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the Temple of Neith - Original

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Author Topic: the Temple of Neith - Original  (Read 5315 times)
Ian Nottingham
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« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2008, 01:29:27 pm »

Michelle Sandberg

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   posted 01-16-2005 10:11 PM                       
Some more information on the state of the site:
Sais, capital of the 5th Lower Egyptian Nome, came to prominence during the turbulent Third Intermediate Period and there are no surviving remains from before the New Kingdom. The semi-independent local ruler, Tefnakht Shepsesre, who declared himself Pharoah, is traditionally thought of as the founder of Dynasty XXIV. He based his home at Sais and expanded his authority over the central and western Delta. He was succeeded by Bakenenref Wahkare (Manetho’s Bochchoris), who proclaimed himself king of all northern Egypt and is attested for the burial of an Apis bull at the Serapaeum during his 6th reignal year. After a brief interlude during Dynasty XXV (when the Nubian kings came to power in Egypt), for the next 150 years or so, Tefnakht’s descendents under Psamtek Wahibre, ruled over the whole of Egypt from their royal residence at Sais until the Persian invasion in 525 BC and were probably buried there.

The goddess Neith whose emblem was a shield with two crossed arrows, seems to have had a cult centre at Sais from the Early Dynastic Period and there is some evidence that a wooden label dated to the Dynasty I King Aha, from Abydos, depicts his visit to a cult shrine at Sais. At least two Early Dynastic queens had names compounded with the element Neith (Neithhotep and Mernieth). Neith was a formidable goddess of warfare, a creator goddess who is depicted wearing the red crown of Lower Egypt, suggesting that she was closely associated with that region. The Greeks identified Neith with Athena, another warlike goddess.

Only rubbish heaps and a few scattered relief blocks now remain at Sa el-Hagar, though some of those removed have been found in nearby villages. The Temple of Neith seems to have been destroyed by the 14th century AD when parts of the huge naos were taken to Cairo and Rosetta. Egyptologist Labib Habachi, writing in 1942, suggested that many of the blocks found at Rosetta, including the famous ‘Rosetta Stone’ which provided the key to the decipherment of hieroglyphs, came originally from Sais.

How To Get There

Sa el-Hagar lies on the eastern side of the Rosetta branch of the Nile. It may be reached from the city of Tanta, following a road to the west. Turn north at Mahallet Marhum towards Basyun where the road turns northwest to Sa el-Hagar.

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« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2008, 03:48:59 pm »

I remember this conversation from way back. It truely is one of the most overlooked parts of our search for Atlantis.
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Ian Nottingham
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« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2008, 01:31:19 pm »

Thanks, Herefornow, people keep forgetting the story was supposed to have originated in Egypt, not with the Greeks.  If it actually did (and they spent so much time in the tales building up Neith, who's temple was in Sais, Egypt), shouldn't we be looking in Egypt??
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« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2008, 03:15:16 pm »

 Grin It is where Edger Cayce said the Hall of Records was.

It seems that you might be on to something seriously interesting.
Killer point!

The Egypt and Atlantis connection is growing with different bits and peices.
I promice not to go off topic on this because this is a really important insight.
Yet I have to ask, Have you mentioned this in some of the other parts of the forum?

I think some of the others should hear this.
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« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2008, 03:15:55 pm »

LOL I never thought of that.
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« Reply #20 on: April 15, 2008, 03:29:50 pm »

Nu, the Egyptian god of the Primeval Sea, is represented on the marble sarcophagus of Seti I as being up to his waist in water with arms upraised to carry the Solar Boat across the Sky. He is said to have held the royal occupants of this boat above the flood waters engulfing their mountainous island home in the West. Nu had been ordered to bring about this very flood by Atum in order to purify the world (Budge, 1960). Does this primeval flood scene depict the first migration from the Lands of the West to Egypt because of the sudden loss of Atlantis? And was Thoth originally one of these gods?


Secondly, I noticed that Manetho says that the Egyptian god-kings (which I believe to be identical with the ten kings who ruled Atlantis) reigned in a foreign land. The Egyptian hieroglyph set which is commonly translated "foreign land" is extremely interesting.

Set: can mean foreign land, mountainous         
land, or the underworld (Inscription
of Anebni, 18th Dynasty)

Amentet: can mean either West, or
Land of the West (Funeral Stele of                   
Panehesi, 19th Dynasty)

They sometimes referred to the Atlantic Ocean as the "Western Ocean". Did Manetho translate "foreign land" from set, or even more probably from Amentet? In either case, we probably have ourselves a reference to Atlantis in the writings of Manetho. Both glyphs are often translated by Egyptologists as "underworld" ....

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Ian Nottingham
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« Reply #21 on: April 16, 2008, 01:30:21 pm »

Cool stuff, Herefornow, and thank you!

Yes, the Atlantic Ocean was referred to by the Egyptians as the Western Ocean, they did know what direction they were talking about.  Another theorist here kept insisting that they mistook it for the Red Sea, not buying it.  Most of the non-Atlantic Ocean related theories depend on the ancients being ignorant of their local geograophy.
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Ian Nottingham
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« Reply #22 on: April 16, 2008, 01:32:27 pm »

Akhet - The Horizon
The Provinces of Ancient Egypt
Sepats (Nomes) & their Main Cities

Upper Egypt
Maps of Ancient Egyptian Sepats (spAt) (Gr: Nomes)

Note: This is a list over the ancient Egyptian administrative provinces, which in Greek were called 'Nome', and in the ancient tongue 'Sepat'.

City names in bold signifies sepat capital. Of course this is not a complete list of the cities and towns of ancient Egypt, there are many yet which could be added.

Exact borders of the sepats is an issue for discussion, sources differ and borders as well as capitals shifted throughout time, often because the course of the water of the Nile changed.

For most of Egyptian history, at least the dynastic period, there were 22 sepats, or provinces, in Upper Egypt, but Lower Egypt was not divided into 20 sepats until the Late Period.

Each one of these sepats had their own ensign, which was carried on a standard in processions and the like. On temples in ancient Egypt these sepats were shown in relief running along the bottom of walls, as androgynous deities, with the ensign on top of their heads. They were depicted carrying offerings of various kind into the temple, showing the gifts their areas could produce for the benefit of the temple and the gods therein. The sepats of Upper Egpt was normally shown on the southern temple walls while the Lower Egypt sepats were depicted on the northern walls.

With this as a background, it might be interesting to note that when you check different sources for sepat deities, both textual and temple inscriptions, you will encounter varying info, where it is not outright missing for some reason. This should not come as a surprize, as even in a society as traditionally steeped as ancient Egypt, still changes were bound to happen over its long history. However, the sepat deities were often superceded by other, more widely reknown deities (sometimes they were identical). Sometimes, as in the case of Amun at Waset, a sepat or local deity rose to nationwide prominence.

Sepat Title & Ensign Ancient Egyptian Greek name
Modern name Deities, archaeological remains etc.

