Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahri – Zbigniew Szafranski

The Highlights of the Recent Results of the Polish-Egyptian Archaeological and Conservation Mission of the Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahri – Zbigniew Szafranski

The temple is a very unique site, indeed it is a UNESCO site. The Poles have been working there since 1961 following in the footsteps of the Americans who followed the British. Their work has concentrated on the upper terrace.

The main sanctuary had a name change from Neferere the daughter of Hatshepsut to Ahmose the mother of Hatshepsut when Neferere disappeared from the historical record in the 11th year.

Wooden butterfly joints joined many of the large blocks

The main shrine is important for our knowledge Amen Re

The barque shrine was destroyed by Akhenaton and restored by Horemheb who left evidence with the cryptographic version of his name.

The second room shows the purification of the statues by Tuthmosis III and Hatshepsut. Hatshepsut is show as a king in the 2nd year of the joint reign not the 7th as some scholars have said.

The depiction of Hatshepsut was destroyed but is still visible as it was done with chisels faithfully following the outline.

There was lots of black soot and when this was removed it showed Hatshepsut with a red skin. This is very significant as women were traditionally showed with a yellow skin. However Hatshepsut wanted to show herself as a king, which had to be male. (There is a paper on skin tones at Deir el Bahri Andrezi Cweik : Red, Yellow, Pink : Ideology of skin tones).

There are a lot of burial shafts from the 23rd and 25th dynasty. There was an earthquake approx. 1000 BC and lot of temples were destroyed. However these were still perceived as holy places and suitable for a necropolis.

Inside the main shrine they have done a lot of restoration in high relief , from just a few pieces because it was known exactly what they were part of the rest of the decoration can be derived. He showed an example of sema-tawy ( usually translated as "The Uniter of the Two Lands" and was depicted as a human trachea entwined with the papyrus and lily plant. The trachea stood for unification, while the papyrus and lily plant represent Lower and Upper Egypt). And another restoration was of the sister of Hatshepsut who died young Nefrubity.

The inner rooms had windows and between 28th Jan and 6th Feb the rising sun would light up the statue in the sanctuary. We do not know the exact date as we don’t have the statue to fix the date,

It was found that the limestone structure had moved by 1 mm and this is being closely monitored and replacement plaster has been used to seal the cracks..

They are using electronic/digital methods to document, hundreds of photos are taken and then these are ‘stitched; together to produce documentation of the whole

The glyphs around the niche identify the temple as the millions of years but it had many other functions. There is also a sun court and worship of the royal Ka. In the sun court three niches were originally planned with the third niche being dedicated Ahmed the mother. But this was changed to a chapel dedicated to Anubis

Much use was made of Hatshepsut’s cryptographic name and when Tuthmosis II removed her name this was left.

Queens were very important and get a lot of mention similar to Queens to the 17th dynasty like Tetishri. So Tuthmosis I is shown with his mother and Hatshepsut with her mother. Neferere was planned to be the next queen but her early disappearance (death?) meant Tuthmosis III took over. (Tuthmosis then restricted the importance of women and during his reign the Gods Wives of Amun disappeared as a title.)

In the North West corner a part of the temple looks very Greek in style with its columns. During this time there were immigration of styles, there are 280 columns and pillars in the temple a completely different style to the Old Kingdom structures

The lower Anubis chapel had a degree of movement also the Hathor chapel. Iron frame works had to be constructed to protect the structure and make it stable

Hatshepsut disappeared in the 21st year (death?)

The colossus has been incorrectly reconstructed so they are taking it apart and redoing it.

The have left the entrance to one Third Intermediate Period burial visible.

They intend to reconstruct the sphinxes avenue, after being missing for 80 years the fragments were located in the wooden boxes in the tomb of Harwa

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