The Queen Hatshepsut temple
On the north side of the colonnade, there is a scene that represents the Queen offering four calves to Amon Ra.
The 2nd terrace is now accessed by a ramp; originally it would have had stairs. The famous Punt relief is engraved on the southern side of the 2nd colonnade. The journey to Punt (now called Somalia) was the first pictorial documentation of a trade expedition that was recorded, and discovered, in ancient Egypt; until now. The scenes depict in great detail, the maritime expedition that Queen Hatshepsut sent, via the Red Sea, to Punt, just before the 9th year of her reign (1482 B.C) This famous expedition was headed by her high official, Pa-nahsy, and lasted for 3 years. His mission was to exchange Egyptian merchandise for the products of Punt, especially gold, incense and tropical trees. To the south, there is the shrine of the Goddess Hathor. The court that leads to this chapel has columns, where Hathor, who is shown with a woman’s face and cow’s ears, is carrying a sistrum (a musical tool), yet on the walls, she is depicted as a cow. In this part of the Temple, King Tuthmosis III erased the Queen’s names. On the northern side of the 2nd colonnade, there is a scene depicting the divine birth of Hatshepsut . The Queen claimed that she was the divine daughter of Amon Ra to legitimize her rule. Beyond the colonnade to the North is the chapel of Anubis, god of mummification and the keeper of the necropolis. The 3rd terrace is also accessed by a ramp. It consists of two rows of columns, the front ones taking the Osirid form (a mummy form); unfortunately, Tuthmosis III damaged them. The columns at the rear, sadly, have all been destroyed; also by Tuthmosis III. He obviously bore a real grudge against the former queen!
THE DEIR EL-BAHRI MUMMY CACHEDeir el-Bahri is also the site of a mummy cache, a collection of pharaohs' preserved bodies, retrieved from their tombs during the 21st dynasty of the New Kingdom. Looting of pharaonic tombs had become rampant, and in response, the priests Pinudjem I [1070-1037 BC] and Pinudjem II [990-969 BC] opened the ancient tombs, identified the mummies as best they could, rewrapped them and placed them in one of (at least) two caches: Queen Inhapi's tomb in Deir el-Bahri (room 320) and the Tomb of Amenhotep II (KV35). The Deir el-Bahri cache included mummies of the 18th and 19th dynasty leaders Amenhotep I; Tuthmose I, II, and III; Ramses I and II, and the patriarch Seti I. The KV35 cache included Tuthmose IV, Ramses IV, V, and VI, Amenophis III and Merneptah. In both caches there were unidentified mummies, some of which were set in unmarked coffins or stacked in corridors; and some of the rulers, such as Tutankhamun , were not found by the priests. The mummy cache in Deir el-Bahri was rediscovered in 1875 and excavated over the next few years by French archaeologist Gaston Maspero, director of the Egyptian Antiquities Service. The mummies were removed to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo , where Maspero unwrapped them. The KV35 cache was discovered by Victor Loret in 1898; these mummies were also moved to Cairo and unwrapped. A successful trade mission to a foreign land, however, was not enough to portray Hatshepsut as a good pharaoh or indeed as a pharaoh at all. As a woman, Hatshepsut was defying the norm by being pharaoh, a position reserved by males only. Thus, she had to legitimize her claim to the Egyptian throne. This resulted in the elaborate birth story found on the mortuary temple’s ‘Birth colonnade’. According to the story on the colonnade, Hatshepsut was not a mere mortal but had divine parentage, as the god Amun himself, taking the form of the pharaoh Thutmose I, went to Hatshepsut ’s mother, Ahmose, and impregnated her with his divine breath. Amun then reveals his true self to Ahmose and foretells that Hatshepsut will rule over Egypt. Khnum, the creator of the bodies of human children, is then instructed to form Hatshepsut ’s body and ka (life force). Ahmose is then led by Khnum and Heqet to the birthing chamber and with the help of Meskhenet, Hatshepsut is born. Finally, Hatshepsut is shown suckled by Hathor, whilst her birth is recorded by Seshat. With so many gods involved in her birth, Hatshepsut was almost certain to have cemented her claim as pharaoh. As a point of interest, the same birth story can also be found in Karnak. The colonnade, which leads to the sanctuary of the Temple, has also been severely damaged. This sanctuary consists of two small chapels.
In the Ptolemaic period, a third chapel was added to the sanctuary, which was also decorated with various scenes, the most remarkable being the ones representing Amenhotep, son of Habo (18th Dynasty) who, like Imhotep from the 3rd Dynasty, was another genius architect from Ancient Egypt.
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