1: Ta-Sety P'aaleq Philae
Philae Temples & chapels to
Isis, Hathor, Arensnuphis, Mandulis, Imhotep,
Osiris (Bigeh)
Abu Elephantine
Elephantine Temples to Khnum, Satet, Anuket.
Chapel to governor Hekayib, Nilometer.
Swenet Syene
Assuan Ptolemaic temple to Isis
Granite quarries. Rock-cut tombs from OK to NK. , unfinished obelisk.
Pa-Sebek Ombos
Kom Ombo Joint temple of Sobek and Horus the Elder, chapel of Hathor.

2: Throne of Horus Djeba Apollinopolis- Magna
Edfu Temple to Horus of Behedet, chapels to various other deities.
Town site of most periods, tombs from Old to New Kingdom.

3: Shrine Nekhen Hierakonpolis
Kom el-Ahmar Deity:Horus of Nekhen
Temple & town remains from all periods. Pre-dynastic settlements and cemeteries.
Nekheb Eileithyiaspolis
el-Kab Temple of Nekhbet, temples of Hathor, Khnum, Menhyt, Seshemet.
Rock-cut 18-dyn. tombs.
Iunyt/Ta-Senet Latopolis
Esna Greco-Roman temple of Khnum.
Cemeteries from MK onwards.

4: Sceptre Per-Hathor/Inerty Aphroditopolis/Pathyris
Gebelein Deities: Montu, Amun, Mut, Khonsu, Sobek of Sumenu.Temple of Hathor
tombs of 1st Interm.
Djerty Tuphium
Tod Temple of Montu from 4th Dyn. onwards.
Iuny Hermonthis
Armant Temple of Montu, 11th Dyn. and later.
Bull cemetery.
Waset Thebes/Diospolis-Magna
Karnak, Luxor, West Bank Temple complex to Amun, Mut, Montu, Khonsu & various other deities.
Royal Mortuary temples, Ramesseum, Memnon colossi, rock-cut royal and private tombs, temple of Hatshepsut.

5: Two Falcons Nubt/Nebyet Ombos
Tukh Deities: Min of Gebtu, Set of Nebyet.
Predynastic and early dynastic cemeteries, mastaba tombs, pyramid of Tukh.
Gesy Apollinopolis-Parva
Qus Remains of Ptolemaic temple of Haroeris (Horus the Elder) and Heket.
Early cemeteries.
Gebtu Koptos
Qift Remains of temple of Min from MK, small Greco-roman temple to Isis and Min at el-Qal'a.
Predyn. cemeteries (Naqada), Greek & Roman remains.

6:Crocodile Iunet Tentyris
Dendera Temple of Hathor, small temple of probably Horus of Edfu,
necropolis & animal burials.

7: Sistrum Hut-Sekhem Diospolis-Parwa
Hiw Deity: Bat.
Cemeteries of all periods, animal necropolis, Greco-Roman temples.

8: Great Land Abedjou Abydos
el-Araba, el Madfuna Deities: Khent-Amentiu, Wesir.
Seti I´s temple with chapels to Ptah, Ra-Horakhte, Amun-Re, Wesir, Aset, Heru, Nefertem-Sokar.
The King-list of Abedjou. The Osireion. Temple of Ramesses II. Cenotaphs. Pre- & Early Dynastic tombs & remains of settlement.
Tjeny Thinis
Girga(?) Mythical location of ancient capital

9: Min 9
Min Khemmis Panopolis
Akhmim Rock chapel of Min, remians of Greco-Roman temples of Min & Repyt.
Rock-cut tombs ov various periods.
Hut-Repyt Athribis
Waninna Rock-cut tombs MK period. Ptolemaic temples & tombs.

10: Cobra Tjebu/Djew-qa Antaeopolis
Qaw el-Kebir Deites: Set of Tjebu, Mihos.
12th Dyn. tombs.

11: Set Shashotep Apotheke
Shubt Deity: Set.
Smallest sepat, west bank around Deir Rifa.

12: Viper Mount Per-Nemty Hierakon
el-Atawla Deity: Anti (hawkgod).
Tombs of 6th Dyn. nomarchs.

13: Upper Sycamore and Viper Zawty Lykopolis
Asyut Deity: Wepwawet, Anubis.
Tombs of 1st Intermediate and MK.

14: Lower Sycamore and Viper Qis Cusae
el-Qusiya Deity: Hathor
Akhet-Aten el-Amarna Deity: The Aten.
Remains of Akhet-Aten, royal tomb, rock-cut tombs.

15: Hare Khmun Hermopolis-Magna
el-Ashmunein Deities: Djehuti of Hermopolis, the Ogdoad.

16: Oryx Hebenu
Jom-al-Ahmar(?) Deities: Pakhet, Khnum.
Remains of a 3rd Dyn. pyramid.

17: Jackal Hardai(?) - Deity: Anubis.
Temple known only from ancient text references, not located.

18: Anti Teudjoi Ankyrononpolis
Ankyrononpolis Deity: Anti,(hawkgod).

19: Two Sceptres Per-Medjed Oxyrhynchus
el-Bahnasa Deities: Set, cult of the Mormyrus fish.
Greco-Roman town, source of thousands of Greek Papyrii.

20: Southern Sycamore Henen-nesut Herakleopolis-Magna
Ihnasya el-Medina Temple of Harsaphes, 12th Dyn & later.
Tomb of Ramesses II at Kom-el-Aqarib
Tombs from 1st intermediate to Greco-Roman period at Sidmant el-Gebel.

21: Northern Sycamore Shenakhen/Semenuhor? Akhnaton?
Meidum Text signs of cult of Khnum at Shenakhen, Osiris at Semenuhor.
3 Dyn. pyramids.

22: The Knife Tepihu Aphroditopolis
Atfih Deity: Hathor, Sobek of the southern Lake.
From the White Chapel there are indications that The Faiyum (anc. 'Ta-She, She-resy') belonged to this sepat.
Temples & settlements from mostly Greco-Roman times.

Lower Egypt
Lower Egypt is tricky as there are sources with differing opinions on some ancient Egyptian place names and some cities are placed in different sepats too. Mainly, LE sepats were established in the Late Period, though finds of course go back to earlier periods.

Sepat Title Ancient Egyptian Greek
Modern Deities, archaeological remains etc.

1: White Wall Ineb-hedj/Men-Nefer Memphis
Mit Rahina Deities: Ptah, Sokar, Apis
Temple of Ptah, several smaller temples, embalming house of Apis bull.
Tombs of 22nd Dyn. High Priests of Memphis, palace of Merneptah.

2: Foreleg Khem Letopolis
Ausim Deities: Horus of Letopolis,Khrety (netherworld deity).
Monuments from Late Period.

3: West Imu Kom el-Hisn Deities: Hathor
MK temple of Sekhmet-Hathor
Cemeteries from MK and NK.
Raqote Alexandria
el-Iskandariya Deities: Isis, Sarapis
Ptolemaic and Roman remains.

4: Southern Shield ? Tanta Deities: Neith, Sobek.
Few archaeological explorations done.

5: Northern Shield Zau Sais
Sa el-Hagar Deity: Neith
Remains of the temple of Neith.

