sabato 9 agosto 2014

Gebel el Silsila (Egypt): the rising life and the unfinished lion

The 'ankh hieroglyph (life) rising between two "horns" at the quarries of Gebel el Silsilah. Image from this site . See also a photo here

"Known to the ancients as Khenu or Kheny, the ancient site of Gebel el Silsila features ancient Egypt’s largest series of sandstone quarries running for c. 2.5 km on both sides of the Nile. These are preserved with a great variety of graffiti including prehistoric pictographs, hieroglyphic, hieratic, demotic, Greek and Coptic inscriptions and figurative representations dating from Old Kingdom and throughout all subsequent ancient periods, and possibly Egypt’s largest collection of quarry marks. The main objective of this project is to document Gebel el Silsila’s archaeological material including epigraphic, archaeological, geological and topographical material in order to reach a better understanding of the area, its (visiting) people." From this site:

A colossal unfinished sphinx marks the site:

Unfinished sphinx on Silsila East overlooking Silsila West. Image from this page:

"Series of Roman quarry marks - graffiti in the main quarry. Photo: M. Nilsson. During the first season (2012) the epigraphic survey concentrated on documenting late Ptolemaic and early Roman quarry marks and inscriptions. The preliminary textual analysis indicates expressions of principally personal piety and adoration (proskynemata). A stylistic pattern emerged from the analysis of the quarry marks regarding their placement and character, and indicates a non-uniform application ranging from technical sketches, identity marks or symbols related with Graeco-Egyptian deities and some with apotropaic significance". From this site: