How to Move an Ancient Egyptian Temple — The Relocation of the Abu Simbel Temples.
In the 13th century BC the mighty pharaoh Ramses II ordered the construction of two large temples in southern Egypt to commemorate the Battle of Kadesh, to honor his queen Nefertari, and to impress his Nubian enemies to the south. Carved directly into the sandstone hillsides, the large facade of the temples feature four colossus statues of Ramses himself, each standing 67 feet in height. The facade itself stands an incredible 100 feet high and 119 feet wide. Inside of the temples are a network of rooms and hallways with many priceless hieroglyphic carvings detailing Egyptian history, religion, and folklore.
By the 1960’s the Abu Simbel Temples were a national treasure for the new Egyptian nation. However, Egypt’s industrial modernization would threaten the temples in a way that no pharaoh could have ever predicted. Near Abu Simbel was the construction of a 364 foot hydroelectric dam known as the Aswan dam. A key objective of the Egyptian government, the dam would provide electricity for the developing nation and kick start a new agricultural plan which would create a massive irrigation project. However, Abu Simbel was literally in deep trouble, for construction of the damn would leave the ancient temples submerged at the bottom of the Lake Nasser Reservoir.
To save Abu Simbel, a team of archeologists, historians, engineers, architects, and construction workers were recruited by UNESCO to conduct one of the most ambitious rescue operations of an ancient structure. The plan was to relocate the ancient temples above the flood plain of Lake Nasser. Incredibly, the team cut the temple facade and structure into individual blocks weighing 20-30 tons. Each block was numbered then recorded to keep track of where they would go when reassembled. The blocks were lifted out of their original foundation using massive cranes, then transported to another site where they could be catalogued and stored for later. From 1964-1965 over 10,000 stone blocks were cut, lifted, and transported away from the site.
The new home for the temples was located 200 meters inland and at a height 65 meters higher than the original Abu Simbel site. To recreate the look of a temple carved from a sandstone hill, artificial hills were created using concrete which simulated sandstone. Once the new Abu Simbel site was ready, each block was meticulously fitted back into position, reconstructing the ancient temples anew. In fact the reconstruction is so precise that it would impress ancient Egyptian engineers, on the façade of the temples there are no visible seams where the blocks meet. Only a few joins can be found from within the temple complex. The project was completed in 1968 and cost $40 million, over $250 million dollars today. The cost was well worth it as the Abu Simbel complex is considered one of the great treasures of Egypt and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Over 500,000 tourists visit the temples every year.
Main element of the Mycenaean religious ritual was the procession of female worshippers towards the shrine, the temple, or the altar of the seated, sometimes enthroned goddess.The depiction of processions on murals, and gold seal-rings was particularly frequent.
The preserved part of a large mural composition from the palace of Thebes (14th/13th century BC) shows a procession of female adorants in traditional Minoan dress. They advance majestically holding their offerings: lilies, wild roses, a casket with jewellery, a necklace, and a luxury vase perhaps filled with aromatic oil. They move in two opposite directions, perhaps towards a central female deity who receives their offerings.
I think I have finally solved the flounced skirt mystery. In my opinion it’s a large rectangle piece of textile, straight from the loom, perhaps decorated at the top and bottom border with added woven bands. The textile is draped around the hips, then tied with the top toppling down. Multiple layers can be worn, toppling down and giving the look of the flounced skirt. Similarly the vest, could be a tunic, again rectangle pieces of textile can be used, with decorative woven bands binding them together at the seams.
Egyptian Wood Mummy Mask, New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, 1550-1295 BC
Finely carved, wearing a tripartite wig, with straight nose and small
mouth, the large almond-shaped eyes inlaid with stone and obsidian, the
long finely-arched eyebrows recessed once for inlay, a socket under the
chin once for attachment of the false beard, traces of bitumen
remaining, 22in high.
The fact that the eyes are separately made and inlaid into the wood
indicates that the deceased was a person of fairly high status. This is possibly from Saqqara, Abydos or Thebes. It’s from the Collection of Lady Jane Franklin (04 December 1791 – 18 July 1875) the Tasmanian traveler and wife of polar explorer Sir John Franklin.
Egypt, Abu Simbel. The facade of the huges 13th century BC Great Temple of Abu Simbel which was raised 65m (213 ft) when the rising waters of Lake Nasser threatened to drown it. Here tourists are listening to a lecture given by their guide. 2006, Ian Berry.
The mouth of the Dog River (Nahr al-Kalb, Lycus River for the romans), northeast Beirut, is best known for a large series of rock inscriptions, both ancient and modern.
