Destroyed Temples

The Theban mortuary temples of the kings of Egypt have already been listed, but there are many more sites of temples on the West Bank which are now completely destroyed. This list of destroyed temple sites begins at the southern end of the Theban necropolis at Malqata and follows the edge of the cultivation towards the north at el-Tarif.

Temple of Amun (Amenhotep III)
Amenhotep III built a huge town and palace complex at Malqata, south of Medinet Habu which included a Temple dedicated to the state god Amun. Foundations of the temple can still be seen to the north of the king’s palace, east of the causeway which forms the modern track to Armant. The temple also included a sanctuary of the god Re.

The Temple of Ay and Horemheb

Remains of the temple of Ay and Horemheb

The mortuary temple of Ay, known in ancient times as ‘Menmenu’, was built on a site which was later adjoined on its southern side by Rameses III’s temple at Medinet Habu. The temple site may formerly have belonged to Tutankhamun as two colossal statues of the young king were found there. These had been inscribed by Ay then usurped by Horemheb. The inner parts of the temple, consisting of two small pillared halls with side chambers and three lateral sanctuaries were built by Ay, but Horemheb re-used and added to these buildings. Ay’s successor built three pylons and courts in front of the original structure and included a small palace in the third court. A peristyle court and broad columned hall was added to Ay’s temple and the whole building then usurped by Horemheb. The broad columned hall is at present being reconstructed.

The South Temple
A small structure known only as the ‘South Temple’ and now completely destroyed is known to have existed a few hundred metres to the north of Rameses III’s temple at Medinet Habu.

Temple of Tuthmose II
Next to the South Temple a small structure, called in ancient times ‘Shepsesankh’, was built by Tuthmose II. Blocks bearing the pharaoh’s name were found at the site. The temple was apparently completed and re-used by his son Tuthmose III, whose name also features in scenes from wall fragments found on the site.

Temple of Amenhotep, son of Hapu

Pavement in the Temple of Amenhotep son of Hapu

 A gift of a mortuary temple was given to Amenhotep, son of Hapu, a high official in the court of Amenhotep III and the king’s chief architect and scribe, who was deified in Ptolemaic times for his wisdom and healing powers. His temple was built adjacent to the small temple of Tuthmose III and dwarfed the earlier structure. It was the largest of non-royal mortuary temples on the West Bank. Behind the first of two pylons was an area containing a pool surrounded by trees. A pillared portico faced the second pylon and led into a columned court with four chambers on either side. Behind this was a sanctuary area with three shrines. Scant remains of Amenhotep’s temple can still be seen – a few column bases and blocks lay scattered around outside the Pharaohs Hotel which is on the track from the Antiquities Inspectorate (the ticket office) to Medinet Habu at Kom Lolla.

The North Temple

Remains of the North Temple

Immediately north of the Temple of Amenhotep, son of Hapu, was another small destroyed structure similar in style to the South Temple. Little beyond the basic plan is known.

Temple of Rameses IV
Virtually nothing survives of a temple built by Rameses IV. The ‘North Temple’ was built partially on this site behind the Antiquities Inspectorate.

Temple of Tawosret and Siptah

Site of the Temple of Tawosret and Siptah

To the north of the Temple of Merenptah which includes the new open-air museum, is the site of a destroyed temple built for the reigning queen Tawosret, wife of Seti II, and her successor Siptah. Although virtually nothing is known of the structure, foundation deposits found at the site include faience plaques and jar-fragments dating to the reign of Seti II. The remains of the structure has recently undergone restoration.

Temple of Tuthmose IV
The site of a destroyed temple of Tuthmose IV is situated just to the north of the Temple of Tawosret. In plan the temple consisted of two pylons and courts, the second with a columned portico on its western side. The inner areas which included a large peristyle court, are similar to Amenhotep III’s courts both in his mortuary temple and in Luxor temple and it is suggested that this temple may have served as a model for those succeeding it. The hypostyle hall had 24 pillars and behind this was a transverse hall with sanctuaries. Various stelae, statue fragments, blocks and bricks bearing the names of Tuthmose IV were found by Petrie when he first investigated the site. Parts of this site were excavated in the 1970s by an Italian Mission.

Temple of Wadjmose
A tiny structure, now gone, was built to the north of the Temple of Tuthmose IV (just to the south of the Ramesseum) which is attributed to Prince Wadjmose, a son of Tuthmose I. Whether the temple was built in the name of Wadjmose, or for his father Tuthmose I, we do not know. Statue fragments bearing the names of Wadjmose and Tuthmose I were found here as well as various blocks of Tuthmose III. There were also several stelae found, including fragments of one by Senemose, a tutor of Wadjmose, with a text from year 21 of Tuthmose III (in Cairo Museum) and another by Peshedu, ‘Servant of the Place of Truth’ (Deir el-Medina) on which he adores Wadjmose (also in Cairo Museum).

Temple of Mentuhotep Sankhare
Petrie first investigated this Middle Kingdom temple which lies at the foot of the Theban mountain between Deir el-Bahri and Deir el-Medina, behind the village of Sheikh ‘Abd el-Qurna. It is thought that the structure was never completed and the temple consists today of only a platform and causeway. The Ramesseum was built over the eastern end of the causeway. Until recently it was thought that Mentuhotep Nebhepetre’s successor Mentuhotep Sankhare built this temple, as it appears to have been planned as a similar structure to his father’s monument at Deir el-Bahri. Recent epigraphic and archaeological surveys of the site during the 1980s and 1990s have suggested that it was possibly Amenemhat I for whom it was begun. A sloping passage leads down from the platform into the rock face and a corbelled chamber lined with red granite. Hieratic graffiti was found in the chamber.

