The Temple of Tuthmosis III at Deir el-Bahari

Nov 16, 2018

Fig. 1. Fragment of a royal feather dress, before (left) and after cleaning (Photos M. Szewczyk, M. Dolińska)

Project description

The Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology’s present project began in 2008, with the aim of completing the study, restoration and publication of the Deir el-Bahari temple of Tuthmosis III. The work is the continuation of a previous mission led by prof. Jadwiga Lipińska, which was suspended in 1996.

Decorative program

“The building of the Djeser-akhet temple took place late in the reign of Tuthmosis III; the beginnings of construction work can be dated securely today to year 45 of the ruler’s reign, even though royal building activity on this spot began several years earlier. Destruction of the temple of Hatshepsut in Deir el-Bahari most likely began parallel to the building of Djeser- akhet… The entrance to the Djeser-akhet was enlarged when the temple was already standing and its decoration was complete. There is evidence to suggest this may have taken place in year 49 of Tuthmosis III. One may suspect that after building the new sanctuary Tuthmosis III also funded a new, larger and more lavishly decorated bark for the Theban Amun, which required more priestly carriers. This, in turn, necessitated the widening of all entrances to spaces which the bark visited or which lay in its path during the festive procession.”

Between 2011 and 2013 the mission’s documentation work concentrated on scenes located in the Hypostyle Hall, the Bark Room, and rooms D, G and H. The scenes around the granite portal were also studied: “One of the few elements of the temple surviving in place is the granite doorway in the entrance from the Hypostyle Hall to the Bark Hall, important for its state of preservation, location, iconography and color scheme.” It had been remodeled, “the jambs having been pushed apart in order to widen the passageway”. 

Documentation method

All the reconstructed and localized scenes were drawn using CorelDraw and/or Adobe Illustrator.

Visual example(s)

Scenes from the relief decoration of the Tuthmosis III temple: top right, suckling scene with Hathor and a god; bottom right, Nile gods decorating the entrance to Room D; left, scene with the king and Amun on the south side of the granite portal (Drawing M. Puszkarski [top and bottom right] and H. Lewak, G. Zborowska [left]).

Bark Hall, east wall with centrally located entrance, state after the widening of the doorway (PCMA Tuthmosis III Temple Project/drawing K. Baturo, G. Zborowska, M. Momot).

Bark Hall, east wall with centrally located entrance, state before the widening of the doorway (PCMA Tuthmosis III Temple Project/drawing M. Momot).

What we like

  • Carved decorative elements are presented by clean, single-weight outlines with the least possible amount of surface damage indicated. Occasionally, internal painted details, such as crown, collar or dress related design elements, are added as thinner light gray outlines.

  • Block outlines are shown by solid lines, damaged areas (specifically along block edges) are added as a homogeneous gray fill.

  • Reconstructed elements, while integral parts of the drawings, are represented in an unobtrusive fashion, indicated by either solid or dashed single-weight light gray outlines.

  • Color photographs of fragments, when placed within reconstructed scenes, demonstrate the original color scheme.

Additional reading

For the original context of the material appearing in this article, see:

Monika Dolińska - Temple of Tuthmosis III at Deir el-Bahari, Seasons 2010–2011 

Monika Dolińska -Deir el-Bahari – Temple of Tuthmosis III, campaigns 2012–2013 

Janina Wiercińska - More remarks on the enlarged doorway in the Djeser-akhet temple of Tuthmosis III at Deir el-Bahari

For additional information about the many different projects carried out by the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw, visit their website.

Précis and commentary by Júlia Schmied

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