6: Mountain Bull Khasu Xois
Sakha Deity: Re.
Temple of Re not excavated.
Per-Wadjet/Edjo Buto
Tell el-Farain Deity: Wadjet.
Remains of two towns and one temple enclosure.
Mythical 'Pe and Dep', the "Twin cities" correspondent with Nekhen and Nekheb in Upper Egypt

7: Western Harpoon ? Hermopolis Parva
Damanhur Few archaeological excavations done.

8: Eastern Harpoon Tjeku/Per Atum(?) Pithom?
Tell el-Maskhuta Deity: Atum of Tell el-Maskhuta.
Foundations and block of temple of Atum. Fragment of a sistrum invoking Atum and Horus Sematawy.
9: Andjety Djedu Busiris
Abu Sir Bana Deity:Osiris of Djedu
Foundations of temple of Horus KhentKhety
Animal necropolis.

10: Black Ox Hut-Hery-ib Athribis
Tell Atrib Deity: Horus
Foundations of temple of Isis and Osiris
Temple of Amasis, Greco-Roman town, temple and necropolis.

11: Ox-count Taremu/Nay-ta-hut Leontopolis
Tell -el-Muqdam Deities: Shu, Tefnut, Mihos of Leontopolis.
Remains of the temple of Mihos. Tomb of Queen Kamama.

12: Calf and Cow Tjebnetjer Sebenntyos
Sammanud Deity: Inhert(Gr. Onuris)
Late Period foundation block of Inhert-Shu.
Hebyt Behbet el-Hagar Deity: Isis
Site of one of the most important shrines to Isis, a pendant in Lower Egypt to Philae in Upper Egypt.
Remians of the temple of Isis, Ptolemaic Period.

13: Prospering Sceptre Iunu Heliopolis
el-Matariya (Cairo outskirts) Deities: Atum, Iusaas & Mnevis of Heliopolis.
Temple of Re with precint and structures from all periods, obelisk of Senwosret, tombs of High Priests from 5th Dyn. and other tombs.

14: Foremost of the East Tjaru Sile
Tell Abu Seifa Deity: Set.
Blocks from temple of Horus of Mesen.
Pi-Ramesse Quantir Deity: Set
Remains of temple of Set, of mud-brick palace, military barracks & workshops.
Avaris Tell el-Daba Deity: Set.
Probable site of the Hyksos capital Avaris. Palace remains with Minoan wallpaintings for the Hyksos period. Remains of settlements from 1st to 2nd Intermediate and later the Ramesside period.

15: Ibis Ba´kh Hermopolis-Parva
el-Baqlia Deity: Djehuty of northern Hermopolis.
Outlines of themple of Djehuty, not excavated. Late Period shrine of Djehuty and other blocks.

16: Fish Djedet/Per-baneb-djedet Mendes
Tell el Rub'a Deities: Banebdjedet, Hatmehyt
Foundations of temple of Bandebdjedet, Late Period red 8 m high granite naos, mastaba tombs from OK.

17: Behdet Sma-Behdet Diospolis Inferior
Balamun(?) Deities:Horus of Behdet.
Vast temple complex with at least three temples, Amun(?) and fort, Late Period.

18: Prince of the South Per-Bast Bubastis
Tell Basta. Deities: Bast, Mihos.
Temple of Bast and other deities.
Smaller temples of 6th, 12th,18th, 22nd Dyn & Greco-Roman Period.
Cat cemeteries.

19: Prince of the North Imet Tell Nabasha Deity: Wadjet of Nabasha.
Temple enclosure of Wadjet, one temple of Ramessid Period, a smaller one by Amasis. Greco-Roman town, Late Period cemetery.
Djanet Tanis
San el-Hagar Temple enclosure of Amun and others. Precinct of Mut.
Royal tombs of 21st and 22nd Dynasties.
20: Plumed Falcon of Sopedu Per-Sopdu Saft el-Hinna Deity: Sopdu (falcon deity).
Remains of the enclosure walls of the temple of Sopdu and Late Period naos.9

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Ian Nottingham
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« Reply #23 on: April 16, 2008, 01:32:57 pm »

Ian Nottingham
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Thank you for the excavation links, Michelle. Here is more information on Egyptian dynasties and Neith in particular:

The 21st and the 26th Dynasty
by E.J. de Meester.

The problem with Egyptian chronology is in the Third Intermediate Period (1070-712 BC), consisting of the 21st Dynasty (1070-945) and the Libyan or 22nd Dynasty (945-712) that consisted of descendants of Libyan mercenary army leaders. There are also the 23rd en 24th Dynasty, but they consisted of local rulers who lived in the same time as the 22nd Dynasty. This period is the subject of The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt (1100-650 BC) by Kenneth A. Kitchen, who appeared in the TV series about David Rohl (Aris & Phillips Ltd, Warminster l973). Kitchen is regarded as the greatest authority on the Third Intermediate Period, but he is also the greatest enemy of David Rohl and his 'new chronology'. In most popular books the Third Intermediate Period is treated only very superficially.

Velikovsky's scheme

Velikovsky thought that the order of the Egyptian dynasties had to be altered radically. In his opinion the Hyksos period was followed by the 18th Dynasty (1020-830), then the Libyan (830-720), then the Ethiopian (720-663) and only then the 19th Dynasty (Ramses II) that was identical to the 26th. The 21st Dynasty consisted, in his opinion, of priests. That must be wrong. I think the order of the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21nd Dynasties is correct. The weak point is the succession of the 21st and 22nd Dynasty. Velikovsky remarks that there is little or no evidence to support it. Only a text on a statuette, which can be interpreted differently (see under 'Apries'). That is not quite true, because Kitchen offers more evidence than that in his book.

Also it is assumed that David and Solomon lived at the time of the 21st Dynasty, but there is not the smallest piece of evidence to prove that, except that Sheshonk I of the 22nd Dynasty was a contemporary of Solomon, if he is identical to the Shishak in the Bible and if the 21st Dynasty was indeed follewed by the 22nd Dynasty. Nobody has been able to prove that Solomon ever existed at all.

The 21st Dynasty

What was that vague, shadowy 21st Dynasty anyway? Velikovsky thought it was a dynasty of priests, but I don't think so. It is thought that the dynasty ruled until 945 BC. If we push that down for 400 years, than we almost arrive at 525, the year in which the Persians conquered Egypt. Could it be that the 21st Dynasty is really the 26th Dynasty described by Herodotus (II.147-III.15)? That would be a very simple solution. At least one thing speaks in its favour: the fact that in the Serapeum (where the Apis bulls were buried) the names of the pharaohs of the 21st Dynasty are not mentioned in any inscription, althought the names of the 26th Dynasty are. Velikovsky thought the 26th Dynasty was identical to the 19th, but there are too many differences between the dynasties. The 21st and 26th Dynasties have at least more or less the same numbers of pharaohs and the same time spans.

