Posted by: iMalqata Blog | February 14, 2017

A Picture of the Palace?

Peter Lacovara

One of the most interesting places in Luxor is the “Open Air Museum” at Karnak. This is where a number of blocks and even whole temples that were reused in the fill of later structures have been put on display. A recent addition is a famous block that may be a representation of Amenhotep III’s palace at Malqata. This block was found, along with a number of others depicting structures in a desert landscape, underneath the large statue inscribed for the Priest-king Painedjem I in the first court of the Temple of Amun at Karnak. It is thought that these blocks may have come originally from Kom el-Hettan, the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III in Western Thebes.


Block from Karnak possibly depicting Amenhotep III’s palace at Malqata

The block has recently been studied by Aude Gräzer Ohara, who has identified it as a palace at Malqata with a series of paired hills, which she has suggested represent the mounds of the Birket Habu.


Drawing of the block depicting a palace and the Birket Habu mounds

Shown in front of the palace are a corral with cattle, a zoo with antelope, a garden with a square pond, and a vineyard. The palace is shown with a “Window of Appearance,” where the king and queen would appear to a select audience, not unlike the balcony at Buckingham Palace. The window is shown in the upper story of the palace, with columned rooms and storerooms below. Outside stands a buttressed wall and beyond, pens with lions and possibly a food storage facility.


Modern interpretation of Akhenaten and Nefertiti at a Window of Appearance

It is a matter of debate as to whether this is the palace we are working in, an earlier structure, or one somewhere else at Malqata. In any event, it provides an interesting glimpse into how this palace looked in the eyes of contemporary Egyptians.



  1. Hi Peter, I enjoy following the posts. I dont know if you got my email but we are going to New York this week to
    visit our son who is working there. What are the Egyptology highlights ? Best wishes, Tina

    • HI TINA! How long are you in the ‘States? I’m back March 1st. You should go to the Metropolitan Museum of course, and the Brooklyn Museum also has a great Egyptian collection. And there is the obelisk in Central Park behind the Metropolitan. Hope to see you, soon!



      • Thanks we will definitely visit those places. We are only in NY till Feb. 28. Hope the dig goes well, will Salima be joining you ? Best wishes, Tina

      • Salima is here and says hello.

      • Hi Peter Greetings to you and Salima too. I hope the season was a success. Where are you based now and what are you doing ? We had a great time in NY, not enough in the way of Egyptology but we paid our respects to the column outside the Met, I love the crab claws that the Romans added. Best wishes, Tina

  2. Peter,
    Do you visit sometimes the Valley of the Queens?

    • No, it is pretty far from where we are working.

  3. Thanks for including my painting! That one is based on a line drawing in The rock tombs of El-Amarna by Davies. -Anneke

    • Thank you- we’ll put in a credit!

  4. Peter Lacovara, very interesting note. Do you have a cite for Aude Gräzer Ohara’s article (I presume) on the block depicting the palace at Malqata?

    • The reference is:
      “Le palais des monts sur un bloc de remploi de Karnak : marou d’Amon et/ou complexe jubilaire d’Amenhotep III à Malqata?” BIFAO 112

      We will post a copy in the reports section.

      • Great one! Will be looking for that (when you post it). I am specially interested in the garden, on which trees, bushes or other plants might be possible to identify there. Thank you!

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