Tuna el-Gebel

27.78166666666730.803888888889Koordinaten: 27 ° 47 'N, 30 ° 48 ' E

Tuna el -Gebel (Arabic تونا الجبل Tuna al - Ǧabal, ancient Egyptian Ta - Henet, Greek Θῦνις ) is a village in Middle Egypt (Egypt) in the province of al - Minya on the west bank of the Nile, 15 km north- west of Mallawi and 10 km west of el- Ashmunein. Southwest of the village stretches along the edge of the desert over 7 km from north to south the same cemetery, which was used by the New Kingdom to the Late Antiquity.


Tuna el -Gebel is the cemetery of the ancient metropolis Hermopolis Magna ( Hermopolis ) ( ancient Egyptian Chemenu, now el- Aschmunein ). Hermopolis Magna was the capital of the 15th Upper Egyptian nome ( Hasengau ) and cult center of the god Thoth.

3.5 km north of the Greco -Roman necropolis and the animal galleries are the tombs of the New Kingdom, originating from the many, many museums distributed monuments. The superstructures of the cemetery are gone today. In the meantime, the third cemetery gradually shifted to the south.

A cut into the rock of the Western Mountains stele of Akhenaten ( Amenhotep IV ) once marked the northwestern limit of its newly founded capital Akhetaten ( Tell el -Amarna ).

From the 26th dynasty underground galleries were created in the rock face of the Western Mountains and buried ibis and baboon mummies in it. The beginning of the Ptolemaic period ushered in a golden age of Tiernekropole, because at 310 and 250 BC, the galleries were extended. The filing of mummies of sacred animals in the galleries was defined in the 1st century AD.

The cemetery is known in addition to the animal galleries for its tombs of Greco- Roman times. In the early Ptolemaic period incurred stone tombs that mimic the shape of a temple with pronaos. The best-known and best-preserved grave is that of Petosiris, who belonged to a family of cult leaders in Tuna el -Gebel. South of Petosiris tomb was a large necropolis of stone tombs and multi-storied adobe buildings, which was used until late antiquity.

In the north of the necropolis later arose the Coptic Monastery Deir Nazlet Tuna.

History of Research

Günter Grimm and Dieter Kessler represent the state of the research of Tuna el -Gebel dar. since 1913

First excavations at Tuna el -Gebel led André Gombert 1902/ 03 on behalf of the Institut français d' archéologie orientale by. In January 1913, the government architect Walter Honroth undertook as part of the Amarna mission of the German Oriental Society a brief examination of the Roman period tombs near the boundary stelae of Akhenaten. End of 1919, the Egyptian Antiquities Service of the knowledge of the famous grave of Petosiris, which was exposed in the following year by Gustave Lefebvre and published a little later. Between 1931 and 1952 laid the University of Cairo, headed by Sami Gabra the terraces around the grave of Petosiris graves free. Single finds of the excavation reached in the Egyptian Museum Cairo, the Museum of the Faculty of Archaeology, Cairo University, in the antiquities museum in Mallawi or were sold.

Between 1972 and 1974, Günter Grimm and Dieter John undertook on behalf of the German Archaeological Institute, a documentation of the tombs of the Greco- Roman necropolis and the objects in the antiquities museum in Mallawi. Since 1989, studying a joint mission of the Institute of Egyptology at the Ludwig- Maximilians- University Munich and the Faculty of Archaeology, Cairo University animal galleries and the associated cult and administrative buildings. In addition, since 2004 studied an excavation mission of the Roemer- und Pelizaeus - Museum Hildesheim turn the Greco-Roman necropolis.

The animal galleries

Since the 26th dynasty ( about 600 BC ) underground galleries were created in which baboons and ibises in clay vessels, were also buried in sarcophagi and coffins ( Gallery D). The galleries are therefore also referred to as Ibiotapheion. The sacred animals were kept at a breeding place ( Ibiotropheion ) on a then-existing lake. From the Ptolemaic period there has hardly been several Ibiotropheia near the galleries. Tuna el -Gebel was from the 6th to the 4th century BC, the only burial site for sacred ibises in Egypt. Prove Demotic papyri that therefore ibises were brought from all over Egypt for burial according to Tuna el -Gebel. Although predominantly ibises were buried, the remains of many other animals found in the galleries.

