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Was Memphis founded on the Nile's east bank?

 
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Mennefer
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:20 am    Post subject: Was Memphis founded on the Nile's east bank? Reply with quote

Although it has been a known fact for some time that the Nile south of the Delta has moved eastwards since ancient times, I came across this map based on research by Katy Lutley suggesting that the river once flowed several kilometers west of today's Mit-Rahina. Is it safe to assume that the great temple of Ptah (Hutkaptah) originally was built on what was then (late Old Kingdom?) the east bank of the Nile, and that the river at some point in history passed the city and temple area to the east?
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Serena Love : Whats in a Name ? Questioning the Old Kingdom Capital of Memphis, Egypt. - In: Papers of the Institute of Archaeology 14. - 2003. - pp. 52 - 65.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Lutz, your contribution is helpful as always! Judging by Love's paper, I gather that Old Kingdom Memphis was a "migrating" settlement, or perhaps more likely a number of interconnected urban areas primarely built around the pyramids on the west bank. Only one of these "pyramid towns" (the Mennefer of Pepi) survived as a permanent settlement after the OK, hence the name?

The question is when the Hutkaptah was founded at Mit-Rahina? If I recall correctly, the earliest traces of the main temple was dated to the Middle Kingdom.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mennefer wrote:
... The question is when the Hutkaptah was founded at Mit-Rahina? ...

The ancient writers mention two different founders. Herodot, derived his information in his own words by the priests of Ptah, called Menes. Manetho called Athotis, the son of Menes, the founder. The name "men-nefer" is since the 6th. Dynasty occupied, initially for the pyramid city of Pepi I.

The original royal palace / fortress from the 1st. Dynasty is known under the name "inb-hd" (White Wall ---> Chasechemui / Djoser). The Greek authors use these term only for a certain part of the city of there time. It is therefore very likely that it was probably the oldest, built according to the mentioned authors from white limestone.

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Ahmad Badawi : Memphis als zweite Landeshauptstadt im Neuen Reich. - Cairo : IFAO, 1947. - 155p., XIII pl.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe also of some interest ...

Dorothy J. Thompson : Memphis Under the Ptolemies. - Princeton : University Press, 1988. - ISBN : 0-691-03593-8. - XVII, 342 p.

Chapter 1: The Second City

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting article, thanks.

Speaking of Memphis and Hutkaptah, I'm curious about this reconstruction of the ramesside west gate. What is known about the "hearing ear" section of the wall shown in the illustration?
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suggest that you should read for this the specified source?

Franck Monnier : Les forteresses égyptiennes - Du Prédynastique au Nouvel Empire. - Bruxelles : Safran - Collection Connaissance de l'Égypte ancienne, 2010. - ISBN : 978-2-87457-033-9

I can only think of the so-called "ear-stelae" we know from the NK on (?), massively from the Post-Amarna period and the increasingly coming up of the so called "personal piety". They had one or (many) more ears on it and served for the direct contact of the individual with a divinity. They could be consecrated for their fulfillment as underlining a request or as a votive / `thank you`. W.M.F. Petrie published some that he found in Memphis for Ptah (in: Memphis I. - London, 1909. - VII, 26 p, 54 pl.). The most are known from the Theban area for different gods.

And I think of the "contra-temples" I know from the Theban area. These were little shrines outside the inner (not accessable for the public) circle of the temple, often a relief on the otside wall of the temple or on his wall. There were some in Karnak (Amun-Ra, Ptah, Hathor, Amenhotep son of Hapu) but also on the outside of the sanctuary wall of the Ptolemaic temple in Deir el-Medinah in Western Thebes or the Temple for Isis in Deir el-Shewit, also Western Thebes and also on the outside of the wall of the inner sanctuary.

Perhaps a combination of the two ideas?

However, with look on the archaeological evidence base for Memphis I am a little skeptical of such a detailed reconstruction drawing. As I said, you would have to read the source in order to assess the seriousness. Or you find a name / synonym like "listening wall" for Memphis or the Temple of Ptah in a text?

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will look into this further. Apparently Monnier based reconstruction on an article found in MDAIK (1958), which is also mentioned by Kemp (Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilization, 1992, p 189). It seems that the above mentioned reconstruction is based on a model of the temple wall rather than actual remains at the site.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would say from Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Abteilung Kairo, Volume 16 / 1958 - FS Junker II probably come into question...

Vercoutter, Jean : Une Epitaphe Royale Inédite du Sérapéum - (Contribution à l'Histoire des Apis et du Sérapéum de Memphis). - In: MDAIK 16. - 1958. - pp. 333 - 345, 2 fig., 2 pl.

Jacquet, Jean : Un Bassin de Libation du Nouvel Empire dédié à Ptah - Première Partie - L'architecture. - In: MDAIK 16. - 1958. - pp. 161 - 167, 1 fig., 2 pl.

I do not have this volume and I do not speak / read French.

Also of interest...

Jeffreys, David / Tavares, Ana : The Historic Landscape of Early Dynastic Memphis. - In: MDAIK 50. - 1994. - pp. 143 - 173, page 173:



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mennefer wrote:
... Apparently Monnier based reconstruction on an article found in MDAIK (1958), which is also mentioned by Kemp (Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilization, 1992, p 189). It seems that the above mentioned reconstruction is based on a model of the temple wall rather than actual remains at the site.

And as I understand Kemp, he interprets the depicted ears just like me...



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I rather accidentally discovered still these two articles by David Jeffreys, both online for download...

Investigating ancient Memphis, Pharaonic Egypt's northern capital. - In: Archaeology International 3. - 1999. - pp. 24 - 27

The Survey of Memphis, capital of ancient Egypt: recent developments. - In: Archaeology International 11. - 2008. - pp. 41 - 44.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting find Lutz. Judging by the map (figure 4) in the second article the inhabited area at present day Mit-Rahina must have been founded on what was then the East bank. I'm also intrigued by the 3,000 BP course of the Nile which suggests that Memphis/Mit-Rahina constituted an island during the third intermediate period (?)
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"One of Our Cities is Missing !"

A three-part lecture by Dr. David Jeffreys on Memphis in the Old Kingdom :

"On 25 June 2011 the EES hosted a day of lectures focussing on 'Egypt in the Age of the Pyramids'. Speakers included Drs Jaromir Krejci, Richard Bussman, Joanne Rowland and David Jeffreys. Dr Jeffreys, Director of the Society's Survey of Memphis, gave the final presentation of the day and took as his theme ''One of Our Cities is Missing!' Where was Memphis in the Old Kingdom'.

The work of the Survey of Memphis has focussed recently on the early development of the city in the Early Dynastic and Old Kingdom periods. Geophysics, sediment coring and pilot excavation all seem to indicate a location in the Nile Valley east of the famous Saqqara mastaba field, but the shifting location of pyramid sites over time might also provide a clue. This talk tries to probe and analyse the distribution of pyramids, not only as individual funerary complexes but also as a reflection of the real capital settlement of Memphis. Can the pyramids themselves show us where the city was at that time?"

Part 1 , Part 2 and Part 3 .

Greetings, Lutz.
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