Monday, April 23, 2007

Ancient Egyptian flood prevention at Karnak Temple

"Remains of an ancient Egyptian wall used to prevent the leakage of the Nile flood waters from spreading over the Karnak temple in Luxor were discovered on Thursday at the temple's eastern side, culture minister Farouk Hosni announced on Sunday.
Hosni revealed that the wall was accidentally found by Egyptian excavators during an archeological inspection of the site undertaken as part of a development project aimed at removing encroachments accumulated over the years on the temple's different sides.
Zahi Hawass, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), explained that the newly-discovered wall is only 400 km long and 7m in height.
More excavations will reveal more relevant structures, said Hawass.
The wall was originally built of huge sandstone blocks brought from Al-Selsela area in Aswan to stop the water from reaching the temple during the annual Nile floods.
Hawass added that early studies on the wall and the decorated blocks scattered around it, showed that several kings had contributed to its construction.
The earliest was during the 25th Dynasty and the latest was during the reign of King Psammuthis of the 29th Dynasty, all of which assert that the construction of the wall started in the 26th Dynasty and lasted until the reign of King Nekhtanebu, the one who built the Karnak templeĆ¢€™s first Pylon.
Sabri Abdel Aziz, head of the ancient Egyptian department in the SCA, remarked that the discovery is important in as far as it highlights how ancient Egyptians protected the Karnak temple from the Nile flood.
It also reveals that temples built on the banks of the Nile were protected from the Nile flood by walls which led to the formation of several river islands in front of these temples that were inhabited by Egyptians during the Greco-Roman era.
Greco-Roman clay pots and pans were also found."


Paul said...

A 400 km long 7 foot high wall is pretty significant... did they mean to type 400 cm (4 metres)? - thankyou for keeping this blog updated I find it really useful. Best wishes, Paul

Andie said...

Well spotted! Dimensions are one of the things that are frequently wrongly reported.
Hopefully clarification of these dimensions will come from another source. Al Ahram Weekly, which is usually updated late on Thursdays, may have something either this week or next. I'll keep an eye open.
Glad you find the blog useful.
All the best.