Monday, September 26, 2016
Review of the Gratitude Journey through Egypt along the Nile River – De West Bank of Luxor
- Colossi of Memnon
The two colossi of Memnon tower nearly 18 meters above the fields. Originally they were in front of the funerary temple of Amenhotep III, once the largest complex on the west bank and plundered by later pharaohs until only the giants were leftover. Both their faces and crowns are lost, and the one on the north side has since an earthquake in 27 BC. a crack in the middle of it. As a result of this the colossus, “sang” at dawn. The noise probably was caused by the particles that broke when the stone expanded or turned off by the wind that resounded through the cracks. Before the Colossus, after repairs at 199 n. C., stopped “singing”; the sound was attributed to Memnon (who was slain at Troy by Achilles).
From the separation you can see details on the thrones and the legs of the sandstone colossi On the sides of the front one the Nile gods of Upper and Lower Egypt join the heraldic plants of the two realms together. Besides the legs of the two colossi are smaller statues of Queen Tiye (right) and the mother of the king, Mutemwiya (left). They are completely filled with notes, among other Roman epigrams. On the grounds behind the two colossi is being excavated the lost funeral temple of Amenhotep III. Here will come a new archaeological park. Currently, no visitors are allowed there.
Personal note: The group was awakened at 5 a.m. in the morning, had breakfast together and at 6 a.m. we went by touring bus to the West Bank of Luxor. Arriving at the colossi one of the Belgian ladies and I crossed the street to collect a branch that was lying on the ground from the Mimosa tree. We both used the branch to ward off the flies. The felucca boats are made from the wood of the mimosa tree. Along with this the flower is used for flower essence. Later we also learned that it was one of the Sacred Flowers and branches used in the temples.
The Valley of the Kings
Above is a link to a movie you can watch about the Valley of the Kings.
A virtual tour of the tombs of Thoutmosis IV, Horemheb, Nefertari, Sennefur, Ramesses I, Sennedjem and Ay. Quite interesting to watch.
General Site Information
Structure: Valley of the Kings
Location: Thebes West Bank, Thebes
Other designations: Biban al Muluk, Wadi al Muluk
Site type: Necropolis
Hidden behind the Theban Hills, on the West Bank of the Nile, lies the Valley of the Kings (abbreviated as KV). It was chosen as the burial place for most of Egypt’s New Kingdom rulers for several reasons. As the crow flies, the Valley is very close to the cultivated banks of the river. It is small, surrounded by steep cliffs, and easily guarded. The local limestone, cut millions of years ago by torrential rains to form the Valley, is of good quality. And towering above the Valley is a mountain, al Qurn (“the horn” in Arabic), whose shape may have reminded the ancient Egyptians of a pyramid, and is dedicated to the goddess Meretseger.
There are 62 numbered royal and private tombs in the Valley of the Kings, ranging from a simple pit (KV 54) to a tomb with over 121 chambers and corridors (KV 5). Most were found already plundered. A few, like the tomb of Tutankhamen (KV 62) or that of Yuya and Thuyu (KV 46), and Maiherperi (KV36), contained thousands of precious artifacts. Some tombs have been accessible since antiquity, as Greek and Latin graffiti attest, some were used as dwellings or a church during the Graeco-Roman and Byzantine Periods, and others have been discovered only in the past two hundred years. Some, like KV 5, had been “lost,” and their location rediscovered only recently.
The Valley of the Kings is divided into the East and the West Valleys. The East Valley contains most of the tombs and is the most commonly visited by tourists. But the West Valley covers a larger area and is the least explored of the two. It has only two royal tombs, those of Amenhetep III (KV 22) and Ay (KV 23).
Noteworthy features: This is the principal burial site for the rulers of Egypt’s New Kingdom. Its tombs contain unique examples of funerary decoration.
Latitude: 25.44 N
Longitude: 32.36 E
JOG map reference: NG 36-10
Modern governorate: Qena (Qina)
Ancient nome: 4th Upper Egypt
Surveyed by TMP: Yes
The earliest references we have to modern European visitors in the Valley of the Kings date to the eighteenth century. Early maps, such as that drawn by the scholars who accompanied Napoleon Bonaparte’s 1799 expedition to Egypt, or those of Giovanni Belzoni (1818) and John Gardner Wilkinson a decade later, indicate that about twenty-five tombs were accessible since ancient times. Wilkinson was able to see twenty-one tombs and he numbered them in geographic order from the entrance of the Valley southward, then toward the east. Since then, tombs have been numbered in the order of their discovery, KV 62 (Tutankhamen’s) being the most recent.
