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Group at Dendera
Friday is our day off, but in Egypt on an expedition, a day off means a day visiting other great pharaonic monuments. Today itís Dendera and Abydos Temples, located about an hour and three hours north of Luxor, respectively. At the back of the Dendera temple, built in the Ptolemaic and Roman periods, ca. 200 B.C. to 150 A.D., is a large scale scene showing Cleopatra VII. Our group is admiring the Cleopatra relief. From left to right: J.J. Shirley, finally arrived Thursday evening, Violaine, Scott, Christina, Elaine, and Elizabeth.
Cleopatra Relief at Dendera
Representations of the famous last queen of Egypt are few and far between, and here Cleopatra appears like a traditional ruler in ancient style. Her son Cesarion stands in front of her, here identified as a Ptolemy but with the name of Caesar as well.
Dendera Temple
A view of the front buildings at Dendera Temple. Dendera is dedicated to the goddess Hathor, and her cult was established in the area at least as early as the 6th Dynasty. The temple now on the site dates to the Ptolemaic and Roman periods, but earlier building stood in the area, including one of Mentuhotep II, who built a great tomb and temple at Deir el Bahri in Thebes. Here we see a view from the templeís roof that looks over the two mammisis, or birth houses where Hathor gave birth to her divine son Ihy. The Dendera temple was important in the later eras as a healing center, and these front buildings were used as hospital space. The Copts also inhabited the temple precinct and turned the earlier constructions into a church.
Shrine to Hathor
The shrine to Hathor located in the rear of her temple is at an elevated level. On the wall the goddess is seated enthroned and receives the Eye of the Sun god from the moon gods.
Hypostyle Hall at Dendera
The hypostyle hall at Dendera consists of towering columns topped by square capitals showing the face of the cowheaded Hathor. Hathor was the daughter of the sun god and often paired with the god Horus as consort. A special festival held yearly saw the Dendera temple statue of Hathor placed on a boat and sailed to Edfu several hundred kilometers south, where the great temple of Horus was located.
Relief at Abydos
The temple of Abydos built by Sety I (ca. 1300 B.C.) is dedicated to Osiris, the lord of Abydos and the national gods of Egypt, such as Amun-Re, Re-Horakhty, Ptah, etc. Here Scott Rufolo encountering the temple for the first time studies the remarkably beautiful low raised relief that characterizes the whole edifice. Sety I stands before the great goddess Isis with a incense burner in one hand and linen in the other.
Reliefs at Abydos
Sandra Fischetti gazes at the beautiful painted relief image of Sety I in the temple of Abydos.
Examining an Inscription
Front left to right Elaine, Yasmin, and Fatma stare at an inscription on the wall of Sety Iís Abydos temple. They are puzzling over a cryptographic writing of the kingís name, and Elaine is first to figure it out. This is what Egyptologists do for leisure?
In the Temple of Ramesses II
At the Abydos temple of Ramesses II a room built entirely of calcite (Egyptian alabaster) is preserved in the rear. Scott talks to Yasmin about calcite as a material.

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