Color enhanced pencil drawings applied on the Osiris Temple fragments found at Abydos

May 10, 2020

The exact location and nature of the Temple of Osiris at Abydos have been the subjects of ongoing speculation in Egyptology. Modest cultic buildings excavated more than a century ago by W. M. F. Petrie in the ancient town site have been interpreted by some scholars as including the temple of the god proper, while others have disagreed, arguing that the main temple had yet to be identified at the site. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Institute of Fine Arts excavations (@digabydos), supervised by Michelle Marlar since 2004, have revealed the remains of two superimposed architectural phases of a major temple building, very possibly the main temple of Osiris at Abydos. Most of the structure’s much-denuded remains belong to Egypt’s 30th dynasty. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Additionally, a number of inscriptions of 18th Dynasty kings have been found on decorated blocks reused in its walls, suggesting that the temple’s earliest phase may have been constructed during the New Kingdom. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

A significant number of stone blocks decorated with painted relief, as well as decorated and inscribed architectural elements, and literally thousands of fragments of relief, inscriptions, and sculpture, have been recovered in the excavations. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

During previous seasons, hundreds of pencil drawings were created on matte acetate paper representing the most significant fragments in color! Once sketched up in the field, each drawing had to be scanned and digitally enhanced in the studio. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

The carved decorative elements received the traditional sun-shadow treatment in line with the Chicago House method (@theorientalinstitute). Nonetheless, the color pencil layer remained integral part of the final versions, providing tremendous extra information for reconstructing the wall scenes.

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