Recent work in the Mut Temple Precinct – Richard Fazzini
The Brooklyn team have been working on the history of the site as a whole and the work is divided between two teams Brooklyn at the front and John Hopkins at the back. The current boundary wall is a 15th dynasty one and does not reflect the size of the temple in the 18th dynasty when it was much smaller.
Temple A is to the left of the main temple was built by Amenhotep III; it has scenes of the royal circumcision and was converted into a Mamisi or birth house. Temple B is on the same side but further south. Temple C is the temple built by Rameses III
There was an alabaster shrine built by Amenhotep II which was reused by Ramses to make stele in front of the mud brick pylon at the Mut temple. It was broken in 3 parts and weighed 44 metric tons. This has now been reconstructed and is the first shrine inside the Open Air Museum at Karnak between two reconstructed obelisks. Before it was moved the team tunnelled underneath in order to record the inscription. It talks about a Temple of Millions of Years and I made great the temple of my father, the name comes from this inscription
The temple built by Ramses II (and possible Amenhotep III) shows a Year 37 and designation Millions of Years, so it seems to have been a popular spot for a temple of Millions of Years.
There is a lot of roman period pottery. They have found 3 rooms with vaulted roof similar to those at the Ramasseum. There is debris containing stele, late Ptolemaic or poss. early Roman (Tiberius). A mud brick and baked brick ‘bath tub’ but with no bottom. Some large pots which contain …….. other pots!! 52 coins Ptolemaic/early Roman up until 4th century late Roman. They also found some leaf shaped bowls which were really pretty.
William peck is a member of the teams and has been heavily involved in mapping the various levels. (Dr Fazzini also expressed a huge debt of gratitude to the Egyptian members of the team). There is a raised area for the barque of the King.
The plan is to raise the Sekemet statues on pedestals, out of the dirt and to protect them from debris falling of the mud brick pylon by building a retaining wall. The want to remove the existing mastabas which are being used for storage in order to make the temple more accessible.
There are masses of Sekemet statues there are both Sekemet united with Mut and Sekemet linked with Mut statues and belong to Amenhotep III. There is a statue inscribed with a very strong ‘Keep out message’ and also a standing Sekemet which was restored this year.
They have also worked on the restoration of the so called Lepius gateway. The foundations were rotten and have been replaced and then it has been rebuilt. The have found loads of inscribed blocks which have been reused and where ever possible have replaced these so the inscription shows.
There a variety of sphinxes at the temple and they have managed to restore many of these. Including very recently one that was buried on its side and in poor condition. This had to be drilled and bolts put through with epoxy to stabilise the statue. A new base has been built and this was completed just last week. The statue is covered with what look lappets and are actually representations of the ‘rasta like locks that these rams’ coats develop into. One the reasons for moving this statue was that 20 years ago Richard found pieces of limestone under the statue and wanted to see if there were more. (Fancy having to wait 20 years).
The SCA have dug up blocks from chapel D and this has started to be put together. There are some relief’s of what look like Mut and Sekemet but are actually Mut and Neferru a goddess of nubile women in temple A. and as this became a Mamisi it makes sense to have her here as well as a chapel for women.
There is also a block of Hathor on two opposing faces and the other sides being lotus and papyrus plants.
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March 5th, 2006