Chapel of the ‘White Queen’
This structure built just outside the northern wall of the Ramesseum was first excavated by Petrie. On the site he found a white limestone bust of Rameses’ daughter and consort Merit-Amun, depicted in her religious role as ‘Sistrum-player of Mut’ and ‘Dancer of Horus’. It is this artefact (now in Cairo Museum) which gives the temple its name. Four Middle Kingdom statues have recently been found at the site, probably taken from a nearby tomb.

Temple of Amenhotep II

Temple of Amenhotep II

Just to the east of the Chapel of the ‘White Queen’ another temple site lay in the area which is now the northern side of the Ramesseum. It was constructed by Amenhotep II and foundation deposits discovered by Petrie at the site include five limestone plaques, two of which bear the names of Amenhotep II. There were also several vases and a wooden box from here which are now with the plaques in the Petrie Museum (University College, London). A headless Osirid statue of Amenhotep II in heb-sed dress is in Cairo Museum. The temple had a court with columned porticos on each side. The temple is currently undergoing re-excavation under Director Dr Angelo Sesana of the Italian Archaeologica Mission.

Temple of Merenptah-Siptah
Northwest of the temple of Amenhotep II, on the left-hand side of the modern road, is the site of a destroyed temple constructed by the pharaoh Siptah of Dynasty XIX. This is a second temple attributed to the ruler, the first being the one he usurped from Queen Tawosret to the south. The temple site was excavated by Petrie and foundation deposits naming Siptah and Chancellor Bay were found. These included stone and faience plaques and vase fragments and jar-sealings from years 3 and 4 of the king.

Temple of Tuthmose III

The mortuary temple of Tuthmose III

A mostly destroyed temple once belonging to Tuthmose III was situated next to the temple of Siptah on the left-hand side of the road just north of the Ramesseum. Unlike his Temple of Amun at Deir el-Bahri, Tuthmose built this structure as a mortuary temple. The modern road now cuts through the site but the mud-brick pylon can still be seen. The temple’s ancient name was ‘Henket-ankh’, and it was probably begun in the earlier part of Tuthmose’s co-regency with Hatshepsut. It consited of a quay, pylon and court which led to a façade with Osirid columns. The sanctuary was constructed with a vaulted ceiling decorated with goddesses of the hours of the day and night and a false door of the king on the rear wall. A Chapel of Hathor contained blocks re-used from earlier structures. Foundation deposits from the temple include a copper chisel of Tuthmose III which is now in Cairo Museum and a plaque with the name of the temple, now in the British Museum. The temple is currently undergoing restoration in a joint project by  the SCA and the Academy of Fine Arts in Seville, Spain.

Ramesside Temple
To the north of the temple of Tuthmose III is the site of a destroyed and probably unfinished temple which appears to have been begun by Rameses IV and re-used by Rameses V and VI. Many fragments from the structure have been found. Sandstone reliefs depicting the head of Rameses VI came from the second court. Many remains of re-used blocks from other monuments were found including Osirid statues of Amenhotep I and a block depicting Hatshepsut crowned by the god Amun from her Valley Temple.

Valley Temple of Hatshepsut

Site of Hatshepsut's Valley Temple

At the end of the causeway of the Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahri, lies the site of her Valley Temple which was destroyed in antiquity. Carter discovered foundation deposits from the site which include alabaster jars and tools. Bricks of Hatshepsut and Tuthmose I, Amenhotep II and Princess Neferrure from this temple are in the Metropolitan Museum (New York) and Cairo Museum. An alabaster dish (also in the Metropolitan Museum) has a text concerning the foundation of Hatshepsut’s Great Temple at Deir el-Bahri.

Colonnaded Temple of Rameses IV
At the end of Hatshepsut’s causeway and just north of the site of her Valley Temple, Rameses IV constructed what is suggested to be a colonnaded temple. When investigated by Carter and others foundation deposits were recovered which included faience, alabaster and electrum plaques of Rameses IV. Inscribed sandstone blocks from walls contained the names of Rameses II and Tuthmose III.

Temple of Amenhotep I and Ahmose-Nefertari
On the edge of the cultivation, at the southern end of Dra ‘Abu el-Naga and to the west of the temple of Seti I was the tiny mortuary temple of Amenhotep I, the second king of Dynasty XVIII. The southern part of the temple was dedicated to Amenhotep I and contained blocks with heb-sed scenes with the king seated in a kiosk between standards of Horus and Set (reconstructed blocks in Berlin Museum). The northern part was constructed in the name of Amenhotep’s queen, Ahmose-Nefertari. Various blocks and statue fragments were found, including three of Ahmose-Nefertari. A sandstone stela, probably dating to Dynasty XIX, was found at the entrance to an antechamber. The temple is now destroyed.

Temple of Nebwenenef
Nebwenenef was one of the few non-royal individuals who had a mortuary temple in the Theban necropolis. He was a ‘First Prophet of Amun’ during the reign of Rameses II and a priest of Hathor of Dendera and the god Onuris. The site of his destroyed monument lies close to the temple of Seti I, just to the east of the temple of Amenhotep I. Early investigations revealed foundation deposits including plaques and model tools and a Dynasty XVIII-XIX trial piece of a royal head in relief. Two broken colossal statues of Rameses II were found lying on the ground at the entrance to the court.

~ by Su on February 9, 2009.