History of the Temple Djeser djeseru
|Plan of the temple of Hatshepsut, in red the mortuary chapel of the queen, in
ochre that one of her father, Thutmosis I; in blue the room with the window, in yellow the sun-altar in the Chapel of Ra; 1 - Chapel of Amun, 2
- Chapel of the ithyphallic Amun; 3 - upper, and 4 - lower Chapel of Anubis
|According to Wysocki Hatshepsut changed the spatial plan after her accession to the throne: according to her ideas the upper terrace was redesigned and extended and the entire temple
increased eastwards by additional terraces. Due to the inscriptions of the oldest
foundation deposits the first plans for the change of the temple date from the beginning of their
reign because they call her modestly "Daughter the Sun God". Later inscriptions
found in another series of foundation deposits which marked the extensions to the east called
her "King of Upper and Lower Egypt", the titles points to the
middle of her reign (see below). In the interpretation of Wysocki (Wysocki,
Z., "The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahari - The Raising of
the Structure in View of Architectural Studies", MDAIK 48, 1992) this
indicates that the building of the temple was executed by Hatshepsut at least
in 2 stages.
|In the phase 2, stage 1 the upper terrace was changed. The western wall had
been erected under Thutmosis II as straight wall, only interrupted by the limestone portal that
formed the entrance to the
main sanctuary. Both wings on the right and the left of the portal received 5 high and 4 low niches on each
side. According Wysocki (ibid.) thereby the western wall had to be partly
taken to pieces - with the exception of the area of the the portal - before it
was built in the current form. In the area of the portal the stone blocks
remained in their original arrangement.
Wysocki assumed that the reason for the change was to rebuilt the
main shrine erected by Thutmosis II. But due to the change it is not
ascertainable to what extent the main sanctuary had been built under Thutmosis II and
how many room it has had. But the preserved frame of the old limestone portal and the decoration at its
eastern wall suggest that the cavity cut into the rock was at least partly
finished. Probably, even an altar was already present as indicated by an
ostracon (found on the surface of the now visible vault built in the 2. stage)
which probably refers to offerings brought to the sanctuary.
|During the alteration of the sanctuary the
rock around the ledge had to be partly cut out so that heavy large blocks
could be installed above the new rooms. Afterwards, the damaged part of the
rock-ledge had to be filled again with debris. However, to avoid the danger
that the apparent vault would collapse under the pressure of the debris an
appropriate relieving construction built of stone slabs in the form of a
triangle above the first chamber of the sanctuary was installed.
of the two ostraca refer to this stage. One reports "4. Month of Akhet (inundation),
day 16. Beginning
of opening the doorway to the temple in the mountain of Djeseru" which is interpreted
- following other inscriptions - as the beginning of cutting out the rock cave.
|The 2nd ostracon reports "Year 11, 3. Month of Akhet, day 27, when the rise
leading to the shrine was opened". In contrast to
former authors Wysocki believes that the 1. ostracon refers to the beginning and
the 2. to the completion of the work above the
sanctuary in the year 11 of Hatshepsut (and/or the Thutmosis III what is identical).
|Western wall of the upper terrace with portal to the main
sanctuary and the niches with Osiride statues of Hatshepsut; over it the retaining wall for the rock-ledge; April 2001
Niche of the western wall with an Osiride statue of Hatshepsut
|In the same building phase the southern part of the temple was
re-arranged. South-east from the Chapel of the ithyphallic Amun (2) a chapel for Thutmosis I (marked
ochre in the plan above)
was added. For the installation of a false-door in the Chapel of Thutmosis
I the wall to the Chapel of the ithyphallic Amun was partially taken down. Along the southern wall of the
Chapels of the ithyphallic Amun and of Thutmosis
I a chapel for Hatshepsut herself was built.
|While building the southern chapels
at the same time also the work on the south wall of the upper terrace was begun or
resumed. Due to the architectural analyses it seems certain that at this time a large area -
roofed over or as an atrium - was planned in front of the Chapels of
Hatshepsut and Thutmosis I. After completion of the southern wall the room in
front of both chapels was divided by a transverse wall into the room with the
window and an
antechamber to the chapels (see photo below).
|South-east view of the upper terrace, on the left the great gate
leading to the 2nd terrace, back in the corner the entrance to the room with the
window (right of it); further to the right between the two
columns there is the door to the chapels of Hatshepsut and Thutmosis I; April 2001
|Also the work on the northern side of the upper terrace was continued.
