Parts of Egyptian reliefs identified as remains of Pharaonic temple

Numerous carved blocks covered with Egyptian hieroglyphs being stored in a museum warehouse were identified by an archaeologists as remains of temple belonging to Thutmose I (1504-1492 BC), a Pharaoh of the 3rd dynasty (1549/1550-1292 BC).

Remains of the temple in Gurna (by Jadwiga Iwaszczuk)

The decorative block fragments were found in a warehouse of Egypt’s Ministry of State of Antiquities located at the necropolis in Thebes near Luxor. Polish archaeologists investigating the temple of Hatshepsut have stumbled upon them accidentally while looking for potential elements of this structure. The ancient blocks were stored since 1970 after being excavated by an Egyptian archaeologist, and were identified as potential remains of a temple from Hatshepsut’s time, but a closer analysis revealed that they originated from Thutmose I’s temple.

Base of a statue that helped the identification (by Jadwiga Iwaszczuk)

The main evidence was provided by hieroglyphs covering the blocks, which contained the name of the temple, translated as “United with life“. This structure has been known from written historic sources and now was found in writing on one of the blocks. The building of the temple was discovered near the temple of another Pharaoh, Thutmose III, but so far has been wrongly identified.

Part of the architrave of the temple (by Jadwiga Iwaszczuk)

The temple was build for Thutmose I by order of his daughter Hatshepsut. It was built with sandstone and limestone blocks which is not typical for the area, as for instance the monumental temple of Hatshepsut in Deir el-Bahari is was built only from limestone. According to archaeologists, all supports elements of the walls of the temple were made from sandstone and the filling and inner walls out of limestone. The temple was rebuilt in later centuries and there is evidence that king Thutmose I was still worshipped in the times of Ramesses IX (12th cent. BC).

Part of a gateway of the temple (by Jadwiga Iwaszczuk)

So far archaeologists managed to document around 7500 stone blocks stored in the warehouse and reconstruct some of the scenes they depicted. Among them is one of the earliest depictions of a chariot battle known from the whole ancient Egypt. Archaeologists are working to reconstruct more decorations that once covered the inside of the enormous temple.

Reconstructed fragment of a chariot battle scene (by Jadwiga Iwaszczuk)

(after Jadwiga Iwaszczuk & Nauka w Polsce)

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