Universitätsbibliothek HeidelbergUniversitätsbibliothek Heidelberg
loading ...
1 cm
OCR fulltext


The excavations of this season at Deir el Bahari were not on a large
scale ; they were merely intended to complete the work of clearing the
temple, which had been carried on during the three preceding campaigns.

Although at the end of last winter, it could be said that the temple
was practically cleared, the excavation was still at some points in-
complete. The enclosure wall on the south was still encumbered, and
the retaining wall of the Hathor Shrine was visible to but half its depth :
now, the enclosure wall is not only entirely bared, but it is separated by a
broad open space from the mounds of rubbish, which cover tombs and
structures older than the temple of Hatshepsu.

The building is unique in its kind, and, as we can now see the whole
of it, we may apply ourselves to the study of the numerous questions
suggested by its plan, and by the details of style adopted by the archi-
tect, Senmut. There is no other Egyptian temple known to us which is
built on a rising succession of platforms ; and we are therefore without
comparisons for our guidance in seeking to ascertain how the architect
was led to the adoption of this scheme. To some extent it may have
been suggested to him by the nature of the site at his disposal, by the
huge steps in which the rock of the foundations descends to the plain.
What was the distinctive use of each of the three platforms on which
the temple was built ? Our excavations have proved that the lowest
platform was treated as the garden, or rather the orchard, of the temple,
and that the trees planted in it were artificially watered. But the
central and most extensive of the platforms, on the one side abutting
against the cliffs, and on the other supported by a decorated re-
taining wall, seems to have been a clear space, and may be considered
as corresponding to the spacious colonnaded courts preceding the
sanctuaries in temples of both Pharaohs and Ptolemies. Neither have
we any certainty as to the proposed use of the four unfinished chambers
opening on to the colonnade on the northern side of the Middle Platform.