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 (,

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

3D Ramesside Royal Stelae West Bank

More amazing 3D models from Gebel el-Silsila, now showing the three royal stelae on the west bank.

The main model shows an overview of the three stelea, which are situated along the cenotaph road on the west bank of the Nile. They have been preserved between two quarried surfaces. They were erected, from south to north - or left to right - by Ramses III, Sheshonq I and Ramses IV respectively. They clearly have been the subject of a local cult and below them are to be seen the traces of the Nile flood that reached their foot annually at the beginning of the summer.

There are also individual models of the three stelae:


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

Digital models created with plexus software by Kevin Cain (,

New models from the Speos

The Silsila Team is happy to announce yet some more 3D models from within the Speos or Rock-cut temple of the west bank.

The two models show the Northern and Southern side of the Eastern wall of the sancturary, divided by the doorway.

The Northern side shows divinities related to the control of the Nile Flood and connected to Aswan and the first cataract, as well as the local site of Kheny (Silsila). It is interestingly carved in relief for the upper part and in sunken relief for the lower.

The Southern side shows divinities related to the control of the Nile Flood, this time the Osirian family connected to Abydos in Middle Egypt, but also with Nubia and the South where the Nile flood came from.

Dr Martinez in the speos

Photography, modeling and anotations by Philippe Martinez, CNRS, Sorbonne Universités, Lead Epigrapher for the Silsila Project:

Digital models created with plexus software by Kevin Cain (,

Thursday, June 22, 2017

New 3D models, Shrine 4 Gebel el-Silsila West

The Project is happy to announce that yet another two 3D-models have been uploaded to our Sketchfab page, this time focusing on Cenotaph/Shrine 4 on the West Bank. The first model shows the shrine as it is preserved today, while the second shows a digital reconstruction and interpretation of how it may have looked prior to the earthquake. 

Fractured statue group in shrine 4, photograph John Ward

3D image current preservation (here)
3D image digital reconstruction (here)
3D photography and model by Stefan Lindgren, HumLab, Lund University

still image of the digital reconstruction by Stefan Lindgren

The monument in focus is a niche located on the southern side of ‘shrine 4’ (James and Caminos 1963, 16-18) that has been broken in three parts due to a fracture in the bedrock plausibly caused by a natural catastrophe/earthquake. The room initially measured 1.27 m deep x 1.50 m high. Three statues are seated on a bench, facing forward towards the north-facing opening/door. The three statues depict two men and a woman. While there are no preserved inscriptions or decoration, it can be presumed that the main male figure depicts a man called Djehutmose, who was a scribe of the treasury during the 18th or early 19th Dynasty (based on an adjacent, plausibly associated hieroglyphic text) (James and Caminos 1963, 16). 

Shrine 4, Gebel el-Silsila West, photograph by John Ward
This shrine, together with 31 more, are currently re-documented and prepared for a new and updated publication, which will include not only the original epigraphy, but also later graffiti, architectural components, and state of preservation by the current archaeological project on site. By means of newer, digital equipment and software, painted details faded to the naked eye, become visible and bring more information in terms of each shrine’s original decoration (see some examples attached herein).

original photo from the ceiling in shrine 4, photograph by Maria Nilsson

D-Streched image emphasizing certain colours

Original photo of one of the statues in shrine 4, photograph by Maria Nilsson

Image in DStrech revealing original colour

Original photo of painted and etched graffiti in Shrine 4, photograph by Maria Nilsson

Details in DStrech

Link to DStrech software here 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Silsila 3D images on Sketchfab!

Dear all,
the Gebel el Silsila Team is delighted to share with you some exciting new 3D-images viewable on

The two published models mark the beginning of a new step in the project, aiming to share with the greater audience and our wonderful, supportive followers some of the unique reproductions of various (published) monuments on site.

We hope you will enjoy as much as we do!

Model 1: Scene of Goddess Taweret suckles the king, Gebel el Silsila West Bank

The relief is situated in the rock-cut temple dating to the 18th Dynasty, and more precisely to the time of Tutankhamun/Horemheb (around 1330 BC). It shows the king as a young boy, suckling the local goddess Taweret (often shown as a hippopotamus, but here as an elegant woman), witnessed by his godly protectors Amun, King of the Gods,  Khnum, god of birth, and Sobek, the local crocodile god and companion of Taweret. Through the divine milk, the king becomes superhuman and thus has the power necessary to interact with the gods and the sacred. This ritual seems to have been part of the crowning ceremonies.

overview of the southern scene, photo: Maria Nilsson

Model 2: Horemheb presenting offerings to Amun-Ra and Mut

This relief is located in the short passage between the main hall and the sanctuary, on the northern wall of the passage, in the rock-cut temple of the West Bank. It shows King Horemheb making an offering to the Theban gods, Amun-Ra and Mut. The figures and texts are sculptured in sunken relief, usually applied for outside decoration, but then everywhere after the Amarna period.

king offering to Amun-Ra and Mut, photo: Maria Nilsson

3D Photography, Modeling and anotations: Philippe Martinez, CNRS, Sorbonne Universités,

Digital models created with plexus, software by Kevin Cain (,