Any theory that involves the 26th Dynasty is more interesting because so much more is known about this period than about earlier periods. I have chosen this theory as the best one, even if it seems unlikely. I think it is best to follow the consequences of my initial theory boldly with ironclad logic, rather than trying to find compromises that may seem more acceptable. Professor Kitchen would call me 100% rubbish anyway, so why bother? So far nobody has come up with a better theory, apart from the conventional one perhaps. I think that in any case the solution will be an unlikely and unexpected one, otherwise somebody else would have found it already.

21st Dynasty:
Smendes (1070-1044);
Amenemnisu (1044-1040);
Psusennes I (1040-992);
Amenemope (993-984);
Osorkon I or the Elder (984-978);
Siamun (978-959);
Psusennes II (959-945).
26th Dynasty:
(Necho I 672-664);
Psammetichus I (664-610);
Necho II (610-595);
Psammetichus II (595-589);
Apries (Hophrah, 589-570);
Amasis (570-526);
Psammetichus III (526-525).

In Sais (Sa el Hagar), the capital of the 26th Dynasty, hardly any excavations have been made, due to the high ground water level that makes digging very difficult. If the palaces in Sais had been excavated, all these misunderstandings might never have arisen or might have been solved long ago. At excavations of the University of Pennsylvania in Memphis layers of the 21st Dynasty were found directly under layers of the Ptolemaic period, according to Velikovsky.


[This message has been edited by Ian Nottingham (edited 01-17-2005).]

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« Reply #24 on: April 16, 2008, 01:33:21 pm »

Cambyses II, the Persian Ruler of Egypt
(27th Dynasty) And His Lost Army
by Jimmy DunnIn 525 BC the Persian emperor Cambyses II, son of Cyrus the
Great, who had already named his son as king of Babylon though Cambyses
II resigned that position after only one year, invaded Egypt and
successfully overthrew the native Egyptian pharaoh, Psamtek III, last
ruler of Egypt's 26th Dynasty to become the first ruler of Egypt's 27th
Persian Dynasty. His father had earlier attempted an invasion of Egypt
against Psamtek III's predecessor, Amasis, but Cyrus' death in 529 BC
put a halt to that expedition.
After capturing Egypt, Cambyses took the Throne name Mesut-i-re
(Mesuti-Ra), meaning "Offspring of Re". Though the Persians would rule
Egypt for the next 193 years until Alexander the Great defeated Darius
III and conquered Egypt in 332 BC, Cambyses II's victory would bring to
an end (for the most part) Egyptians truly ruling Egyptians until the
mid 20th century, when Egypt finally shrugged off colonial rule.

We know very little about Cambyses II through contemporary texts, but
his reputation as a mad tyrannical despot has come down to us in the
writings of the Greek historian Herodotus (440 BC) and a Jewish document
from 407 BC known as 'The Demotic Chronicle' which speaks of the Persian
king destroying all the temples of the Egyptian gods. However, it must
be repeatedly noted that the Greeks shared no love for the Persians.
Herodotus informs us that Cambyses II was a monster of cruelty and

Herodotus gives us three tales as to why the Persians invaded Egypt. In
one, Cambyses II had requested an Egyptian princess for a wife, or
actually a concubine, and was angered when he found that he had been
sent a lady of second rate standing. In another, it turns out that he
was the bastard son of Nitetis, daughter of the Saite (from Sais) king
Apries, and therefore half Egyptian anyway, whereas the third story
provides that Cambyses II, at the age of ten, made a promise to his
mother (who is now Cassandane) that he would "turn Egypt upside down" to
avenge a slight paid to her. However, Ctesias of Cnidus states that his
mother was Amytis, the daughter of the last king of independent Media so
we are really unsure of that side of his parentage. While even Herodotus
doubts all of these stories, and given the fact that his father had
already planned one invasion of Egypt, the stories do in fact reflect
the later Greek bias towards his Persian dynasty.

Regardless of Cambyses II's reason for his invasion of Egypt, Herodotus
notes how the Persians easily entered Egypt across the desert. They were
advised by the defecting mercenary general, Phanes of Halicarnassus, to
employ the Bedouins as guides. However, Phanes had left his two sons in
Egypt. We are told that for his treachery, as the armies of the Persians
and the mercenary army of the Egyptians met, his sons were bought out in
front of the Egyptian army where they could be seen by their father, and
there throats were slit over a large bowl. Afterwards, Herodotus tells
us that water and wine were added to the contents of the bowl and drunk
by every man in the Egyptian force.

This did not stop the ensuing battle at Pelusium, Greek pelos, which was
the gateway to Egypt. Its location on Egypt's eastern boundary, meant
that it was an important trading post was well and also of immense
strategic importance. It was the starting point for Egyptian expeditions
to Asia and an entry point for foreign invaders.

Here, the Egyptian forces were routed in the battle and fled back to
Memphis. Apparently Psamtek III managed to escape the ensuing besiege of
the Egyptian capital, only to be captured a short time afterwards and
was carried off to Susa in chains. Herodotus goes on to tell us of all
the outrages that Cambyses II then inflicted on the Egyptians, not only
including the stabbing of a sacred Apis bull and his subsequent burial
at the Serapeum in Saqqara, but also the desecration and deliberate
burning of the embalmed body of Amasis (a story that has been partly
evidenced by destruction of some of Amasis' inscriptions) and the
banishment of other Egyptian opponents.

The story of Cambyses II's fit of jealousy towards the Apis bull,
whether true or simply Greek propaganda, was intended to reflect his
personal failures as a monarch and military leader. In the three short
years of his rule over Egypt he personally led a disastrous campaign up
the River Nile into Ethiopia. There, we are told, his ill-prepared
mercenary army was so meagerly supplied with food that they were forced
to eat the flesh of their own colleagues as their supplies ran out in
the Nubian desert. The Persian army returned northwards in abject
humiliation having failed even to encounter their enemy in battle.

Then, of course, there is also the mystery of his lost army, some fifty
thousand strong, that vanished in the Western Desert on their way to the
Siwa Oasis along with all their weapons and other equipment, never to be
heard of again. Cambyses II had also planned a military campaign against
Carthage, but this too was aborted because, on this occasion, the king's
Phoenician sea captains refused to attack their kinfolk who had founded
the Carthagian colony towards the end of the 8th century BC. In fact,
the conquest of Egypt was Cambyses' only spectacular military success in
his seven years of troubled rule over the Persian empire.

However, we are told that when the Persians at home received news of
Cambyses' several military disasters, some of the most influential
nobles revolted, swearing allegiance to the king's younger brother
Bardiya. With their support, the pretender to the great throne of Cyrus
seized power in July 522 BC as Cambyses II was returning home.

