The Subsidiary Temple of Nekhtnebef at Tell el-Balamun

The Subsidiary Temple of Nekhtnebef at Tell el-Balamun

Jeffrey Spencer

BMSAES, 4 (2004), 21-38


In spite of the extensive building programme of the Thirtieth Dynasty, the documented temples fail to reflect adequately the extensive resources expended at this period on the redevelopment of religious sanctuaries. There are several reasons why this is so. Many temples have fallen victim to stone quarrying, not only in the Delta where much of the building programme was concentrated, but also in Upper Egyptian urban centres such as Ashmunein, Abydos and Koptos. Elsewhere, Thirtieth Dynasty structures often consist of added elements within an older sanctuary, which fail to attract the attention engendered by an entirely new monument, despite the fact that some of these additions in themselves constituted an outlay of resources greater than that needed for the construction of many a complete temple. Where Thirtieth Dynasty temples were constructed, the demands of the building programme seem to have been such that their decoration sometimes remained to be completed by later rulers, as at Ashmunein, where the Thoth-temple founded by Nekhtnebef (Nectanebo I) was inscribed under Philip Arrhidaeus.

It is probable that some temples regarded as belonging to the Ptolemaic Period on the grounds of their decoration may have been initiated during the Thirtieth Dynasty. This collection of circumstances has left a lack of well-preserved material for the study of Thirtieth Dynasty temples, as a stage in the evolution of Egyptian religious architecture. The description of a temple of Nekht- nebefatTellel-Balamunwhichfollowsisacontributiontofillingthisgap,sinceinspiteofitsdestroyed condition, it is one of the few which has been excavated in sufficient detail to permit some analysis of its construction and probable design.


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