The Pennsylvania     State University 1997

Excavations at East Karnak (Ancient Thebes)

    Annually from 1975 to 1991 the Akhenaten Temple Project mounted 17 campaigns of excavation immediately east of the temple of Amun. Here it was discovered that, from the 7th through 4th centuries B.C., a domestic quarter of the city had expanded comprising villas typical of the time. Beneath this level was discovered the western half of the first temple constructed by Akhenaten the monotheistic heretic king, and dedicated to his sole god, the sun-disc. Hundreds of relief scenes carved in sandstone had been coming to light since about 1840, recycled as fill in later constructions. With these excavations we now know one of the temples from which they came, and through careful analysis have been able to ascertain on which walls the reliefs originally stood. If we could ever realize the funds and opportunity, a physical reconstruction of at least part of the temple would certainly be possible. In light of the revolutionary nature of the king's program in art and religion, such a reconstruction would be of immense fascination.


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Published 11/10/2000.
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