The story is told that, on hearing of this revolt, and in haste to mount
his horse to swiftly finish the journey home, Cambyses II managed to
stab himself in the thigh with his own dagger. At that moment, he began
to recall an Egyptian prophecy told to him by the priests of Buto in
which it was predicted that the king would die in Ecbatana. Cambyses II
had thought that the Persian summer capital of Ecbatana had been meant
and that he would therefore die in old age. But now he realized that the
prophecy had been fulfilled in a very different way here in Syrian

Still enveloped in his dark and disturbed mood, Cambyses II decided that
his fate had been sealed and simply lay down to await his end. The wound
soon became gangrenous and the king died in early August of 522 BC.
However, it should be noted that other references tell us that Cambyses
II had his brother murdered even prior to his expedition to Egypt, but
apparently if it was not Bardiya (though there is speculation that
Cambyses II's servants perhaps did not kill his brother as ordered),
there seems to have definitely been an usurper to the throne, perhaps
claiming to be his brother, who we are told was killed secretly.

The Real Cambyses II

Modern Egyptologists believe that many of these accounts are rather
biased, and that Cambyses II's rule was perhaps not nearly so traumatic
as Herodotus, who wrote his history only about 75 years after Cambyses
II's demise, would have us believe. In reality, the Saite dynasty had
all but completely collapsed, and it is likely that with Psamtek III's
(Psammetichus III) capture by the Persians, Cambyses II simply took
charge of the country. The Egyptians were particularly isolated at this
time in their history, having seen there Greek allies defect, including
not only Phanes, but Polycrates of Samos. In addition, many of Egypt's
minorities, such as the Jewish community at Elephantine and even certain
elements within the Egyptian aristocracy, seem to have even welcomed
Cambyses II's rule.

Right: A depiction of Cambyses II worshipping the Apris Bull

The Egyptian evidence that we do have depicts a ruler anxious to avoid
offending Egyptian susceptibilities who at least presented himself as an
Egyptian king in all respects. It is even possible that the pillaging of
Egyptian towns told to us by Greek sources never occurred at all. In an
inscription on the statue of Udjadhorresnet, a Saite priest and doctor,
as well as a former naval officer, we learn that Cambyses II was
prepared to work with and promote native Egyptians to assist in
government, and that he showed at least some respect for Egyptian
religion. For example, regardless of the death of the Apris Bull, it
should be noted that the animal's burial was held with proper pomp,
ceremony and respect. Udjahorresnet also tells us that:

"I let His Majesty know the greatness of Sais, that it is the seat of
Neith-the-Great, mother who bore Re and inaugurated birth when birth had
not yet been...I made a petition to the majesty of the King of Upper and
Lower Egypt, Cambyses, about all the foreigners who dwelled in the
temple of Neith, in order to have them expelled from it., so as to let
the temple of Neith be in all its splendor, as it had been before. His
Majesty commanded to expel all the foreigners who dwelled in the temple
of Neith, to demolish all their houses and all their unclean things that
were in the temple.

When they had carried all their personal belongings outside the wall of
the temple, His Majesty commanded to cleanse the temple of Neith and to
return all its personnel to it...and the hour-priests of the temple. His
Majesty commanded to give divine offerings to Neith-the-Great, the
mother of god, and to the great gods of Sais, as it had been before.
His Majesty knew the greatness of Sais, that it is a city of all the
gods, who dwell there on their seats forever."

Indeed, Cambyses II continued Egyptian policy regarding sanctuaries and
national cults, confirmed by his building work in the Wadi Hammamat and
at a few other Egyptian temples.

Left: The statue recording the autobiography of Udjadhorresnet

Udjadhorresnet goes on to say in his autobiography written on a
naophorous statue now in the Vatican collection at Rome, that he
introduced Cambyses II to Egyptian culture so that he might take on the
appearance of a traditional Egyptian Pharaoh.

However, even though Cambyses II had his name written in a kingly
Egyptian cartouche, he did remained very Persian, and was buried at
Takht-i-Rustam near Persepolis (Iran). It has been suggested that
Cambyses II may have originally followed a traditional Persian policy of
reconciliation in the footsteps of their conquests. In deed, it may be
that Cambyses II's rule began well enough, but with the his defeats and
losses, his mood may very well have turned darker with time, along with
his actions.

We do know that there was a short lived revolt which broke out in Egypt
after Cambyses II died in 522 BC, but the independence was lost almost
immediately to his successor, a distant relative and an officer in
Cambyses II's army, named Darius. The dynasty of Persian rulers who then
ruled Egypt did so as absentee landlords from afar.

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« Reply #25 on: April 16, 2008, 01:33:45 pm »

The unfinished tomb of Cambyses II in Iran
The Lost Army of Cambyses II

Within recent years all manner of artifacts and monuments have been
discovered in Egypt's Western Desert. Here and there, new discoveries of
temples and tombs turn up, even in relatively inhabited areas where more
modern structures are often difficult to distinguish from ancient ruins.
It is a place where the shifting sands can uncover whole new
archaeological worlds, and so vast that no more than very small regions
are ever investigated systematically by Egyptologists. In fact, most
discoveries if not almost all are made by accident, so Egypt antiquity
officials must remain ever alert to those who bring them an inscribed
stone unearthed beneath a house, or a textile fragment found in the

Lately, there has been considerable petroleum excavation in the Western
Desert. Anyone traveling the main route between the near oasis will see
this activity, but the exploration for oil stretched much deeper into
the Western Desert. It is not surprising that they have come upon a few
archaeological finds, and it is not unlikely that they will come across
others. Very recently, when a geological team from the Helwan
University geologists found themselves walking through dunes littered
with fragments of textiles, daggers, arrow-heads, and the bleached bones
of the men to whom all these trappings belonged, they reported the
discovery to the antiquity service.

Mohammed al-Saghir of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) now
believes that this accidental find may very well be at least remnants of
the mysterious Lost Army of Cambyses II, and he is now organizing a
mission to investigate the site more thoroughly. If he is successful and
the discovery is that of Cambyses II's 50,000 strong lost army, than it
will not only answer some ancient mysteries, but will probably also
provide us with a rich source of information on the Persian military of
that time, and maybe even expand our knowledge of Cambyses II
himself. The Persian armed forces consisted of many elements, including
companies of foreign mercenaries such as Greeks, Phoenicians, Carians,
Cilicians, Medes and Syrians. Hence, if this is not another false lead,
we may expect excellent preservation of helmets, leather corselets,
cloth garments, spears, bows, swords and daggers ? a veritable treasure
trove of military memorabilia. The rations and support equipment will
all be there, ready for detailed analysis.

However, it should be noted that some Egyptologists question the very
existence of such an army, rather believing that the whole affair was
simply a fable told by a very prejudiced Greek.

Yet if true, Cambyses II probably sent his army to Siwa Oasis in the
Western Desert to seek (or seize) legitimization of his rule from the
oracle of Amun, much as Alexander the Great would do in the 4th century
BC. However, the army was overtaken by a sandstorm and buried. For
centuries adventurers and archaeologists have tried to find the lost
army, and at times, tantalizing, though usually false glues have been

Legitimizing his rule does not fully explain the need for taking such a
large army to the Siwa Oasis. Accounts and other resources provide that
the priests of the oracle were perhaps posing a danger to Cambyses II's
rule, probably encouraging revolt among the native Egyptians. Perhaps
the priests felt slighted that Cambyses II had not immediately sought
their approval as Alexander the Great would do almost upon his arrival
in Egypt. Therefore, it is likely that Cambyses II intended to forces
their legitimization of his rule. In fact, some sources believe that his
intent was to simply destroy the Oasis completely for their treachery,
while it is also know that the army was to continue on after Siwa in
order to attack the Libyans.

