The small calcite shrine of Amenhotep II was a rectangular structure with a roof and a single entrance door, opening to the east. Preserved fragments of the chapel show that the interior and exterior sides, as well as the front door jambs included finely cut registers of sunk relief. The chapel is currently reconstructed in the “open air museum” at Karnak using fragments discovered at the Amun and Mut temples.
Measurements: The chapel measures 4.5m across, 5.2m deep, and 6.35m high.
Phases of Construction
Recent study of the structure suggests it may have been situated between the eastern most pair of obelisks in “festival hall” of Thutmose II. The shrine’s single door would have opened to the east.
Construction materials: white calcite (“Egyptian alabaster”)
About the reconstruction model of Amenhotep II
None of the remaining relief decoration or later Ramesside inscriptions that can be seen today on the reconstructed chapel were reproduced on the model.
The chapel was reconstructed based on the drawings and dimensions provided by Van Siclen (1986: pls. 2-3). Its location and orientation on the model follow the suggestions by Larché (2007: 477-480).
The chapel was given a plain white calcite pattern, created using photographs of the stone from Karnak.
It should be noted that after the model was completed, a new hypothesis for its placement at the temple was offered by Carlotti (2008). He argues that the shrine would have originally stood within the court of the seventh pylon, in a small hall created by the addition of a newly identified east/west running wall bisecting the court (not shown on the model). Following his reconstruction, the chapel would have stood against the west wall of the court, opening inward. A second chapel, made of red granite, mirrored it on the east side of the hall. Both structures were flanked by short partition walls, creating small rooms along the sides of each chapel. Both sides of the court would have been roofed by a pillared portico.
Destruction: Amenhotep III
When Amenhotep III disassembled the “festival court” of Thutmose II for the construction of the third pylon, he dismantled the shrine and used part of it as fill. Other fragments of the chapel must have remained at Karnak, as Ramesses II reused its interior north and south walls for his “dedication stela” and his “marriage stela,” both set up at the nearby Mut Temple.
Modern Site Photos
Carlotti, Jean-François. (2008),Le mur fantôme de la « cour de la Cachette » du temple d’Amon-Rê à Karnak. Bibliothèque d’étude. vol. 143 , 55-66.
Van Siclen, Charles. (1986),The Alabaster Shrine of King Amenhotep II. San Antonio: Brooklyn Museum
Larché, François. (2007),Nouvelles observations sur les monuments du Moyen et du Nouvel Empire dans la zone centrale du temple d’Amon. Cahiers de Karnak. vol. XII , 407-592.