Thursday, June 29, 2017

3D Inner sanctuary of the speos

For those of you who enjoy the 3D models, you will be delighted to find yet another two examples uploaded, showing the northern and southern walls of the inner sanctuary of the speos at Gebel el-Silsila.

view of the inner sanctuary and the main gods of the speos. Photo by Maria Nilsson

The long south wall of the sanctuary is decorated in sunken relief, showing almost 40 seated deities uttering wishes of well being for King Horemheb. They have been often described as an Egyptian pantheon. Turned, however, towards the end wall of the temple, they are here depicted as guests to witness a mythological mystery taking place. Smaller vignettes showing priests adoring gods were later added in an empty lower portion of the wall during the Ramesside period. The destructions visible at the left are traces of eradication or hacking done during the end of the Amarna period. They were concealed under a coating of hard 'plaster' when the wall was restored for new inscriptions.

South wall of the inner sanctuary, photo by Maria Nilsson

The northern wall offers an interesting parallel to the southern wall, It shows another 'pantheon', in fact a group of invited divinities, but standing in two registers and sculptured in true relief. The relief includes 23 figures mixing gods and goddesses. If the destructions are rather related to unfortunate modern looting attempts, some traces of ancient erasures related to the Amarna period can still be seen. The Ramesside presence is this time limited to one line of text added to the right in the lower empty space. However, a viewer with keen eyes for painted and very faded graffiti will find several traces of such too.
North wall of the inner sanctuary, photo by Maria Nilsson

Gebel el Silsila Project - Epigraphic Survey
3D Photography, modelling and anotations by Philippe Martinez, lead epigrapher for the project, CNRS, Sorbonne Universités:

Digital images created with plexus software by Kevin Cain (,


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