Temple of Athribis

Temple of Athribis

Athribis “Nag Sheikh Hamad now” is located about 7 km west of the city of Sohag, Sohag governorate. It was the ancient city affiliated with the ninth region of the ancient provinces of Egypt. It is an integrated archaeological city known as “whale-repyt” after the goddess Repyt, the local goddess, Lady Athribis, which appears in the form of a female lion. Ancient Athribis contains the ruins of Athribis Temple.

Location of the Athribis Temple

Athribis temple stands about 7 kilometres or 4 miles southwest of the modern city of Sohag (about 200km or 125mi north of Luxor), at the foot of the mountains on the west bank of the Nile.

History of Athribis Temple

Dating back to the 4th century BC, Athribis was founded relatively late than many other ancient Egyptian temples. Its temple exists to the west of the settlement with mud-brick houses, which have yet to excavate.

The Ptolemaic and Roman Period tombs of the city’s residents dating up to the 4th century AD stand on the nearby mountain. Above the burials are the limestone quarries from which the temple’s stones blocks were sourced.

Major excavations of the archaeological site of Athribis were undertaken by William Flinders Petrie in 1906–1907, by the Egyptian Antiquities Authority in 1981–1997, and by the Egyptian-German mission in 2003–2012.

The temple of Ptolemy XII is one of the most important temples on the site; Completed by the Roman emperors Tiberius until Hadrian, the temple suffered an earthquake that caused it to destroy and was used for several purposes; the 26 columns surrounding the inner walls of the temple. It has a unique design in Egyptian architecture. The walls of the Holy of holies depicted the fantastic procession of daily gods, representing a day of the Egyptian calendar, each carrying a vase in the form of a hawk’s head topped by a sun disk.

The Temple of Ptolemy IX stands to the west of the Temple of Ptolemy XII. The temple was dedicated to the worship of the Meen-Ra temple. And the temple is still buried under the sand, and its gate was found in 1983, linking the two temples to a floor of stone tiles.

The archaeological site includes the rock temple of Asclepius, which consists of a court, a stone façade, and two halls carved into the rock. The temple has dated to the end of the Ptolemaic period based on its decoration.

The excavations of the temple also revealed the remains of a Coptic Basilica Church on the south side, three longitudinal corridors divided by two rows of columns that could be dated by breaking the pottery found to the 5th and 6th centuries AD.

The visit concludes with the open museum, which includes some stone blocks of the temple’s facade, the remains of the entrance, the Cornish and the doorsteps held on the columns of crowns in the goddess Hathor form.

The area also contains three temples that have been uncovered so far, the most important of which is the temple dedicated to the worship of the god “Min-Ra” and his wives Labet and Repyt (Repit) and their son “Colentis”, which was built by King Ptolemy the XII “Auliitis” and completed by the Roman emperors.

The temple contains a portico with 26 columns surrounding the temple from the eastern, western and northern sides and three rooms behind the sanctuary. All open in the north direction, opposite the entrance to the temple. The temple was discovered by the archaeologist Petri in 1907 AD. The Egyptian Antiquities Authority adopted a project of excavation it while Between 1983 and 1997, the “Egyptian-German” mission undertook to complete the discovery of its ruins.

During the restoration work, the Sheikh Hamad area was provided with many services, including the installation of surveillance cameras, instructional panels, the construction of a visitor building and a cafeteria, and several bazaars, in addition to the development of indicative and identification panels.

Tübingen archaeologists began digging at Athribis—located about 120 miles north of Luxor—in 2003. Initially, excavations were focused on a large temple built by Ptolemy to honour the lion goddess Repit and her consort Min. The temple was transformed into a nunnery after pagan worship was banned in Egypt in 380 C.E. The team has recently shifted focus to a separate sanctuary west of the temple.

According to the statement, Leitz and his team found the ostraca near a series of “multi-story buildings with staircases and vaults” to the west of the leading dig site. Before the excavation, reports Science Alert, the only comparable collection of ostraca discovered in Egypt was a cache of medical writings found in the workers’ settlement of Deir el-Medinah, near the Valley of the Kings, in the early 1900s.

“This is a significant discovery because it sheds light on the economy and trade in Atribis throughout history,” Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Egyptian antiquities ministry’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, tells Nevine El-Aref of Ahram Online. “The text reveals the financial transactions of the area’s inhabitants, who bought and sold provisions such as wheat and bread.”

A German-Egyptian mission at Al-Sheikh Hamad archaeological site in Tel Athribis in Sohag has unearthed a collection of 13,000 ostraca (clay vessel fragments) which bear engraved text in demotic, hieratic, Coptic, Greek and Arabic, the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism said on Wednesday.

“This is a significant discovery because it sheds light on the economy and trade in Athribis throughout history. The text reveals the financial transactions of the area’s inhabitants, who bought and sold provisions such as wheat and bread,” said Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the antiquities ministry’s Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Christian Latis, head of the German mission, explains that archaeologists are now studying the ostraca to learn more about the activities of the area’s past inhabitants.

Latis suggests that the text on the ostraca indicates that the area may have housed a school for teaching demotic, hieratic, hieroglyphic and Greek writing.

Mohamed Abdel-Badia, head of the central department for Upper Egypt, revealed that the mission has also found a collection of ostraca that date back to the Roman or Byzantine eras.

Atribis was one of the ancient towns of the nine nomes of ancient Egypt. It is located on the west bank of the Nile southwest of Sohag city.