Monday, February 8, 2010
Excavated by Ambrose Lansing of the Metropolitan Museum during a season spanning from 1916 into 1917, the Temple of Amun is unusual in that it provides a reasonably well-preserved example of a temple dating to the New Kingdom, which was constructed primarily of mud brick. The Temple of Amun and its accompanying storerooms to the north mark the northernmost extent of the site, insofar as it has been excavated. Based on the dated evidence of more than 1,400 hieratic jar dockets deposited just outside of the wall of the temple, it was constructed for the second jubilee festival of Amenhotep III; its ancient name, “the House of Amun in the Place of Rejoicing,” also confirms its festive nature.
The temple itself is composed of a large, open court leading to a raised sanctuary area. The sanctuaries are long and narrow, more reminiscent of storerooms than of temple chapels, but, again, the evidence of the ancient name of the structure confirms its identification as the house of the god, and, therefore, as a temple. In order for the sanctuary area to be elevated above the surrounding desert surface, the rooms were constructed using what is now termed casemate construction: sand and pebbles were used to fill rectangular compartments built of mud brick to the desired floor height, and then mud brick floors were laid on top. One of the tasks for this season is to produce a brick-by-brick plan of the temple, and especially of those areas in which the mud brick floor is still preserved. So today, Catharine and I (and a small crew of great workmen) started sweeping the dirt and pebbles that have accumulated on the surface since the temple first was excavated, in anticipation of the arrival of our architect and surveyor next week.