Yet the Siwa Oasis, the western most of Egypt's Oasis, is much deeper
into the desert than others, such as Bahariya, and apparently, like many
of Cambyses II's military operations, this one too was ill conceived.
Why he so easily entered Egypt with the help of the Bedouins, and than
sent such a large force into the desert only to be lost is a mystery.

We know that the army was dispatched from the holy city of Thebes,
supported by a great train of pack animals. After a seven day march, it
reached the Kharga Oasis and moved on to the last of the near Oasis, the
Bahariya, before turning towards the 325 kilometers of desert that
separated it from the Siwa Oasis. It would have been a 30 day march
through burning heat with no additional sources of water or shade.

According to Herodotus (as later reported to him by the inhabitants of
Siwa), after many days of struggle through the soft sand, the troops
were resting one morning when calamity struck without warning. "As they
were at their breakfast, a wind arose from the south, strong and deadly,
bringing with it vast columns of whirling sand, which buried the troops
and caused them utterly to disappear." Overwhelmed by the powerful
sandstorm, men and animals alike were asphyxiated as they huddled
together, gradually being enveloped in a sea of drift-sand.

It was after learning of the loss of his army that, having witnessed the
reverence with which the Egyptians regarded the sacred Apis bull of
Memphis in a ceremony and believing he was being mocked, he fell into a
rage, drew his dagger and plunged it into the bull-calf. However, it
seems that he must have latter regretted this action, for the Bull was
buried with due reverence.

Email the Editor

Title Author Date Publisher Reference Number
Chronicle of the Pharaohs (The Reign-By-Reign Record of the Rulers and
Dynasties of Ancient Egypt) Clayton, Peter A. 1994 Thames and Hudson Ltd
ISBN 0-500-05074-0
Egypt in Late Antiquity Bagnall, Roger S. 1993 Princeton University
Press ISBN 0-691-1096-x
History of Ancient Egypt, A Grimal, Nicolas 1988 Blackwell None Stated
Monarchs of the Nile Dodson, Aidan 1995 Rubicon Press ISBN 0-948695-20-x

Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, The Shaw, Ian 2000 Oxford University
Press ISBN 0-19-815034-2

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« Reply #26 on: April 16, 2008, 01:34:20 pm »

The Royal City of Saïs

What is it ?

Sais is the Greek name for the Ancient Egyptian city ‘Sa’ . In
hieroglyphs the name ‘Sa’ is written like this :

Where is it ?

The archaeological site of the city is in the western Egyptian delta
(modern day Gharbiyah province). There is a village on the site called
Sa el-Hagar, a name which combines the ancient name ‘Sa’ with the Arabic
word for ‘stone’. It means ‘Sa the stone’ and is a good indication that
there was once an impressive city here with many stone buildings.

What happened there ?

A five thousand year-old wooden label with the name of King Aha shows
the symbol of Sais inside a wooden compound. Some Egyptologists think
that this shows that Sais was an important cult centre in northern Egypt
right at the very beginning of Egyptian history, around 3100 BC.

The cult emblem shows a shield-shaped object with two arrows crossed
through it and is usually perched on a stand. The object may be a
shield, or it could originally have been an animal skin hung up and used
as target practice. It is the emblem of the goddess of Sais called

Which gods had cults at Sais ?

Neith (above) may originally have been a hunting goddess who could bring
good hunting to hunters out in the the desert margins of the Western
delta. She is usually depicted wearing a flat-topped crown with a coil
element at the front and a tall projection at the back (below).

This was to become the Red Crown and symbolised all of Lower Egypt (the
north). When Egypt was united into one kingdom, the Kings invented a
crown combining the White Crown of Upper Egypt and the Red Crown of
Lower Egypt.

Neith was a very powerful goddess and was also regarded as a creator.
This is rare in Egypt because creation deities are usually male. She
was, too, the mother of Sobek, the crocodile god associated with the
fertility and power of the Nile. In the Late Period (from 1000 BC
onwards), her temple was a centre of pilgrimage. It was famous for its
linen cloth which is appropriate for this part of Egypt. Egyptian cloth
was most often linen which is made from a plant called flax. This would
grow very happily in the marshy, watery area of the Nile delta. The
Neith temple had craftsmen and women who wove the cloth into very fine
material, often almost see through. They had different grades of
material, but the best was ‘royal' cloth which was fine and transparent.

There were other important gods who had temples at Sais too.

Atum, another creator god, was associated with Neith. He was not really
her consort, but more of a male-power counterpart.

Osiris was also popular at Sais. He was the Egyptian god of the dead who
ruled over the spirits of those people reborn in the afterlife. He had a
special form at Sais where he was called ‘Osiris Hemag’. The meaning of
his surname is a bit mysterious, but seems to be something like ‘Osiris
made of carnelian’ (a semi-precious stone, orange in colour). Usually
Osiris was shown wrapped up like a mummy, but Osiris Hemag had bandages
decorated with semi-precious stones. He would have looked spectacular —
glistening, shimmering and gleaming in the afterlife sunlight. Many
people came to make offerings to Osiris at Sais as an act of pilgrimage.

Were there any people at Sais ?

Sais was also a powerful political and economic centre. We do not know
much about its role in Egypt’s early history, but in about 727 BC a man
called Tefnakhte set himself up there as the ‘Great Chief of the West’
and claimed to rule the whole of the Western delta. This meant he would
have controlled the agriculture in the area, the sea trade down the
western branch of the Nile, the coast, the linen industry at Sais, the
temple cults at Sais, the resources of the Wadi Natrun from where
mummifying material came, and possibly the trade routes to the oases.
The Oasis areas were especially famous for their wine, so Tefnakhte
seems to have known what he was doing.

Was Tefnakhte a real king ?

Tefnakhte was really only a local ruler, but his descendants under
Psamtek, who also came from Sais, eventually claimed to rule the whole
of Egypt. This means that for 139 years Sais was the capital of this
great civilization.

Who were these Saites ?

The Saite family had continuous problems with the Assyrians who
eventually invaded Egypt, the Thebans who disliked being ruled by
northerners but they had some help in the form of Greek mercenaries.
These men were soldiers who were hired to guard important cities in
Egypt such as Sais and also a trading city called Naukratis. They would
also fight for their employers if necessary.

Many stories exist about the Saite kings but one of the most amazing
things about them is that they were very interested in Egyptology! They
wanted to show that they were worthy, true kings of Egypt and successors
of their illustrious ancestors. Already by then the Pyramids at Giza
were almost 2000 years old, so there was much to study. The Saite kings
copied artistic styles and types of statue from the past so that they
could demonstrate their devotion and piety. They commissioned many
statues of themselves, restored temple buildings - an example followed
by their officials — and most of all they made Sais one of the greatest
cities in the known world. A Greek visitor called Herodotus was amazed
by the size of the statues, the temples and the richness of the palaces
he saw in the city.

