Heavily modified fragment from Khonsu Temple showing the king in front of an offering table

Jun 29, 2020

The following fragment drawing might look a bit simple in comparison with the much larger and more elaborate drawing segments presented in earlier posts. Nonetheless, KhF0012 is one of the most significant pieces the Survey had the fortune to document in the Temple of Khonsu at Karnak.

The project was designed to salvage the decorative surfaces of the reused fragments taken from dismantled older monuments and built into the floors, walls, and roof of the Ramesside Khonsu Temple at Karnak. Starting in 2008, the Epigraphic Survey carried out a program of recording the reused blocks (typically turned inward by the Twentieth Dynasty builders) in conjunction with a restoration project supported by the American Research Center in Egypt.

The application of sheets of aluminum foil to be inserted into cracks to create rubbings of the surfaces is an excellent example of how the Chicago House Method has been adapted to suit unusual conditions. The content of the reliefs has proven to be unexpectedly rich, and the preliminary analysis suggests that some of the inscribed material recycled by Ramesses III in the foundations and floors originates from an earlier temple, also dedicated to Khonsu, most probably dated to the 18th Dynasty.

Some fragments, like KhF0012, suggest that the temple's construction history didn't stop there. As can be seen on this 18th Dynasty king figure, there were multiple stages of carving applied in raised relief, extending the construction history into the reign of Ramesses II (thoroughly labeling his activity with his own cartouches on numerous blocks). As part of this update, the Thutmoside facial features were heavily modified according to Ramesside stylistic attributes (strong forehead with more angular, larger nose, and chin line heavily affected by the Amarna style). To be continued...

This post was originally released as part of digitalEPIGRAPHY's growing Instagram collection. If you'd like to see our latest photos as soon as we post them, please follow us on Instagram.

Back to Gallery

What to see next