Many people have dug in the Valley of the Kings. One of the first was Giovanni Belzoni, who in 1816-17 discovered eight tombs, the most spectacular being KV 17, the tomb of Sety I. In the late nineteenth century, Victor Loret uncovered sixteen tombs, including the cache of royal mummies in KV 35, the tomb of Amenhetep II. From 1902 on, Theodore M. Davis sponsored thirteen seasons of work during which thirty-five tombs were cleared or discovered. One of his excavators was Howard Carter. In 1907, Carter began working with Earl Carnarvon. In 1922, their work led to the discovery of Tutankhamen’s intact burial (KV 62).
Apart from projects engaged in copying specific texts or in documenting particular tombs, such as the work of Alexander Piankoff in the tomb of Rameses VI, published in 1954, or the Polish epigraphic project in the tomb of Rameses III (KV 11) between 1959 and 1981, there was relatively little archaeological activity in the Valley from 1922 (when the tomb of Tutankhamen was discovered) until the 1970s. Since the 1970s, however, there has been a resurgence of activity. In 1972, a project of the University of Minnesota, directed by Otto Schaden, began work in the West Valley in the tomb of Ay (KV 23).
The Berkeley Theban Mapping Project (later the Theban Mapping Project), under the direction of Kent Weeks, began its survey of tombs in 1978. At the same time, a project led by John Romer for the Brooklyn Museum worked in the last royal tomb constructed in the Valley, that of Rameses XI (KV 4). Following documentation in the tomb of Tausert (KV 14) from 1983-1987, Hartwig Altenmüller of the University of Hamburg started excavating the tomb of Bay (KV 13), completing this task in 1994. In 1989, Donald Ryan of Pacific Lutheran University began a re-excavation and recording of several un-inscribed tombs, including KV 21, 27, 28, 44, 45, and 60. KV 39, thought by some to be the burial place of Amenhetep I, was excavated by John Rose beginning in 1989. In 1992 and 1993, Lyla Pinch Brock re-examined and carried out conservation in KV 55.
There are several archaeological projects currently at work in the Valley of the Kings. Christian Leblanc is excavating the tomb of Rameses II (KV 7) for the CNRS, while across the road, the Theban Mapping Project (TMP) is excavating, recording and conserving KV 5 (the sons of Rameses II). The tomb of Amenmeses (KV 10) is being cleared by the Memphis University mission led by Otto Schaden. Elina Paulin-Grothe is directing a project of the Ägyptologische Seminar der Universität Basel, clearing and documenting in the tombs of Rameses X (KV 18), Siptah (KV 47), and Tiaa (KV32).
Nicholas Reeves and Geoffrey Martin are examining the area between the tombs of Horemheb (KV 57) and Rameses VI (KV 9). Edwin Brock continues his studies of royal sarcophagi with particular emphasis now on the remains in the tombs of Merenptah (KV 8) and Rameses VI (KV 9), where he is reconstructing the inner sarcophagus. Richard Wilkinson of the University of Arizona has been involved in an examination of symbolic alignments in the royal tombs. An expedition from Waseda University, Tokyo, under the direction of Jiro Kondo is clearing, documenting and conserving the area in and around the tomb of Amenhetep III in the West Valley (KV 22).
This site was used during the following period(s):
Third Intermediate Period
Conservation history: Much of the conservation measures enacted in the Valley of the Kings have consisted of removing earlier structures originally designed for touristic activities. This includes the removal of an old restaurant and bathroom from the center of the Valley, relocating souvenir kiosks from inside the Valley, and the demolishing of guard huts and donkey shelters built over and in the vicinity of tombs.
Other steps have been taken to mitigate the negative affects of the visits of tourists. Cement steps and ramps ways created along paths, bordered by rubble retaining walls, to control the flow of tourists. An air circulation system was installed in KV 62 and plexiglass panels now protect the relief in many tombs from the hands of visitors. The Theban Mapping Project installed new informational signage to give tourists information about the tombs they visit before they enter.
Flash flooding is a serious threat to the tombs and their decoration and has prompted the construction of shelters over entrances of tombs endangered by flood cascades (such as KV 13, KV 14, KV 15, and KV 35). Flood deflection walls built around tomb entrances also protect from the effects of torrential rains.
Site condition: Not all of the tombs in the Valley have been fully excavated. Accessible tombs are subject to physical stress from large numbers of visitors. Site maintenance is in need of revision. Trash collection is a problem. Open tombs are in danger of flooding. Internal rock movement is a danger to the structural stability of the tombs.