What did the Saite kings do ?

Psamtek I

He may have been the first to used mercenary troops to defeat the other
Egyptian princes. He sent his eldest daughter, Nitokris, to Thebes to be
an important priestess there. This meant he had some influence in the
south of Egypt, for she was an influential landholder. He reigned for 54
years, truly the founder of a dynasty.


He sent a fleet of Phoenician ships to circumnavigate Africa and had a
lot of problems with the Assyrians and the Medes (Persians). He reigned
15 years.

Psamtek II

Nefer-ib-ra P-sam-tek
He only reigned for 6 years, but was responsible for the construction of
a huge number of monuments. He may have sent an expedition to Nubia, but
was compelled to direct most of his attention to the wars to the
north-east. He sent his daughter, Ankhnesneferibre, to Thebes to be the
new ‘God’s Wife of Amun’ as successor to Nitokris.


He may have been deeply involved in the wars in Syria and over
Jerusalem, but he definitely did send an army against the Greek colony
of Cyrene (on the North African coast). The Egyptians were soundly
beaten and Apries lost his throne. He reigned for 19 years.


He took power after the failure of Apries who may have been murdered by
the Saite mob. He made friendly overtures to other Mediterranean
countries and made the Greek traders trade only from Naukratis, where
they could be contained. He seems to have been very astute and was
remembered well in Herodotus’ story of Amasis’ liking for Falernian
wine. He ruled for 44 years.

Psamtek III

He was a bit unlucky as the Persians invaded Egypt in 525 BC just after
he became king. After a great battle at Pelusium, the Egyptians
retreated to Memphis where they surrendered after a siege.

We don't know what happened to Sais then, but Cambyses, the Persian
king, is said to have destroyed many Egyptian temples.

As Sais was the capital of the Saite kings they lived there and were
also buried in tombs within the Neith Temple complex.

What happened after this ?

Sais continued to be the centre of a bishopric in the Christian period
but by the 17th century had become a small village.

Why is it important ?

Egyptologists don't know very much about the delta part of Egypt and
about cities and how they were organised. They don’t like such gaps, so
they go and try to fill them in. Manfred Bietak has been working hard in
the Eastern delta for the last thirty years and has made some very
important discoveries about ancient Egypt and its towns. There is still
a gap in the west however.

We want to understand how cities could come to be important and the kind
of factors which mean it was possible. We can understand some of the
individuals who made things happen, such as Psamtek I and Amasis, but we
would also like to know how the River Nile affected a city's fortunes,
how the Egyptian focus on the west may have influenced the eventual
founding of Alexandria, how the city of Sais developed from 3000 BC
onward as a cult centre, the way in which Sais worked as a pilgrimage
centre, the types of industries and trading which happened there, how
the royal obsession with the past affected ordinary people, the forms of
Saite pottery, the shape and plans of the temples, the location of the
city's harbours, settlements, canals and so on.

My personal favourite quest is for the Sacred Lake at Sais. This Lake
would have been a place where rituals were performed and also have
provided water for washing in the temple. We know that the lake existed
because Herodotus saw the ceremony of the lighted lamps performed on it,
and also there is a statue of the man who built the lake. He gives us an
indication of its exact size and location. It would be great to match up
the accounts, the statue text and the archaeology!

What’s going on there now ?

The Egypt Exploration Society are sponsoring a survey and archaeological
assessment of the site for future work. Visitors to Sais are often
disappointed when they come to the site at the lack of things to see.
However, as our work is showing, there is much to discover about Sais.
Sometimes the visitor needs a good imagination and sometimes a lot of
scientific help. But we believe the Royal City of Sais will begin to
yield its secrets.


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« Reply #27 on: April 16, 2008, 01:34:41 pm »

Member # 117

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She was also a huntress goddess from very ancient times and the cult symbol of Sais is a target with two arrows crossed through it.
The only connection I can see with a greek godness is

Atalanta -
Atalanta was a renowned huntress and daughter of of Iasus, king of Arcadia and Clymene. Iasus put Atalanta on Mount Parthenon to die because he didn’t want a girl. Artemis sent a she-bear to take care of the baby. A band of hunters reared the child. Her hunting skills were so excellent that she dared to hunt with the all male hunting groups that went after the Calydonian Boar at the request of Meleager, prince of Calydon. Atalanta was the first to spear the boar. Meleager killed the boar and presented its hide and tusks to Atalanta, thus causing anger and strife among the men. Of course now she was famous, King Iasus claimed her as his long lost daughter and told her to marry. Atlanta was told by an oracle that she wouldn’t be happy in marriage, so she set out a contest for suitors; they would foot race her, if he lost, he would die. One suitor, Melanion, was helped by Aphrodite. She gave him 3 golden apples, he threw these off path during the race. Atalanta couldn’t resist these apples and she had to go pick them up, thus losing the race. She then married him.

Posts: 7955 | From: toledo .ohio | Registered: Mar 2000   
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« Reply #28 on: April 16, 2008, 01:35:01 pm »

Member # 117

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I some what think that Plato in his story was trying to keep the greek heros and Gods alive.
Posts: 7955 | From: toledo .ohio | Registered: Mar 2000   
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« Reply #29 on: April 16, 2008, 01:37:25 pm »



In 1997 the Egypt Exploration Society began a survey project at the ancient city of Sais in the western Egyptian delta. The aim of the survey was to record standing monuments, produce an archaeological map of the site and assess the viability of future work there. The site lies at the modern village of Sa el-Hagar which still retains the ancient city name 'Sa'. The city was the centre of the cult of the huntress goddess Neith and was possibly the centre of a Lower Egyptian kingdom in Predynastic-Early Dynastic times c. 3100 BC. In the 7th and 6th centuries BC Sais was the capital city of the whole of Egypt. Its kings refounded the temples of the gods of the city, built palaces and administrative buildings and were buried there. This was also the first time that Egypt had so completely been dominated by a westward-looking dynasty of kings, to the extent that they hired Greek mercenaries to fight for them and further opened up trade with the western Mediterranean. The Greek historian Herodotus visited the city on his visit to Egypt around 450 BC and wrote an impressive description of the splendour of the royal city. However, after visits by 19th-century explorers, the site has proved to be an archaeological disappointment, with only a few rescue excavations conducted in the area over the past 150 years.

Previous Work
The 1997-1998 EES survey established that there are two main archaeological areas at Sais. The first of these is a Northern Enclosure about 1km to the north of the village, comprising the last vestiges of an enclosure wall about 750 by 700m in area and containing two protected areas of antiquities called Kom Rebwa. These low mounds seemed to be the remains of mud brick buildings recorded as still standing in the 19th century. The second area lies just to the north of the village and is the 'Great Pit' containing a few granite blocks, limestone monumental remains and excavated mud brick structures.

Following successful completion of the topographical survey and an encouraging trial with a magnetometer, it was decided to obtain environmental and other data by beginning a series of drill cores across the site. In 1999 and 2000 this work resulted in 53 cores being taken at the site, as a result of which some small scale excavations were begun in 2000.