To 380 BC ( Nectanebo I ) niches were created in the galleries, where sarcophagi were placed with Ibismumien ( Gallery CD). Pavia mummies were sealed in niches behind the so-called closure panels. Since the Ptolemaic coffins and sarcophagi for animal mummies were additionally provided with demotic inscriptions. Under Ptolemy I (c. 310 BC), the galleries were expanded considerably ( galleries CC, CA) and cult places in decorated chambers furnished. Under Ptolemy II (250 BC) Gallery B was applied and a stone entrance building with horns altar in the north. In the first century BC Another northern entrance was created ( Gallery A). In the galleries were buried up to the first century BC, animal mummies.

In Gallery CD for a painted wooden box for a baboon mummy with the cartridge Darius I and some Aramaic private letters of the late 6th or early 5th century BC were discovered in a clay pot, which were originally addressed to Luxor or Syene and from unknown reason, were deposited in the galleries.

The temples of Tuna el -Gebel

West of the Greco-Roman necropolis are the remains of the temple of the primeval god Thoth. At the entrance to the Temple of Osiris Gallery C Baboon lies with accompanying priest's house. On a plateau above the animal galleries are the remains of another stone, Late Period temple, which was excavated by Sami Gabra and Roman period adobe buildings. A Naos Nectanebo II, who must also come from Tuna el - Gebel, is now in the front garden of the Antiquities Museum in Mallawi.

The Temple of the primeval god Thoth

South of the galleries and west of the Südnekropole are the remains of the Roman period built on elevated ground Thot temple, which is certainly older origin. The courtyard of the temple consisted of a peristyle, the rear part were held in a garden, in the most sacred animals. A 35 m deep well shaft ( it - Saqqiya ) is located in the center of the plant. The Temple of the primeval god Thoth was certainly the goal of processions, led by Thoth in Hermopolis Magna temple in the necropolis of Tuna el - Gebel, to perform the regeneration of Thoth. There's nothing of the decoration of the older Thot temple is received, the ritual processes of the temple can be harnessed only indirectly. Latest under Nectanebo II, the temple building was built on the site where it has probably already given before a new location closer to the village temple. Under Ptolemy I, a Serapeum was connected to the original temple. Later the temple in such a Serapeum was converted by the witness, the visible remains today.

The Great Temple was dig by Sami Gabra what there is a preliminary report of the excavation architect Alexander Badawy.

The temple of Osiris - Baboon

The temple of Osiris - Baboon was built around 310 BC under the satrap Ptolemy I in the name of Alexander IV in front of a new entrance into the animal Galleries ( Gallery C) of limestone. In the temple found on feast days instead of Osiris rites with which the Nekropolengötter Osiris - Baboon and Ibis Osiris were connected. There probably oracle requests have been made that are witnessed by demotic papyri. Today, remains of the temple are only visible, which was exposed for the first time by Sami Gabra. Between 1989 and 1992, the temple was once again exposed.

South of the temple is a now heavily decayed, elongated adobe house. It was built around 170 BC and was the duty priests as living and working space ( Pastophorion ). The house consists of a space for storage of the cult image of Osiris - Baboon, a meeting and writing room, a kitchen area as well as an archive. Outside the priest house of the famous Codex Hermopolis was 1938/39, found a demotic papyrus, in addition to mathematical calculations contains the previously oldest known collection of legal cases from Egypt. The priest's house was exposed again in the years 1993/94.

From the Temple of Osiris - Baboon a processional way leading to the ancient settlement, where there are many graves of limestone and mud-brick lined. East of the temple runs between the Great Temple and the entrance of Gallery A from north to south, a broad, approximately 261 m long Mauerzug, which must have been exposed in 1913 once.

The Greco-Roman necropolis

To the south of the tomb of Petosiris extends a necropolis of limestone and mudbrick buildings.