The Valley of the Kings was meant as an ultimate insurance for an eternal life. These mysterious graves of the pharaoh’s of the New Era where build to conserve the mummies and attributes. In most cases this did not succeed but the shafts and “wall imprints” are very impressive. At the “Place of Truth” (as Egyptian call it) lies the kings of the early 18th dynasty through late 20th dynasty.
The guide Ahmed explained before some details about the graves we were about to visit as he was not coming with us.
Our group visited the grave of Thotmosis I (1525-1512 or 1504-1492 A.C.). At the tomb I was called to use the Worldwide Water Essence 2014 spray and an assistant called to place my hands between the lid and the open space there. I could feel the electro magnetic field swirling. After this I raise my hands in the area of the heart and closed my eyes going on a journey of remembrance. I could feel and see different stages of going deeper and deeper into this era. A feeling of joy expanded inside and touched the heart center whilst this opened itself more and more like using the key or ANKH (1 legged) of eternal life as I travelled through passageways.
We visited in total 4 graves all so detailed and enlightened with there energies. I can remember one more name that of Amenhotep II and Siptah.
Visit to Alblast Wholesale Factory in Luxor
Our next stop was at a family-owned alabaster business. Alabaster vases and sculptures are very typical for Egypt. Our demonstration included the man seated at the back, who was taking large chunks of stone and roughly chipping it into a basic shape. The man to the right showed us how they drill out the hollow centers by hand. And finally, the alabaster is carefully shaped and hand polished.
Alabaster comes in white, brown, and green, and the merchandise came in all shapes and sizes. Real alabaster (as opposed to machine-made fakes), is thin enough that light shines through it, as you can see in this demonstration.
It was a wonderful break for the group to be here. They had a wonderful working song that was shared with us. I started to dance with its rhythm and I notice it was appreciated. We all received a small gift of the one legged ANKH.
Medinet Habou Temple
The Temple of Rameses III
Madinat Habu Temple
In ancient times Madinat Habu was known as Djanet and according to ancient belief was the place were Amun first appeared. Both Hatshepsut and Tuthmosis III built a temple dedicated to Amun here and Later Rameses III constructed his larger memorial temple on the site.
First court right side portico supported by columns in the shape of the god Osiris.
Reconstruction of the first court
First court left side
Columns in the second court
- The entrance
First Pylon – the temple of Rameses III
During his time Djanet became the administrative centre of Western Thebes. The whole temple complex was surrounded by a massive fortified enclosure wall, with an unusual gateway at the eastern entrance, known as the pavilion gate. This structure, a copy of a Syrian migdol fortresses is something you would not expect to see in Egypt. Rameses III, a military man probably saw the virtue in such a structure. It is likely Rameses resided here from time to time because a royal palace was attached at the south of the open forecourt of this temple, while priests’ dwellings and administrative buildings lay on either side of the temple. Originally a canal with a harbour outside the entrance, connected the temple to the Nile. But this was obliterated by the desert long ago.
In later times, because of its strong fortifications, it was the place of refuge during the civil war between the High Priest of Amun at Karnak and the viceroy of Kush. In the period of the Twenty Fifth and Twenty Sixth Dynasties (700 BC) the wives of Amon were worshipped in the Chapels called the Divine Adoratrices of Amun. During the Greek and Roman periods, the site was expanded and between the 1st and 9th centuries AD a Coptic city was built and the temple was used as a Christen church.
The exterior walls are carved with religious scenes and portrayals of Rameses III’s wars against the Libyans and the Sea Peoples. The first pylon depicts the king smiting his enemies and also has a list of conquered lands. The interior walls also have a wealth of well-preserved bas-reliefs some of which still retain their original paint work.
Some of the original paint work can still be seen at temple. I‘ve studied Madinat Habu as a guide for many of my temple reconstructions.
By the time we visited here the temperature was going up quite a bit. Guide Ahmet explained many facets here of the Temple.
For me personally it felt good to be here and really enjoyed the temple grounds.
Deir el Bohiri – Temple of Queen Hatsjepsoet
See this video about the temple it is quite interesting.
Hatshepsut The Woman Who Was King 1473–1458 BC
Although the status of women in ancient Egypt was higher than in any other ancient civilization, the notion that a woman could be king was abhorrent to the Egyptians. Yet, a woman did become king and not just an ordinary king. She became the first great woman in recorded history, the forerunner of such figures as Cleopatra, Elizabeth I, and Catherine the Great. Her name was Hatshepsut and she ruled as pharaoh for fifteen years. Sadly, after her death the Egyptians, who were a deeply conservative people, obliterated her memory so that later pharaohs such as Ramses II and Cleopatra would have been ignorant of her existence.
