Chapels southwest of the enclosure wall of the main Ptolemaic temple
A group of cult structures is located to the south and southwest of the enclosure wall of the main Ptolemaic temple. Bruyère called these buildings Chapelle Votive. Many of these lay on the lower slopes of the cliff face while others were situated on a narrow terrace cut into the rock at a higher level.
My aim was to compare Ann Bomann's plans and detailed descriptions using her text published in 1991 pp. 40-44 with the remains of the cult buildings at Deir el-Medina in February 2007.
The results together with the photographs can be found on the page below.
Chapelle Votive 1
This chapel was situated southwest of the main enclosure wall. Its long axis was parallel to the wall. It lays on the level valley floor just before the escarpment to the sheer cliffs
rising to the west. Its sanctuary lay to the northwest.
The structure included a forecourt, outer and inner halls, a pronaos and sanctuary, and a side annexe. The length of the building, including the forecourt, was some 19.15 metres. The mud bricks measured on average
The forecourt had two entrances to the north, one to the south and possibly one to the east.
The outer hall was reduced in size to that of the inner hall and appears to form an antechamber to the latter. The inner hall had two benches set against the north and south walls. The bench to the north was 39 cms deep, 30 cms high and 3.03 metres long. The southern one was half that length. According to plans, 12 limestone seats were originally sunk into benches, 7 to the north
and 6 to the south. According to Ann Bomann, some of these seats may be those now lodged in the Turin Museum. They are inscribed in ink or engraved with the names of the workers from the village.
Beyond the inner hall were the pronaos and sanctuary. The pronaos was 4.40x2 metres. Its entrance wall was a single course of mudbrick divided by a doorway consisting of 2 piers and a step. The sanctuary had three niches and benches set against the back walls.
The area viewed from the west
Abutting the south or left side of the chapel was an annexe which could be entered by the forecourt,
outer and inner hall, and sanctuary.
The annexe was divided into 3 compartments with interconnecting doors.
Chapelle Votive 2
This chapel lay to the southwest of Chapelle Votive 1, with its sanctuary to the west. Only the shell of the building survives to this day. The structure includes an irregularly shaped forecourt, outer and inner halls, a pronaos and sanctuary.
A series of terraces and stairs led to the forecourt. In the outer hall was a rectangular pit. These features could be
remains of foundations of some earlier houses or chapels dating back to the 18th dynasty.
Bonnet and Valbelle excavated houses south of this chapel. The houses were dated to Tuthmosis I (1524-1518 BC).
The inner hall had 2 jar emplacements near the north wall. No benches appeared in either of the two halls.
The pronaos was entered by 4 steps set between
balustrades. At the southern end was a sunken rectangular area. The sanctuary was divided asymmetrically into a large and small compartment.
The area is riddled with tomb shafts. Their association with Chapelle Votive is not proved. Remains of foundations of earlier houses and/or chapels dating to the 18th dynasty are to be found here as well.
Photography © Lenka Peacock 2007
1. Bomann, Ann H.: The private chapel in ancient Egypt : a study of the chapels in the workmen's village at el Amarna with special reference to Deir el-Medina and other sites.
London : Kegan Paul International, 1991.