Epigraphic Program of the French-Egyptian Centre for the Study of the Temples of Karnak during the 2015 season

Nov 6, 2018

Orthophotographic example of the central scene on the south face of the western tower. (Karnak, 8th pylon © CNRS-CFEETK/Ph. Soubias.) 

Project description

During the 2015 season the French-Egyptian Centre for the Study of the Temples of Karnak continued their epigraphic programs at the 8thPylon, the Philip Arrhidaeus’ bark-shrine, and the area of the Akh-menu.

Decorative program

The bark-shrine of Philip Arrhidaeus:

The granite naos of Philip Arrhidaeus replaced an earlier repository build during the reign of Tuthmosis III. It is divided into two halves, with an outer area where offerings were made to the gods, and an inner where the god's bark reposed. To see more details of its decorative program, visit the TourEgypt website.

Area of the Akh-menu:

The epigraphic survey of this area concentrated on the central sanctuaries of the Akh-menuand the “northern storerooms”.

Documentation method

The 8thPylon:

“For this second season, the first objective was to complete the photographic documentation realized with the photogrammetry to produce very high-resolution documents allowing a vector drawing from digital files.”

The bark-shrine of Philip Arrhidaeus:

“Part of the 2015 season aimed at checking the drawings of the scenes for the publication. The facsimiles of the scenes of the first room were verified. The scenes are painted in green, for both texts and figures. The checking of the drawings of the second room is currently ongoing.”

The Central sanctuaries of the Akh-menu and “Northern Storerooms”:

“This epigraphic and conservation programme is led in partnership with the Univeristy of Tübingen (Prof. Chr. Leitz). For the area studied by our German colleagues, J. Maucor (photographer USR 3172-CNRS) and K. Guadagnini (surveyor VI MAEDI) have provided high resolution orthophotographs allowing to draw the scenes and texts on the computer. 

This season, the first verifications of the drawings were undertaken, in particular to complete the drawings with traces of colors which appeared after the important cleaning and conservation work.”

Visual example(s)

Philipp Arrhidaeus in front of Amun, north wall of the first room. 

Drawing of the southern wall of the Alexander’ Chapel, first register, western part © A. Rickert. 


What we like

  • Clean, single-weight lines representing the carved decorative surface, modelling is indicated by solid lines giving more character to the main figures.
  • Larger damaged, eroded or unreadable areas are indicated by dotted outlines toned down by applying a much lighter, almost invisible gray color.
  • Preliminary sketches, such as traces of grids, coloumn lines and painted hieroglyphs that are still visible on the decorative surface are higlighted in pale red color adding valuable extra information to the documentation. 
  • Areas that hold special interest because of later reuse are indicated by a specific light gray pattern fill.
  • The painted decorative program is well represented - even at its mostly fragmented state - by the introduction of color as an additional visul aid. Each painted area - despite their various level of degradation - is indicated with a specific hue and a homogeneous fill bringing a level of clarity to overall understandability.

Additional reading

For the original context of the material appearing in this article see the 2015 activity report of the French-Egyptian Centre for the study of the temples of Karnak (Luxor, 2016):

Sébastien Biston-Moulin, Elizabeth Frood – The 8th Pylon: pages 7-8.

Christophe Thiers, A. Tillier – The bark-shrine of Philipp Arrhidaeus: page 38. 

Christophe Thiers, Christian Leitz, Sébastien Biston-Moulin – The Central sanctuaries of the Akh-menuand “Northern Storerooms”: pages 39-40.

For more information on this project, and additional information about the many different projects carried out by the French-Egyptian Centre (CFEETK), visit their homepage.

Précis and commentary by Júlia Schmied

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