Hatshepsut’s grandfather, Ahmose I, defeated the Hyksos who had invaded Lower Egypt and occupied it for more than one hundred years during the Second Intermediate Period. It was he who inaugurated the New Kingdom and the eighteenth dynasty, giving rise to some of the most extraordinary characters in ancient Egyptian history.
Hatshepsut’s Temple at Deir el Bahri
Hatshepsut was descended from a number of strong women, including Aahotep, the mother of King Ahmose I. Aahotep was a military leader and she received the “Golden Flies” awarded to soldiers who fought courageously.
When Ahmose died, his son Amenhotep became pharaoh but he left no male heirs. Thutmose I, a commoner and army general, became king by marrying Amenhotep’s sister Nefertiri.
Thutmose I was a strong pharaoh and, with his large professional army, made conquests south into Nubia and north as far as the Euphrates River; the farthest any pharaoh had gone up to that time. He erected two large obelisks at Karnak Temple and began the tradition of royal burials in the Valley of the Kings.
Hatshepsut’s Temple at Deir el Bahri
Although Thutmose had three sons and two daughters by his great wife, only one of these children was alive when he died: the twelve-year-old Hatshepsut. Thutmose did have a son by a minor wife, also called Thutmose, and to strengthen his claim to the throne, this son was married to Hatshepsut.
However, Thutmose II suffered from poor health and reigned for only fourteen years. He left a daughter by Hatshepsut and a son, again called Thutmose, by Isis, a harem girl.
It is possible that Thutmose II realized Hatshepsut was ambitious for power because he proclaimed the young Thutmose his successor. But when he died Thutmose III was still a child, and his aunt and stepmother, Hatshepsut, acted as regent for him.
Not content to be the power behind the child king, Hatshepsut soon proclaimed herself pharaoh, and the boy was kept away from the court. He was sent off to join the army where he grew up.
To support her cause, Hatshepsut claimed that the god Amun had taken the form of her father and visited her mother, and she herself was the result of this divine union. As the self-proclaimed daughter of God, she further justified her right to the throne by declaring that the god Amun-Ra had spoken to her, saying, “Welcome my sweet daughter, my favourite, the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Maatkare, Hatshepsut. Thou art the king, taking possession of the Two Lands.”
Hatshepsut dressed as a king, even affecting a false beard, but it was never her intention to pass herself off as a man; rather, she referred to herself as the “female falcon.” Her success was due, at least in part, to the respect of the people for her father’s memory and the loyal support of influential officials who controlled all the key positions of government.
During her rule, the Egyptian economy flourished; she expanded trading relations and dispatched a major sea-borne expedition to the land of Punt, on the African coast at the southernmost end of the Red Sea.
Hatshepsut launched an extensive building program, repairing the damage wrought by the invading Hyksos and building magnificent temples. She renovated her father’s hall in the Temple of Karnak, erecting four great obelisks nearly 100 feet (30m) tall, and added a chapel. But her greatest achievement was her mortuary temple at Deir el Bahri, one of the most beautiful temples in Egypt. She called it the ‘Most Sacred of Sacred Places’.
The walls were illustrated with a colourful account of the trading expedition to Punt, featuring images of ships and of the marching army led by her general, Nehsi. From the drawings we can see that the expedition brought back many wonderful things including gold, ebony, animal skins, baboons, and refined myrrh, as well as living myrrh trees that were then planted around the temple. The walls at Deir el Bahri also depict the houses of the people of Punt and an image of its obese queen.
Living myrrh trees from the land of Punt
As Hatshepsut and her political allies aged, her hold on the throne weakened. The early death of her daughter, whom she had married to Thutmose III, may have contributed to her decline. Eventually, her nephew took his rightful place as pharaoh, though the circumstances of this event are unknown and what became of Hatshepsut is a mystery. Whether she died naturally or was deposed and eliminated is uncertain. What we do know is that about twenty years after her death, Thutmose had her name removed from nearly all the monuments and replaced with either the name of her father, her husband, or Thutmose III himself. Ironically, some of the best-preserved obelisks in Egypt are those of Hatshepsut. Thutmose III had stone walls built around them to hide them from public view, but these walls also served the purpose of protecting them from the elements
By the open space we arrived at this Temple, I and some others of the group were totally exhausted through the heat. I did however let guidance take me to the first level of the temple and was in silence at the Hathor Temple there. I could feel and hear the sounds of vibrations.
The struggle this woman had during her reign is still flowing amongst all the female vibrations within male and female humans. It is in the here and now that we are transforming and shifting this into an equal balance.
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