The walls around the Sun court were obviously completed and two niches were
added (one in western direction to the
Chapel of Amun,
the other one in southern direction to the center of the upper terrace; see
photo below). Also here in the northern part different layers of stones,
joints with adjacent walls etc. point to different building phases.
|According to Wysocki the investigations of the Sun court
revealed marks preserved on the socle layer of its southern
wall which indicated that originally a portico with 3 rows of columns were
planned in front of the upper Chapel of Anubis. However, this
was never realized just as doorway in the wall separating the Sun yard from
|Today is assumed that the solar cult complex was originally
planned with 3 niches, and that the installation of the upper shrine of Anubis
which replaced the northern niche must be attributed to the later extension of
the temple (Szafranski, 2010).
|The assignment of the upper shrine of Anubis to a later
extension of the temple is supported by the finding that the
Hatshepsut-cryptogram was only used in the chapel as a final upper element of
the wall decoration, while in all other chapels of the upper terrace only the
Kheker frieze was used (Sankiewicz, 2008). In addition, Sankiewiecz shows that
in the decoration of the temple at Deir el-Bahari three different types of the
Hatshepsut-cryptogram were used - each type obviously represents a different phase of
development of the temple. In the upper shrine of Anubis the last variant (the
body of the cobra rises from a double loop) was used.
|View of the northern wall, right in the corner there is the
entrance to the Chapel of Ra; April 2001
|Chapel of Ra with remains of the altar; on the right the entrance to the
upper Chapel of Anubis, opposite in the wall to the Chapel of Amun a niche and on the left
the other niche; April 2001
|Also the work on the 2. portico (with the Hall of Punt and the
Hall of Birth) below the 3. terrace was continued since its completion before the
erection of the pillars of the
portico in front of the 3. terrace was compellingly necessary. Probably, already at
the same time the craftsmen were also working on the
||The 2. building phase of the temple under Hatshepsut refers to the extension
towards the east by the building of the middle and lower
terraces. In this area numerous foundation-deposits of Hatshepsut had been found
(her 1st series marked by Winlock A - F are represented by the circles in light
With the extension of the temple to the east
some older buildings had to be considered, i.e. where today the 1. ramp leads from the lower to the
2nd terrace there had been a Chapel of Amenhotep I (see plan on the left, Green; according to Wysocki, MDAIK 48, 1992, north of this chapel was the tomb of a queen called Neferu,
from the 11. Dynasty (Red in the map). The positions of the 1st series of foundation-deposits
(Blue) to the east prove that
Hatshepsut - probably still at the beginning of her own reign - wanted or had to
show consideration to these buildings because the first extension to the east should end - seen from the temple - before the today's 1. terrace (1. portico with the Hall of Obelisks and Hall of Hunting). Therefore,
the Chapel of Amenhotep I would have lain before the today's 2nd terrace (now it is just under the 1. portico), the exterior installations of the queen's
tomb would have become a part of the facade of Djeser djeseru.
Further foundation-deposits suggest that a ramp to the 2nd terrace was planned on the left of (south) the current ramp (Wysocki, ibid.).
Mud-brick enclosure wall of the temple of Mentuhotep II seen form the
Chapel of Hathor (photo Elke Noppes, 1995).
|As the first step the extension to the east requires the
building of a southern retaining wall (on the side
to the temple of Mentuhotep II) for the 2nd terrace. The middle - and later also
the lower - terrace both partly cover the northern enclosure wall of the district
of Mentuhotep (see photo above). The retaining wall for the 2nd terrace runs straight along the southern flank of the upper terrace for the today's
southern flank of the 1. portico (see photos below).
Southern retaining wall of the 2nd terrace, in front of it the remains of
the enclosure wall (photo by Elke Noppes, 1995)
The lower part of the southern retaining wall of the 2nd terrace is
clearly decorated like the facade of a palace and remind one of the
decoration of the enclosure wall of the temenos of Djoser at Saqqara. One probably must assume that this "classical" decoration
should form an alliance with old traditions.
|Above the decoration with the facade of a palace the
upper part of the retaining wall is decorated in intervals with an Horus,
wearing the double-crown, and a sun-disk above the falcon with an uraeus
wearing an ankh.
The decoration of the retaining wall with palace facades which are crowned
by falcons has obviously its model in the pyramid complex of Senwosret I.
The courtyard of this pyramid complex is surrounded by an enclosure
wall of limestone which carries a unique decoration on the inner as well
as on the outer side. Both wall surfaces carry in a distance of 5 m. high,
completely decorated panels which projected about 2 cm. out of the wall
and are topped by a falcon with a double crown (see drawing on the left;
from Arnold 1988).
The lower third carries an approximately full-size, fecundity God - a
corpulent figure with a long beard and long hair. The figure holds an
offering mat with a bread and two vessels, on long tapes 2
anx-signs hang down, in
between is a huge wAs-sign to
The middle third shows the representation of a palace facade. A gate
with bolts and hinges can be recognized in the middle of the facade. Each
gate is shown between two tower-like projections on both sides.
