Friday, 2 March 2012

Loose blocks from Osirian chapels

Loose blocks from Osirian chapels
Great début lecture from Jeremy Hourdin (more info here He used French translations of the Egyptian names and I have put them in English with the help of my trusty TIP by Kitchen as my French is useless. E.g. Chepenoupet = Shepenwepet
He was talking about blocks that have been recovered and their place at Karnak. Some blocks were from Sphinx Avenue and others from the Bubastis gate.
Sphinx Avenue Blocks
17 blocks have been discovered in the excavations in Sphinx Alley that are part of a chapel of the 25/26th dynasty. They refer the Shepenwepet (daughter of Piankhy) who was a contemporary of Taharqa. She was adopted by Amenirdis I (daughter of Kashta). She was a God’s wife of Amun 690-664BC.
There are a number of chapels to Osiris that were built by her at Karnak during this period such as Osiris Nebankh and Osiris Ounnefer who is in the Ishat(persea) tree and another chapel at Medinet Habu and possible still other chapels (at Medamud) that have been destroyed. Where do these recently discovered blocks come from?
Blocks 15 and 16 can be identified as being at the bottom of a row of text and they have identifiable architecture. There is a chapel Osiris Padedankh with similar architecture which was excavated by Robichon in the 1950’s which was published in Karnak Nord IV. Located near the temple of Montu in Karnak North it is the same style Barguet, P. and Leclant, Jean published a plan with Hathoric columns. No king appears in the chapel. It is possible the Sphinx Avenue blocks come from this chapel and he showed where they could fit on the decoration at the front. It is quite clever how from just a few glyphs he could identify the text that they were the finishing signs for. Blocks 9 and 10 must have come from an inner door and he has identified where they would fit in the plan in an inner chapel with the help of another block that he found in front of the first pylon. Block 13 has part of two scenes and there is only one place where that would fir which is the back wall of the shrine.
This chapel was thought to be located at Karnak as all the blocks were found there but now with blocks from the same chapel found in sphinx alley and the front of Karnak he re-evaluated that assumption. However he still believes that the location was Karnak North as there are other 25th dynasty structures there. There was minimal Nubian influence and it seems to have been more to glorify Shepenwepet. The other chapel Osiris Ounnefer who is in the Ishat(persea) tree also seems to have this purpose.

Southern Bubastis Gate
This flowed on very nicely from last week. Old photos show that the gateway originally had a screen wall that was built during the Ptolemaic period of reused blocks. Legrains photos of 1917 show the screen wall in place. Chevrier did some restoration in that area in 1937 and photos of 1947 show the screen wall missing. Jeremy wanted to identify where these blocks were as they also seem to be part of these chapels. He found some, in very poor condition pilled in a heap close to the gate; some 30% of certain blocks had disappeared, the sandstone block reverting back to sand after prolonged contact with the damp ground. These have now been rescued and placed on mastabas.
There has been a project to scan all old photos and he has been studying these and identifying blocks that he thinks are from the chapels and whether he can still find them. The blocks in this gate are from an unknown chapel to a God’s wife of Amun, but he does not know which one. In the excavations at the front of Karnak Salah has found a block as well. So the 25th and 26th dynasty had several more chapels which means we have yet to
• Understand the cult of Osiris
• Karnak temple during the 25th and 26th dynasty
• The relationship between the 25th and 26th dynasty

No lecture this Sunday because of the Amenhotep III conference

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