Obelisks of Wadjet Hall


The obelisks of Hatshepsut originally stood in the Wadjet hall. The southern obelisk has fallen, but its upper section is on display near the sacred lake. The northern obelisk still graces the temple today.
Measurements: The northern obelisk stands 30m high. The southern obelisk (now fallen) would have stood to the same height.

Phases of Construction


Hatshepsut raised her obelisks in the Wadjet Hall as part of a larger series of renovations to this area, including the erection of wooden papyri-form pillars and a wooden roof. She commemorates the addition of these obelisks to the temple on her red quartzite bark shrine, the “red chapel.” Inscriptions on these monoliths recorded the celebration of her jubilee festival in her 16th regnal year. The obelisks were covered with small scenes of the queen (depicted as a male pharaoh) making offerings to the gods.

Construction materials: rose granite

About the reconstruction model of Hatshepsut

The obelisks on the model were based on the axial drawings of the hall by Carlotti and Gabolde (2003: fig. 10a-b) and photographs of the standing obelisk at Karnak today.

The four sides of the standing obelisk were photographed at the temple and placed onto the model, respecting their existing orientation. Photographs of two sides of the tip of the southern obelisk (the north and south face) were added to the model as well. They were placed according to the direction each scene faces as the monument is situated at the sacred lake. A line drawing of a third side (the west face) published in Bell (2002: Abb. 3) was traced and reworked to recreate a third side of the monument. The glyphs and granite underlay were adjusted to try and make this area match that of the two photographed sides. The missing lower portion of the obelisk was replaced with a generic rose granite texture.

Thutmose III

Thutmose III erected a new gateway within the hall, enclosing the bases of the obelisks in its stone jambs. To the portions of the obelisks still visible above the gateway, the king added new lines of text alongside those of the queen. It should be noted that a new analysis of the chronology of the Wadjet Hall has hypothesized that the queen may have enclosed the obelisks herself.

Construction materials: limestone

About the reconstruction model of Thutmose III

The new gateway and the appearance of the obelisks after their enclosure was based on the plans and axial drawings of the hall by Carlotti and Gabolde (2003: fig. 11a-b).

Modern Site Photos


Carlotti, Jean-François and Luc Gabolde. (2003),Nouvelles données sur la Ouadjyt. Cahiers de Karnak. vol. XI

Bell, Lanny. Beinlich, Horst (2002),Divine kingship and the theology of the obelisk cult in the temples of Thebes. Ägyptologische Tempeltagung : Würzburg, 23.-26. September 1999. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlagvol. 5 , 17-46.

Golvin, Jean-Claude. (1993),Hatchepsout et les obelisques de Karnak. Hatchepsout: femme pharaon. Dijon: Editions Faton

Dondelinger, Edmund. (1977),Der Obelisk : ein Steinmal ägyptischer Weltanschauung. Graz: Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt

Habachi, Labib and Charles Van Siclen. (1977),The obelisks of Egypt: skyscrapers of the past. Cairo: American University in Cairo Press

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