In the upper third the panels shows in each case a combination of the
Horus-name of the Senwosret I. [anX-mswt]
and alternately his birth-names
s.n-wsr.t or his throne-name Kheper-ka-Ra.
Above all sits a carefully worked Horus falcon with double crown.
|The Chapel of Hathor itself and the ramp to this chapel
are located south of this line - i.e. below - the retaining wall
of the 2nd terrace. Probably, the Chapel of Hathor and the portico with three
rows of columns lying in front of it were already finished before the work on the southern retaining wall and the ramp to the chapel
|The changes carried out on the Sun Court on the 3rd terrace
which led to the omission of a portico in front of the [upper] Chapel of
Anubis consequently resulted in the building of a 2nd [lower] Chapel of Anubis
at the northern side of the portico of the 2nd terrace.
|In order to achieve a
balanced appearance of the facade another portico was added in front of the
Chapel of Hathor. Thus, from the Chapel of Hathor at the southern wing
of the portico to lower Chapel of Anubis at the northern side the facade
presented a symmetrical appearance. The photos above show clearly that
the facade of portico of the Chapel of Hathor lies in front (and
overlapping) the portico of the 2nd terrace.
|Perhaps also the "northern
colonnade or portico" on the 2nd terrace belongs to this building phase.
However, this portico has never been finished. Frequently, the death of the queen
was stated as the reason for abandoning the work on this portico but according
to Wysocki the most probable reason was, however, that the work collided
with the tomb of Meryt-Amun located underneath the
colonnade (see plan above, Yellow). Possibly, the building of the northern
colonnade may belong to the 3rd and last building phase. The use of large
sandstone architraves may be an argument for the last building phase. The use
of this material for load-bearing elements of comparable buildings came into
fashion under successor of Hatshepsut, Thutmosis III. The use of sandstone in
the northern colonnade may point to a beginning change in the "way of
building" and, thus, to a later building phase.
Furthermore, additional changes were made in the whole temple, i.e. the decoration
of the court of the 3. terrace was continued or finished, the gradient of the ramp from the middle
courtyard to the
3. terrace was lowered by an extension, on the 3. terrace the limestone gate to the main shrine
was replaced by a granite portal (see below), whereby - as indicated by traces
left behind by repairs - the decoration of the western wall was damaged by the installation of the
new portal since it was larger than the old one.
|Sometime in this building phase also the granite portal in the eastern wall
which leads from the portico of the 3.
terrace to the courtyard was erected. Analyses of the construction showed that this granite portal was
intended for this wall of the courtyard thus, it was not inserted afterwards
like the opposite granite portal at the entrance of the main sanctuary.
|View through the granite gate of the eastern wall to the
granite gate of the main sanctuary of Amun (photo: Werbrouck, 1949)
|During the 3. and last building phase under Hatshepsut
the lower portico between the lower and 2nd terrace was built and the lower terrace
extended to the east. Foundation-deposits which
marked the eastern border of the lower terrace contained scarabs that called Hatshepsut
queen of Upper and Lower Egypt.
As the scarabs show the extensions were
obviously carried out at a time when the queen was on the height of her power because now
she let dismantle the Chapel of Amenhotep I and the front of the tomb of the queen Neferu
was covered by the northern wing of the portico.
|| Furthermore, remarkable differences between the lower
portico in comparison with the
upper porticos lead to the assumption that probably another architect was
responsible for the building of the lower portico .
The ceiling is carried in both wings by 2x
pillars resp. columns whereby the front row consists of rectangular
pillars but the row behind consists of septangular columns. This type of column does not occur
anywhere else in the entire temple.
In comparison with the upper porticos also the pillars are modified (see
photo left), the front are cut rectangular, the back
are however - to see as here - "rounded" by 5 edges, i.e. the
pillars are changing into columns!
The row of sandstone sphinxes which had been put up along the procession way from the
Valley Temple to Djeser djeseru continued at the
lower and also at the 2nd terrace but on the last one made of granite.
The ramp from the lower to the middle courtyard was shifted
central west-east axis of the temple whereby the remains of the Chapel of Amenhotep
I were covered. However, showing her respect to queen Neferu Hatshepsut
let built a new entrance to her tomb on the 2nd terrace.
|| Also all work on the portico in front of the Chapel of Hathor, the associated ramp, and to the
enclosure wall of the temple
In the area between the 2nd terrace and the enclosure wall
Naville discovered a foundation-deposit that most likely refers to
the Chapel of Hathor. The 90 mc deep hole contained a large number
of tools, among them e.g. 50 hoes showing the cartouche of Hatshepsut, 1
bronze knife with her cartouche, etc. - totally 150 objects, some
of them were depicted in his report on the excavations (left: Plate CLXVIII
from Naville, 1894 - 1908).
Finally, the procession way from Djeser djeseru to the Valley
Temple at the marshes was probably finished.