Shrine No. 16

last update: 26.03.2008


Shrine No. Name / Transliteration Date

Distance to the Speos of Haremhab
[~ m]

16 Senenmut %n-n-mwt Hatshepsut 376  
All data according to Caminos, 1963

From right to left the shrines No.: 12 (Minnakhte), 13 (Senneferi), 14 (Nehesj), 15 (Hapuseneb), 16 (Senenmut), and - destroyed - 17 (User-amun), all built during the reign of Hatshepsut and Thutmosis III (photo: E. Noppes). The entrances of all shrines were set into shallow recesses formed by cutting back the face of the rock.

The shrine of Senenmut (No. 15) is the 5th one from the right. From the entrance of the shrine the rock descends perpendicular into the river. The photo below shows the entrance of shrine with its decoration.
Above the top of the shrine there is a small uninscribed niche hewn into the rock. Caminos assumes that this niche does not belong originally to the shrine of Senenmut.

The following drawing from Caminos (1963) shows the remaining decoration of the doorway.

The doorway is markedly destroyed, one register of the lintel is completely lost, from the two vertical registers of each jamb only very few areas have survived. Both, lintel and jambs had been originally covered with white plaster, and die incised hieroglyphs had been painted with a color that now turned into a yellow-brown.
The 1st register shows the usual winged sun-disk (BHdtj). Beside the figure on both ends the phrase is written: "[The] Behedetite, the great god." The register is completely covered by the symbol of heaven.
The sign in the 2nd register have been deliberately destroyed, but starting with the central anx-sign Caminos reads:
"Life (to) the first-born daughter of the king [sAt tpy.t nsw], Hatshepsut, beloved of Amun, Lord of the Thrones of the Two Lands, King of Gods."
Based on the same sign at the right end Caminos assumed that a similar text had been carved in the 3rd register which is nearly completely lost.
The two vertical registers at both door-jambs most likely contained the usual offering phrases which ended in each case with tiles and name of Senenmut, justified.
The shrine consists of a single room, approx. 247 cm deep, 245 cm wide and 198 cm high, which housed a seated statue of Senenmut in a niche in the west wall. The flat ceiling had been decorated in antiquity with colored spiral bands.
The walls had been carved with a high quality sunk relief (scene and inscriptions) that was already destroyed in antiquity by the agents of Thutmosis III and later by the iconoclasts of Akhenaton. With exception of some traces of blue on the surrounding kheker-frieze all colors are lost.

The drawing above (Caminos, 1963) shows the decoration of the east wall at both sides of the doorway.

The scenes of the inner sides of the doorway (east wall) show on both sides Senenmut standing with raised arms before a flaming offering-table with a duck. The scene on the right (south) side is more or less completely lost.
The inscription on the left (north) side is translated by Caminos as follows:
"Give praise [to Amun], kissing ground before the lord of the gods by ΄the hereditary prince and count, treasurer of the king of Lower Egypt, sole friend, great steward of the king's daughter, Senenmut, justified".

The drawing above (Caminos, 1963) shows the decoration of the north wall.

The north wall shows Senenmut (right) offering to eight deities arranged in two registers one above the other. The figure of Senenmut as well as the accompanying text have been almost entirely destroyed already in antiquity.
All deities are shown seated holding a wAs-scepter. A table piled with offerings is shown between Senenmut and each row of gods. In the upper row the figure of the 1st god and its accompanying text has been completely destroyed - most likely a figure of Amun had been presented there. The remaining three gods in this row are from right to left: Atum, Nun, and Sobek whose figure was also destroyed.
The lower register shows from right to left: Chnum, Satet (Satis), Anukis, and Haroλris.

The drawing above (Caminos, 1963) shows the decoration of the north wall.

The scene on the south wall was very similar to that on the north was but is much more destroyed. Senenmut was depicted standing on the left side before tables with offerings. Figure and accompanying inscriptions had been markedly mutilated.
Opposite are two registers one above the other showing seated deities. In the upper register none of the inscriptions have been preserved. There is room for four deities but only traces of two have survived.
The lower register shows from left to right: Chnum, Satet (Satis), Anukis, and Sobek

The drawing above (Caminos, 1963) shows the decoration of the west wall.

The west wall is dominated by a niche containing the remains of a seated statue of Senenmut. The niche is about 132 cm high, 77 cm wide, and at maximum 60 cm deep. The bottom of the niche is about 18 cm above the floor of the shrine.
The markedly destroyed statue of Senenmut sits on a bench 47 cm high and appears unusually thick - perhaps in its original state it represented Senenmut with princess Neferu-Ra sitting on his lap.
The lintel above the niche contains two registers, the upper one shows the winged sun-disk with the inscriptions "[The] Behedeti" at both sides, the lower one contains a line of text which is for the most part destroyed. The inscription has been deliberately destroyed during the reign of Thutmosis III and later under Akhenaton. Most likely it contained the name of Hatshepsut and a title of her, however, only the words "... beloved [fem.] of Amun [destroyed], King of Gods, may she live for ever" have survived.
The two vertical lines of text at the jambs contained offering formulas. The southern (left) inscription reads:
"A boon which gives the king to Osiris, the foremost of the westerners, that he may give invocation-offerings consisting of bread, beer, oxen, and fowl [to] the hereditary prince and count, great steward of the god's wife, Senenmut, justified".
The northern (right) inscription on the jamb reads:
"A boon which gives the king to Anubis, who is on his mountain, that he may give everything good and sweet [to] the hereditary prince and count, great steward, Senenmut, justified".
The two panels right and left of the niche originally showed Hatshepsut being embraced by a deity. Both scenes are surmounted by the sign for "heaven" and surrounded a kheker-frieze above and framing bands right and left.
That both scenes contained representations of Hatshepsut - which had been completely erased - is attested by the preserved inscriptions which are addressed to a feminine person.
On the southern (left) panel Hatshepsut is embraced by Sobek. Although the figure of the god has been destroyed beyond recognition, the accompanying identifies him with certainty: "Sobek, Lord of Ombi".
On the northern (right) panel Hatshepsut is embraced by Nekhbet. Here again the deity is defaced but identified by the inscription: "Nekhbet, who propitiates [the Two Lands?]".



Copyright: Dr. Karl H. Leser (Iufaa)