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Amun Temple Ruins

Amun Temple Ruins

 

Official name

Amun Temple Ruins

Other names

Umm ‘Ubaydah; Oumm 'Oubeyda; Umm Ubayd; Umm Ma’Bad; Um Beda; Mabuda; Temple of Amun.

Phisical setting

The temple stands on a small hillock 400 m south of Aghurmi (e33060003), which is itself 1.7 km east of the town of Shali in Siwa oasis.
It lies 2km north Gabal Dakrour, 1km north west Ein Shams which is known by (Hammam Cleopatra). The temple is surrounded from the north, east and south by agricultural lands, from the west by a paved road then agricultural lands.

History

The history of the temple is poorly known, although hieroglyphic inscriptions associate it with a Siwan kinglet called Wenamen and the 30th Dynasty king Nectanebo II.

The most famous moment in the temple’s history came in 331 BC, when Alexander the Great visited in order to consult its oracle, accompanied by a large party of friends and soldiers, including the historian Callisthenes. Alexander arrived at the temple to be greeted by its high-priest as the king of Egypt, and to have the oracle bestow divinity upon him. It is unclear whether these events took place at this site, the nearby temple at Aghurmi (e33060003), or a combination of the two.

Until the beginning of the nineteenth century much of the temple was preserved, but it was damaged in 1811 by an earthquake, and, in 1897, was blown up by one of the Ma’Murs of Siwa in order to obtain stones for the staircase of a police station.

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Archaeological data

Little remains of the temple, although it is known it was once richly decorated with reliefs and hieroglyphs in raised relief. Additionally, the temple’s masonry was partially of locally quarried alabaster. Came from Gabal at-Takrur.

Excavation has revealed further details. For example, it is possible the temple possessed a colonnaded forecourt: the remains of palmiform columns and architraves have been recovered. Meanwhile, on the eastern slope of the hillock, the remains of a large (probably) Hellenistic or Roman platform-like structure of limestone masonry were found, together with a cistern.
Now the remaining part of the temple is the eastern wall of the room proceeding the sanctuary (the Pronaos), which contain colored carvings and drawings. The carvings begin at the top with images of the goddess Nekhbet protecting the king’s Kartoosh , then a hieroglyphic sunk relief representing the opening of the mouth ritual which is a strange aspect in the temples. Following this are three rows of persons (downwards) in raised relief representing some gods; at the front is Imn R ‘ sitting at his shrine represented in bull’s head, behind him is Mut, then the temple constructor (wen Amon); the waha governor Kneel in front of him and behind seven gods, in the middle row nine gods and in the lowest row three gods now.
Around the temple there was an enclosure wall encompassing the temple from the outside, many of its parts can be seen in the west.

The temple faces the entrance to the temple at Aghurmi and was aligned along a common axis, suggesting the possibility that both temples were once linked by a processional causeway.

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Threats to the site

The remains of the temple are threatened in the mean time by high water table due to its being surrounded by agricultural lands from all directions. There are Arabic and English graffiti on the walls. The temple needs an enclosure wall to protect it from vandalists and animals. Carvings and paintings need to be restored , excavation need to be continued, also a panel with the site’s name, its archaeological and historical data need to be erected.

Ruins

Bibliography

Fakhry, A.
1973. The Oases of Egypt. Volume One. Siwa Oasis. Cairo: AUC Press.

Kuhlmann, K. P.
1988. Das Ammoneion. Archäologie, Geschichte und Kultpraxis des Orakels von Siwa. Mainz am Rhein: Philipp von Zabern.

1999. "Siwa Oasis, Late period and Graeco-Roman sites." In: K. A. Bard (ed.), Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt. London: Routledge. 738-44.

2001. “Gleanings from the Texts in the Sanctuary of Amun at Aghurmi (Siwa Oasis).” MDAIK 57: 187-203.

Leclant, J,
1984. “Fouilles et travaux en Égypte et au Soudan, 1982-1983.” Or 53: 350-416.

Leclant, J. and G. Clerc.
1993. "Fouilles et travaux en Égypte et au Soudan, 1991-1992." Or 62 (3): 175-295.

1994. "Fouilles et travaux en Égypte et au Soudan, 1992-1993." Or 63 (4): 345-473.

1995. "Fouilles et travaux en Égypte et au Soudan, 1993-1994." Or 64: 225-355.

1996. "Fouilles et travaux en Égypte et au Soudan, 1994-1995." Or 65: 234-356.

1997. "Fouilles et travaux en Égypte et au Soudan, 1995-1996." Or 66: 222-363.

1998. "Fouilles et travaux en Égypte et au Soudan, 1996-1997." Or 67: 315-444.

Leclant, J. and A. Minault-Gout.
1999. "Fouilles et travaux en Égypte et au Soudan, 1997-1998. Première partie." Or 68: 313-420.

Vivian, C.
2000. The Western Desert of Egypt. An Explorer’s Handbook. Cairo: AUC Press.

عبد العزيز الدميرى، سيوة الماضى والحاضر، مكتبة حسن ياسو الاسكندرية، 2005، ص 109