confirmed that the shrine was only renewed (smȜw) by him and the door strengthened.[13]

It appears that the sacred landscape of the area was created during the times of Hatshepsut. The lion-shaped goddess was called in the text on the architrave "the Great Pakhet, who traverses the valleys, who resides in the East, [searched] for 20the roads swept with rain for no libationer was there to present the libations" [Translation by Filip Taterka]. The character of the goddess seems to connect her with the myth of the Distant Goddess[14] and her solar and water relationships emphasised here indicate a strong influence of the New Year ceremonies.

By the description of the goddess the performance of the cult was also established, the epithet of Pakhet seems to be significant, placing her main cult in the East, in the place where until now no temple of that goddess was discovered and showing the route of the procession through the valleys. The creation of the sacred landscape of Wadi Batn el-Bawara, called by Seti I jn.t ds.t[15] was started with hewing a small shrine called Batn el-Baqara in the rock located at the end of the wadi. The early date of this operation is suggested because of the representation of princess Neferu-Ra, which does not appear in Speos Artemidos but was carved in the Batn el-Baqara shrine. Then, shrine Speos Artemidos at the entrance of the wadi was cut in the rock. The date of the construction of the shrine is impossible to establish and the date of the decoration still remains uncertain. Hans Goedicke suggested that the shrine was cut in 7th-8th year of the reign of Thutmose III.[16] It is obvious that it must be dated to the times after the coronation of Hatshepsut, since her full protocol is preserved on the architrave of the portico. However, due to the mention of the land of Punt,[17] as well as the lack of the representation of Neferu-Ra, the decoration of Speos Artemidos has to be dated later, at least after the year 9th of the reign of Thutmose III.[18]

Footnotes

  1. ^ 270: Stones and Quarries in Ancient Egypt - - 2008 - Klemm, Rosemarie, Klemm, Dietrich D..
  2. ^ 270: Stones and Quarries in Ancient Egypt - - 2008 - Klemm, Rosemarie, Klemm, Dietrich D..
  3. ^ 125: Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs, and Paintings IV. Lower and Middle Egypt: Delta and Cairo to Asyûṭ - - 1934 - Porter, Bertha, Moss, Rosalind L.B.; 778: Speos Artemidos - - - Goedicke, Hans; 270: Stones and Quarries in Ancient Egypt - - 2008 - Klemm, Rosemarie, Klemm, Dietrich D..
  4. ^ 825: Beni Hasan. Part I - - 1893 - Newberry, Percy E.; 457: Remarques sur l'architecture du Spéos Artémidos - - - Chappaz, Jean-Luc.
  5. ^ 677: Missions épigraphiques du fonds de l'égyptologie de Genève au Spéos Artémidos - - - Chappaz, Jean-Luc, Bickel, Susanne.
  6. ^ 457: Remarques sur l'architecture du Spéos Artémidos - - - Chappaz, Jean-Luc.
  7. ^ 457: Remarques sur l'architecture du Spéos Artémidos - - - Chappaz, Jean-Luc.
  8. ^ 726: The Speos Artemidos Inscription of Hatshepsut - - - Allen, James P.; translation by Filip Taterka.
  9. ^ 426: Recherches au Spéos Artémidos: fonction et programme 'décoratif' d'un temple rupestre - - - Chappaz, Jean-Luc; 457: Remarques sur l'architecture du Spéos Artémidos - - - Chappaz, Jean-Luc.
  10. ^ 457: Remarques sur l'architecture du Spéos Artémidos - - - Chappaz, Jean-Luc.
  11. ^ 457: Remarques sur l'architecture du Spéos Artémidos - - - Chappaz, Jean-Luc.
  12. ^ 457: Remarques sur l'architecture du Spéos Artémidos - - - Chappaz, Jean-Luc.
  13. ^ 457: Remarques sur l'architecture du Spéos Artémidos - - - Chappaz, Jean-Luc.
  14. ^ 696: Le Spéos Artémidos. Un temple de Pakhet en Moyenne-Égypte - - - Chappaz, Jean-Luc, Bickel, Susanne.
  15. ^ 457: Remarques sur l'architecture du Spéos Artémidos - - - Chappaz, Jean-Luc.
  16. ^ 778: Speos Artemidos - - - Goedicke, Hans.
  17. ^ 726: The Speos Artemidos Inscription of Hatshepsut - - - Allen, James P..
  18. ^ 677: Missions épigraphiques du fonds de l'égyptologie de Genève au Spéos Artémidos - - - Chappaz, Jean-Luc, Bickel, Susanne; 457: Remarques sur l'architecture du Spéos Artémidos - - - Chappaz, Jean-Luc.

Jadwiga Iwaszczuk

Exploration

Explorer/Institution working previously: Susanne Bickel, Jean-Luc Chappaz, Fonds de l'Égyptologie de Genève / Unité d'Égyptologie de l'Université de Gèneve

Bibliography: