The Great Aten Temple Rises Again

Ariel Photograph of the Great Aten east court

“copyright 2012, The Amarna Project.” Ariel Photograph of the Great Aten east court.

Famed Egyptologist Professor Barry Kemp came to Colorado to address The Amarna Research Foundation members and the Egyptian Study Society. He presented his current work on the reclamation of the Great Aten Temple at Amarna (Akhetaten) current day El-Till once built by Pharaoh Akhenaten in the 18th Dynasty. Starting in the Spring of 2012, the team excavated the area and painstakingly cleared the area of rubble  from the previous 1932 Pendlebury expedition only  to discover the gypsum concrete foundation and the northern mud brick pylon.

Although the villagers of El-Till have erected a brick wall enclosing a cemetery near the once magnificent Aten Temple and have used this area for rubbish, the Ministry of State for Antiquities approved The Amarna Foundation’s clean up.  Imagine using a sieve to save the broken fragments from ancient statues and columns lead by Kristin Thompson.  There was a tremendous amount of red quartzite, black granite and purple sandstone fragments discovered along with red incense lumps.  After the area was cleaned a group of local construction workers started to lay new courses of limestone blocks upon the gypsum mortar foundation and sand bed.

The Amarna Project." The northern view of the excavations, with the brick pylon at the left. In the foreground the brick ramp inside the pylon threshold.

“copyright 2012, The Amarna Project.” The northern view of the excavations, with the brick pylon at the left. In the foreground the brick ramp inside the pylon threshold.

Evidence of the grandeur of the Great Aten Temple with its entry pylon and 5 flagpoles exists in the tomb of  Panehsy, the High Priest of Amarna. In Mery-Ra’s tomb there was a depiction of offering tables piled high with food. The 920 limestone bases of the offering tables have also been recently discovered. Pharaoh Akhenaten decreed on his Boundary Stelae that the ‘House of the Aten’ would be the first construction that he would create in his new city of the sun.

It is a great historic event to witness this undertaking.  Funds are encouraged to continue the preservation of the Great Aten Temple and the cataloging of the statuary fragments. To make a donation or to become a member: http://theamarnaresearchfoundation.org/events.html

Barry Kemp and Merrie P Wycoff at The Amarna Research Foundation

Barry Kemp and Merrie P Wycoff at The Amarna Research Foundation event in Colorado-September 2012

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One Response to The Great Aten Temple Rises Again

  1. Pingback: Spring Digs Discover a New Ancient Egyptian Aten Temple

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