The Reliefs of the Chapel of Nebhepetra Mentuhotep at Gebelein (CGT 700311-277).

Author:Teeter, Emily
Position:Book review

The Reliefs' of the Chapel of Nebhepetra Mentuhotep at Gebekin (CGT 700311-277). By ELISA FIORE MAROCHFTFI. Culture and History of the Ancient Near East. vol. 39. Leiden: BRILL., 2010. Pp. xiv + 154. 57 plates. $216.

The chapel of Mentuhotep (Dynasty 11, ca. 2064-2013 B.C.) discussed in this volume was probably originally located on the southern of two hills overlooking the Nile at Gebelein. The southern hill has a long history of occupation, serving also as the site of an Early Dynastic chapel, a fort of Menkheperre, and a temple of Ptolemy VIII. The better-known Predynastic and Early Dynasty remains at Gebelein were recovered from the northern of the two hills.

The site of the Middle Kingdom chapel was studied between 1891 and 1937 by a series of archaeologists. The chapel was an utter ruin. Grebaut, who worked at the site from 1891 to 1892, transferred ten blocks that were found incorporated into Ptolemaic houses at the foot of the southern gebel to the Egyptian Museum. In 1910, a further 270 fragments found scattered around the ruins of the fortress of Menkheperre were collected by Schiaparelli, and they ultimately entered the Turin collection. A few fragments are still at the site.

The author opens her study with comments on the site, its ancient name, and the identity of the local god(s). Parts of this discussion are complicated by awkward English and poor organization. For example, on page 6: "The three names Jnrty, J'rw, Pr-hwt-hr refer strictly to the locality of Gebelein. Jwnwt is difficult to classify. ..." leaving the reader to wonder what is Jwnwt and what does it have to do with the already mentioned names? The discussion of Jwnwt appears a page later. The comments on orthography of toponyms would have benefited by having been given in transcription.

The discussion of the gods of Gebelein fares better. The early gods are Anubis of Jnrty, Anubis of T3-hd, and Thoth. The author asserts that the cult of Hathor is not attested at the site prior to the First Intermediate Period, disputing Morenz's suggestion that the protodynastic temple may have been dedicated to that goddess. However, understanding what the author is conveying is hampered by imprecision or even outright errors, such as the reference to "topographic lists of the temple of Ramesses VI at Medinet Habu" (p. 9), whereas these texts actually appear on the east face of the enclosure wall of Ramesses III.

The following section details the history of Gebelein in the First Intermediate...

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