The ancient inscriptions include three Egyptian hieroglyphic stelae (13th century BC) left by the Pharaoh Ramesses II to commemorate Egypt’s northern campaigns, and several stelaefrom Babylonian and Assyrian kings, including Esarhaddon (reigned 681-669 BC), who conquered Egypt and put a memorial opposite the relief of Ramesses II.
There are more than 20 inscriptions with texts in seven languages (Egyptian, Akkadian, Greek, Latin, Arabic, French, and English). Countless armies traditionally built monuments and left inscriptions to mark their crossing of the Dog River.
Pictures n.1, 3: unknown Assyrian king-some scholars believe the relief represents king Shalmaneser III
Kassite Green Agate Cylinder Seal - Circa 1400-1100 BC
Depicting a seated god holding a trident sceptre, with three locusts above, with an eight line Sumerian partly intelligible inscription reading ’(Oh god) Amurru …, pre-eminent of the …, the hero of … Adad-… for Kurigalzu the prince who reveres you, bestow on him a happy reign.’
The Kassites were an ancient Near Eastern people who controlled Babylonia after the fall of the Old Babylonian Empire in 1531 BC until around 1155 BC. The Kassites gained control of Babylonia after the Hittite sack of the city in 1595 BC and established a dynasty based in Dur-Kurigalzu named after Kurigalzu I, who reigned some time in the 14th century BC.
Assyrian Jewelry Chain (Grave Goods), from Ashur, Middle Assyrian Period, c. 14th-13th Century BC
Currently located in the Vorderasiatisches Museum, Berlin.
The ancient site of Ashur, dating to the 3rd millennium BC, is located on the Tigris River in northern Mesopotamia. It was the first capital of the Assyrian Empire and remained so from the 14th to the 9th century BC until the reign of the Neo-Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 BC), who moved the capital to Kalhu (modern Nimrud). The city survived the fall of the Assyrian empire in the 7th century BC, and it flourished again in the Hellenistic and Parthian periods until the 2nd century AD.
Ashur also served as the religious capital of the Assyrians, named after Ashur, the head of the Assyrian pantheon in Mesopotamian religion. He was the Mesopotamian equivalent of the Babylonian god Marduk.
Decorated in three registers with riders pursuing bulls and lions in fields of roses and trees.
Urartu (map) was originally known as Biainele with its capital at the rock fortress of Tushpa. The ancient city’s ruins are located just west of Van and east of Lake Van in the Van Province of Turkey. Today the region once known as Urartu is divided among Armenia, eastern Turkey, and northwestern Iran. In the bible, Urartu was known as the kingdom of Ararat.
Urartians spoke a language that was related to Hurrian, a language that has no other known connections. Their written language was adapted from Assyrian cuneiform but their inscriptions unfortunately only refer to royal construction activity therefore we get most of our information about Urartu from historic Assyrian sources. The Assyrian King Shalmaneser I (13th century BC) first mentions “Uruartri” as a Nairi state, which was a loose confederation of small kingdoms and tribes, of which he and his successors conquered at times, but not completely. Urartu re-emerged as a powerful kingdom and rival of Assyria in Assyrian inscriptions dated to the 9th century BC. Its tribes became united under the Urartian King Aramu (c. 860 – 843 BC) and the kingdom reached its zenith in the 9th and 8th centuries.
In the 7th century BC Urartu suffered from invasions by the Cimmerians, Scythians and Medes. The region came under the control of the Armenian Orontids in the 7th century BC and the Persians in the mid-6th century BC. By this time the kingdom of Urartu was no longer extant.
Mycenaean Terracotta Octopus Goblet, 13th century BC
The Mycenaeans, like the Minoans, painted a wide range of sea creatures on their pottery, especially octopuses. Over time, Mycenaean artists produced ever simpler and more abstract depictions of octopuses.
The Egyptian siege of Dapur in the 13th century BC, from Ramesseum, Thebes The Siege of Dapur occurred as part of Ramesses II’s campaign to suppress Galilee and conquer Syria in 1269 BC. He inscribed his campaign on the wall of his mortuary temple, the Ramesseum in Thebes. The inscriptions say that Dapur was “in the land of Hatti”. Although Dapur has often been identified with Tabor in Canaan, Kenneth Kitchen argues that this identification is incorrect and that the Dapur in question is in Syria, to the north of Kadesh.
Central European Bronze Age Spiral Armlets, 1200-1000 BC
It is unclear if armbands like this were worn for actual physical protection, but they certainly seem to have had a ritual/religious protective purpose. Armbands like this are some of the most famous symbols of the Bronze Age in Europe.