Saturday, 28 February 2009

Mummfication Museum lecture - Osiris Chapels Karnak

Excavations and Epigraphic work in the Osiris chapels to the North of the great hypostyle hall at Karnak Dr Laurent Coulon

He wishes to propose a new interpretation that after the New Kingdom Osiris became more important and there were specific chapels for specific functions of Osiris. From 21st dynasty to early Roman times. Every sanctuary claimed that they were the tomb of Osiris. Osiris of Koptos has a chapel at the back of the Amun temple. The temple of Opet celebrates the birth and rebirth of Osiris built in 25 dynasty by Taharka and Ptolemy VIII. A papyrus in the Louvre mentions various festivals.

During the 25th 26th dynasty there was another processional way from the Amun temple to the Ptah temple and these chapels are along this way. There are 3 chapels named Osiris Master of Life, Osiris Maters of Food and Osiris Master of Eternity. They were erected by the God’s wives of Amun in 1570-1526. There is evidence of Ankhnesneferbre see sarcophagus British Museum EA32 and JE36907 a stele. Her official Sheshonk has tomb TT27 which is a big tomb as he is a big man. Like Senemut is to Hatshepsut.

Wennefer Master of Food was partial excavated by Antony Harris and le Grand. They started in 2000. There is a ramp to the first door, then a hypostyle hall, second door and finally the Naos. Excavation of the surrounding mudbrick walls has given them a plan of 95% of the structure. In 2005 the found a service room dating 4th century BC which they are trying to clarify the function of. They also found inscribed blocks of Ammenemes offering Maat in the foundations which indicate that this was a religious site in the early New Kingdom. There is evidence that the structure was destroyed by fire in 25th dynasty and this could possibly be the Persian invasion. Also remains of copper and coins indicate there was possibly a Ptolemaic mint.

The chapel was rebuilt with 26 dynasty blocks. They have being trying to reconstruct the chapel with the scattered blocks in the area. Foundation blocks have a star pattern indicating clearance of the chapel in 30th dynasty, There is use to a very unusual title Amun p3 nfr shr the one whose places are perfect. In the chapel there are the same scenes in Seti I temple at Abydos showing the fetish of Abydos. This was a reliquary of the head of Osiris but not throughout history and is frequently pictured in temples at Abydos. There is a 3rd Intermediate Period private statue JE 36967 which shows Ptah Sokar onside and the fetish of Abydos on the other. In TT158 there is the same scene. Surrounded by 4 spitting fire cobras. Also see BM808. In the Salt Papyrus it mentions 4 flame goddesses.

There is no trace of the fetish and it was probably destroyed by Persians in 525 BC. However the cache of bronze objects JE35107 which he believes decorated this chapel. They found 5 Osiris statues in the foundations.

Louvre object N3958 shows the process of the fetish UC14409 the Ear Stele also shows fetish.

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