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Egypt: The Other Temples on the West Bank at Thebes, Part IV


The Other Temples on the West Bank at Thebes in Egypt, Part IV

by Jimmy Dunn writing as Mark Andrews

This series of articles cover minor temple ruins on the West Bank at Luxor (Ancient Thebes). In part one of this series, we briefly investigated the ruins of the Temples belonging to Amenhotep I, Amenhotep II, Siptah, the Colonnaded Temple of Ramesses IV, the Ramessid Temple, the Chapel of the White Queen and the private temple of Nebwenenef. We also listed, with links, the major temples on the West Bank at Thebes. In part two of this series, we explored the temples of Ramesses IV (mortuary), Amenophis son of Hapu, Tuthmosis II, and the North and South temples at Nag Kom Lolah. In part three of this series, we examined the temples of Deir el-Medina, including the Temple of Amenhotep I, the Hathor Chapel of Seti I, the Ptolemaic Temple of Hathor, and a small Temple of Amun. In part four, the final article in this series, we will examine the Temple of Tuthmosis III just to the south of the entrance to Deir el-Bahri, and the temples of Tuya and Nefertari, Tuthmosis IV, Wadjmose and Siptah and Tausert (Tawasret). All but the Temple of Tuthmosis III are very near the Ramesseum.


Tuthmosis III
Tuthmosis III built his mortuary temple just south of the entrance to Deir el-Bahri on the West Bank at Luxor. He apparently began the temple early in his reign, probably while he was still under the regency of Hatshepsut. It was most likely also built prior to his memorial related temple within the Amun temple complex at Karnak. It was called Henkhet-Ankh, or "Offering-Life". Originally excavated early in the 20th century, neither that effort, nor a later investigation provided much information about the temple complex.

We know that the enclosure walls of the temple complex were partly cut from the rock of the area and finished off with mudbrick. We believe it also contained a number of Osiride columns (pillars) and a chapel dedicated to Hathor. Interestingly, the sanctuary had a vaulted ceiling decorated with the hours of the day and night, normally found in royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings. The sanctuary also featured a false door, set in the rear wall, and dedicated in the king's name. Some investigators have also suggested that the temple had a court with an altar to the sun god.

Ground Plan of the Temple of Tuthmosis III

Tuya and Nefertari
The temple of Tuya and Nefertari basically adjoins the northern side of the main Ramesseum temple. Though an earlier chapel may have stood on this site, the more modern temple was dedicated to the mother and great royal wife of Ramesses II. Apparently the pharaoh Hakoris, who ruled during Egypt's Late Period, destroyed the temple, but enough of the ruins survived to determine the basic floor plan. It apparently had a bipartite design reflecting its dual dedication.

Tuthmosis IV
Just a little to the southwest of the Ramesseum, the mortuary temple of Tuthmosis IV is fronted by two pylons which opens into narrow courts and a portico. The portico has one row of pillars and another row of columns. Beyond the portico was a hypostyle court, which in turn lead to a transverse hall and then the inner sanctuary and its adjoining rooms and storage annexes.

This temple is notable because it seems to have served as a model for the temples built by Tuthmosis IV's successor, Amenhotep III. Both Amenhotep III's mortuary temple and the core area of the Luxor Temple both appear to follow the general design of Tuthmosis IV's temple.

Plan of the Temple of Tuthmosis IV

Wadjmose
The temple of Wadjmose is a very small temple located between the Ramesseum and the temple of Tuthmosis IV. It was a temple built during the 18th dynasty. Wadjmose was a son of Tuthmosis I. However, some Egyptologists, and notably Stephen Quirke, have suggested that the structure may actually have been built by Tuthmosis I himself. Though a few blocks, stele and fragments of statues have been found at this site, little else is known about the history of this temple.

Ruins of the Temple of Wadjmose

Siptah and Tausret
The temple of Siptah and Tausert ( Tawasret) lies between the temple of Tuthmosis IV and the mortuary temple of Merenptah. It is completely destroyed, and hardly anything is known of the structure. Almost nothing has been found at this site, with the exception of a few jar fragments and small stone faience plaques.

References:


Title

Author

Date

Publisher

Reference Number

Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt, The

Wilkinson, Richard H.

2000

Thames and Hudson, Ltd

ISBN 0-500-05100-3

Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, The

Shaw, Ian

2000

Oxford University Press

ISBN 0-19-815034-2

Thebes in Egypt: A Guide to the Tombs and Temples of Ancient Luxor

Strudwick, Nigel & Helen

1999

Cornell University Press

ISBN 0 8014 8616 5

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