The Drill Core Survey
Full analysis of the results of the survey have not been completed, but the preliminary findings suggest future avenues of enquiry. The modern course of the Rosetta Branch of the River Nile lies about 2km away from the village of Sa el-Hagar and the site. It forms a huge westward bend away from the town, but inside the bend are clear levees or artificial dykes closer to the settled areas. They suggested that the river has moved westward over time and, in fact, is still doing so. The drill cores clearly showed that the river channel had changed and that it might once have run almost beside the site. Further, the drills also picked up evidence for a possible buried sand island (or gezira) lying on the western side of the village. The gezira seems to be lying at an oblique angle north-west to south under the present village and out to the western side of the archaeological areas. In Predynastic times, gezira were the focus for settlement in the delta, as they provided high ground above the level of the annual inundation. Over time many of the islands were buried by alluvial mud, but this area could have been the first settled part of the site. One of the drill cores from the west side of the Great Pit brought up pottery from 7m below the ground surface (approximately 8m below sea level), of which some was black topped and some was burnished, suggesting a possible prehistoric date. In 2000 we dug a small test trench in this area to ascertain whether it was possible to retrieve material from beneath the water table, as has been done elsewhere in Egypt. In the end we were thwarted at a depth of 3m by the sandy matrix and by a broken water pump. However the sand also contained pottery, lithics and bone which is Pre-Early Dynastic in date (c. 3100 BC). This suggests that the original pottery from the drill augur is older and possibly of Buto-Maadi culture date around 3500 BC. However the contexts in which both sets of material were found are not clear. The excavated material may have come from a river deposit against a shore or beach at the side of the gezira, and in this case may not have originated at Sais. There are clearly important questions still to be answered and as this area is earmarked for building development, further excavation is planned here in 2001.

The drill core survey picked up human cultural material in the form of pottery and burnt brick from various places around the site itself, suggesting that there are other archaeological zones beyond the limits of our original survey. A magnetometer sweep in a field between the Pit and Enclosure in 1998 had indeed picked up substantial walls of a large building. The drill core survey confirmed that they were of limestone and that the soil contained stone fragments from the destruction of a monumental building some 3m below the surface. In one of the areas to the west it is possible that there may be a harbour for the city and to the north-east of the site there is a small village called Kawady which seems to have been the site of a satellite necropolis from the Late period onwards.

In the North Enclosure, drill results from the 'walls' themselves could be interpreted as the last remaining 3m of foundation wall from the main enclosure. This area had many of its mud-brick buildings removed over the last two hundred years, for use as fertiliser on reclaimed agricultural land. However the drill cores showed substantial layers of destroyed pottery and stone up to 3m thick and often down to depths of about 7m below the modern ground surface. In field walking and the drill cores a few small sherds of Greek black gloss ware and one of East Greek pottery were also found, suggesting that comparisons with the relatively nearby Greek colony of Naukratis might be possible one day.

The drills also produced samples of soil for analysis which should give information about the plants which grew in the area in the past. Most interesting was a thick black, organic layer lying about 8-10m below the lowest ground surface (at sea level). In some places this layer was up to 80cm thick and may represent a thick peat level, perhaps the remains of the marshy reed beds of the prehistoric delta.

Excavation in Kom Rebwa
In order to obtain pottery for dating analysis and to assess the amount of structural data left behind at the site, a small test area was excavated in Kom Rebwa. The trench contained a large 5m wide wall running through it and on either side of the wall there were substantial amounts of pottery, some still in situ. On the west side of this wall were a number of pottery emplacements or cupboards where vessels had been left. Most distinctive among them were carinated bowls, tall pot stands and amphorae of early Saite date (early 7th century BC). However a fragment of Old Kingdom 'Medum Bowl' found here suggested that the interest of the Saite Egyptians in the earlier phases of their culture extended not just to high art, but even to some of the characteristic pottery types from almost fifteen hundred years earlier.

On the lower, eastern side of the wall, the remains of an earlier structure were identified underneath, with clear signs that the earlier building had been cleared away and that the material from it had been destroyed. Amongst patches of burning were found gold leaf attached to wood or cartonnage, some glass beads, a human tooth and a flint working area with blades and debitage. This earlier building had smaller walls about 0.5m thick and the chambers inside it had mud-tile flooring. Amongst the top layers of debris were also found fragments of many terracotta votive cobras, probably from a local cult of the cobra goddess Wadjyt. It seems that the later layers of material have been removed for the most part, leaving behind evidence for at least two main building phases in this area, which is most likely to represent the Saite palace complex.

Survey of Standing Monuments
It seems probable that the Saite palatial complex inside the North Enclosure was abandoned after the fall of the Saite kings and that the town contracted back to the original site near the modern village. In this area there are dumps of Roman pottery and a hellenistic bath-house, confirming the later development of the village. It is probable that the main cult temple of Neith with Osiris Hemag was located here, in the most ancient area. The limestone wall and granite blocks which survive in this area may be the last vestiges of the temple, and possibly come from its pylon at the front of the building. In this case the surviving wall suggests that it was of a comparable size to the temple complex at Karnak itself. The 'Great Pit' was quarried out at the end of the last century but the surface traces show areas of limestone chippings which are typical of destroyed monumental buildings in Egypt. There are also sandy patches which may derive from temple foundation sand-boxes and the remains of casemate foundations in this area. Numerous statues and blocks in museums all over the world testify to the reason why Sais was a magnet for collectors and antiquarians. A number of inscribed blocks and objects have been found in nearby villages or at the site and brought to the Police Office at Sa el-Hagar. They have been recorded by the EES survey along with mud brick walls excavated by the Supreme Council for Antiquities in the 1980s.

Future Work
The survey work has shown that, contrary to appearances, there is still much archaeology at Sais. Working on the material is not straightforward, however, because most of it is buried below several metres of alluvial mud and the groundwater level. Traditional techniques of archaeological excavation will be difficult and expensive. However, by using a combination of geophysical survey to locate underground material with drill augurs to ascertain the depth and nature of the material, some progress can be made. The fields are preserving the remnants of the city and its suburbs and at this point in time some progress can be made towards understanding the limits of the settlement and the buildings and satellite sites associated with it.

The most ancient part of the site, under the village, is perhaps more at risk from modern development for this will bring with it additional waste water seepage problems. However, again, using 'pin-prick' archaeology perhaps a key-hole into the Predynastic development at Sais can be obtained and the nature of the gezira settlement understood.

The most important player in the development of the settlement may, however, be the River Nile itself. Its fluctuating floods which created numerous channels of water must have been a constant problem for habitations and their occupants. Perhaps at some times the whole course of the river may have changed, sweeping away settlements and forcing the people there to move and settle nearby on new ground. This may be one of the explanations in Egyptian archaeology for the lack of material from certain periods at certain sites. It may also be a key factor in understanding the rise and fall of political power in the Egyptian State. Future work will be aimed at understanding how the Nile channels of the delta may have fashioned Egyptian history and how settlements such as Sais responded to the vagaries of the river.
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