The Workman’s path between Deir el Medina and the Valley of the Kings
Due to the fact that Deir el Medina was a relatively secluded community (members of said community had to apply for permission to see family and friends outside of the village area) and the secretive nature of their work in the Valley of the Kings, the workmen required a path to the valley that would lead them there without the knowledge of other people living in the vicinity of the nearby Mortuary temples.
To do this a road between the village of Deir el Medina and the Valley of the Kings was created so that the workmen could continue their work in secret. Along this road are huts in which the workmen would rest if the didn’t make it back to the village by nightfall.
This walk, for modern adventurers, is best done in the early morning to avoid the heat of the day and this is very likely the same time the workmen would have taken this route as their work day began with the sunrise. The workmen would have taken this route 8 days out of 10 as the Ancient Egyptian week was 10 days long, rather than our modern 7 day week.
Mummy of a Greek youth, aged 19-21, named Artemidorus in a cartonnage body-case with mythological decoration in gold leaf and an encaustic on limewood portrait-panel covering the face and inscription on the chest. There is an inscription in Greek on the mummy-case.
Giza is located only a few kilometers south of Cairo, several hundred meters from the last houses in the southernmost part of the city proper, where a limestone cliff rises abruptly from the other side of a sandy desert plateau. The ancient Egyptians called this place imentet, “The West” or kher neter, “the necropolis”.
Though the three Great Pyramids are the most famous and prominent monuments at Giza, the site has actually been a Necropolis almost since the beginning of Pharaonic Egypt. A tomb just on the outskirts of the Giza site dates from the reign of the First Dynasty Pharaoh Wadj (Djet), and jar sealings discovered in a tomb in the southern part of Giza mention the Second Dynasty Pharaoh Ninetjer.
Exactly how big Giza is may never be known. Excavations have continued to find new tombs and artefacts since Bezoni, Caviglia, Perring, and Vyse began the first systematic study of Giza in the early 1800s. It has been explored and excavated more thoroughly than any other site in Egypt, possibly more than any other site in the world, yet no one believes the research is anywhere near complete today.
Fishing and Fowling scene from the tomb of Nebamun
18th Dynasty, New Kingdom
Fragment of a polychrome tomb-painting representing Nebamun, standing in a small boat, fowling and fishing in the marshes, his wife stands behind and his daughter sits beneath, he holds a throw-stick in one hand and three decoy herons in the other, his cat is shown catching three of the numerous birds which have been startled from the papyrus-thicket.
One of the main sites visited in the Aswan region is billed as the island of Philae, however Philae itself is non existent as the island is now submerged beneath Lake Nasser. The island was sometimes visible after the Old Aswan Dam was built, but was permanently submerged by the High Dam. The temple now resides on the nearby island of Agilika and was the centre of the cult of the goddess Isisand her connection withOsiris,Horus, and the Kingship, during thePtolemaic period.
Philae, being accounted one of the burying-places of Osiris, was held in high reverence both by the Egyptians to the north and the Nubians (often referred to as Ethiopians in Greek) to the south. It was deemed profane for any but priests to dwell there and was accordingly sequestered and denominated “the Unapproachable” (Ancient Greek: ̓́αβατος). It was reported too that neither birds flew over it nor fish approached its shores. These indeed were the traditions of a remote period; since in the time of the Ptolemies of Egypt, Philae was so much resorted to, partly by pilgrims to the tomb of Osiris, partly by persons on secular errands, that the priests petitioned Ptolemy Physcon (170-117 BC) to prohibit public functionaries at least from coming thither and living at their expense. In the 19th century AD, William John Bankes brought the Philae obelisk on which this petition was engraved to England. When its Egyptian hieroglyphs were compared with those of the Rosetta stone, it threw great light upon the Egyptian consonantal alphabet.
The most conspicuous feature of both islands was their architectural wealth. Monuments of various eras, extending from the Pharaohs to the Caesars, occupy nearly their whole area. The principal structures, however, lay at the south end of the smaller island.
The most ancient were the remains of a temple for Isis built in the reign of Nectanebo I during 380-362 BC, was approached from the river through a double colonnade. Nekhtnebef is his nomen and he became the founding Pharaoh of the thirtieth and last dynasty of native rulers when he deposed and killed Nefaarud II. Isis was the goddess to whom the initial buildings were dedicated.
Beyond the entrance into the principal court are small temples, one of which, dedicated to Isis, Hathor, and a wide range of deities related to midwifery, is covered with sculptures representing the birth of Ptolemy Philometor, under the figure of the god Horus. The story of Osiris is everywhere represented on the walls of this temple, and two of its inner chambers are particularly rich in symbolic imagery. Upon the two great propyla are Greek inscriptions intersected and partially destroyed by Egyptian figures cut across them.
The monuments in both islands indeed attested, beyond any others in the Nile valley, the survival of pure Egyptian art centuries after the last of the Pharaohs had ceased to reign. Great pains have been taken to mutilate the sculptures of this temple (as shown in the photos above) during later periods.
The soil of Philae had been prepared carefully for the reception of its buildings–being leveled where it was uneven, and supported by masonry where it was crumbling or insecure. For example, the western wall of the Great Temple, and the corresponding wall of the dromos, were supported by very strong foundations, built below the pre-inundation level of the water, and rested on the granite which in this region forms the bed of the Nile. Here and there steps were hewn out from the wall to facilitate the communication between the temple and the river.
(If you want to know more about Isis as the primary goddess of Philae temple then please read Gerhart Haeny’s ‘A Short History of Philae’ (BIFAO* 85: 1983, article is in English and can be found towards the bottom of the page, which is in French, and can be downloaded as a PDF) and numerous other articles which incontrovertibly identify Isis (not Hathor) as the primary goddess of the sacred isle. *BIFAO stands for Bulletin de l’Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale)
Part of a painted tomb-wall with a scene of Asiatic tribute-bearers in two registers.
1400 BC (circa)
18th Dynasty (Reign of Thutmosis V)
These fragments are almost as well-known as the famous Nebamun tomb paintings. Sebekhotep’s tomb is located on the West Bank at Luxor, at the north end of the hill of Sheikh Abdel Qurna, the site of the tombs of most of the high officials of the Theban region in the Eighteenth Dynasty before the reign of Amenhotep III. Unfortunately, the decorated chapel is quite badly damaged, and suffered the attentions of robbers in the twentieth century AD: photographic records of the tomb made by Harry Burton of the Metropolitan Museum of Art between about 1926 and 1940 show several substantial fragments which had disappeared when the tomb was studied and published in the early 1980s. Nonetheless, the paintings which survive in situ are brightly coloured and beautifully executed.
Sebekhotep was an important treasury official in the reign of Thutmose IV (c. 1400-1390 BC), bearing the title ‘overseer of the seal’, in effect the minister of finance. He was the son of Min, who had held the same title in Thutmose III’s reign. It is likely that Sebekhotep was mayor of the Faiyum region before attaining his highest title in Thebes; as his father came from the Delta, it is possible that, like many other Theban officials, he came south at the king’s request.
Two pairs of men in Asiatic dress do obeisance to Sebekhotep and (by inference) to the king at the beginning of each sub-register, while behind each is a row of standing men carrying vessels. Several of these are most elaborate, and are made of gold inlaid with semi-precious stones; the others are probably also of metal. One man leads a small girl by the hand, while another bears a vessel probably made from an elephant tusk.