Maat-ka-Ra Hatshepsut

History of the Temple Djeser djeseru

last update: 03.01.2012
Phase 2

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.
The contents 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 its vestibule.
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 Chapel of Hathor.

  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 blue).

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. at Lisht.

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 be seen.

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 were started.
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 11 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 to the 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 was terminated. 
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.

Phase 1 under Thutmosis II back

Djeser djeseru Location of the Monument Description of the Monument Djeser djeseru - the times after

Copyright: Dr. Karl H. Leser (Iufaa)