Wadjet Hall

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Introduction


The Wadjet Hall was located between the fourth pylon and fifth pylon. Large, broken sandstone statues of Thutmose I still adorn the rectangular hall. According to Ramesside inscriptions, the Wadjet Hall was used for both the king’s coronation ceremony and the celebration of the jubilee (heb-sed) festival until it was superseded by the hypostyle hall in the 19th Dynasty.
Measurements: The hall measures 75m wide by 14m deep.

Phases of Construction

Thutmose I

Thutmose began construction on a new hall between the fourth and fifth pylons. The process proceeded in two phases: in the first phase, a line of rectangular niches was inserted in the east wall of the fourth pylon for the placement of seated statues of the king in the pose of the god Osiris.

In the second phase, a second group of larger Osiride statues (3.15m tall) were placed lining the wall between the niches. Traces of blue and black paint on these statues show that they were painted. The colossi on the north side wore the double crown while those to the south wore the white crown. The differing form of the statues paid homage to the religious beliefs of the union of the god Osiris with the solar god.

Fluted sandstone columns with inscriptions of the king were added to the four sides of the hall, forming a covered peristyle to protect the exposed statuary. Only the peristyle was roofed.

Construction materials: sandstone

About the reconstruction model of Thutmose I

The model of the hall was based on the plans and axial drawings of Carlotti and Gabolde (2003: figs. 8-9a and b). The seated statues in the niches of the east sides of the 4th and 5th pylons were based on the axial drawings and photographs of the statues of Larche (2007: pls. XLVII-XLIX and LXXXII). The Osiride statues of Thutmose I were designed based on photographs of the remains of the extant colossi.

Hatshepsut

The queen extensively renovated the hall of Thutmose I. She removed the stone columns of Thutmose I, replacing them with five gilded-wood papyriform wadj columns, giving the hall its name: Wadjet. The northern and southern areas of the hall were roofed with a wooden ceiling supported by these columns. During her reign, Hatshepsut also erected a pair of rose granite obelisks in the hall. The central area of the hall must therefore have been left open to the air for the placement of her obelisks. These monoliths recorded her celebration of a jubilee festival in her 16th regnal year.

Construction materials: wood, rose granite

About the reconstruction model Hatshepsut

The model of the hall during the reign of Hatshepsut was based on the plans and axial drawings of Carlotti and Gabolde (2003: figs. 10a and b).

A dark wood pattern was added to the roof and columns on the model to give a general idea of how the hall and its wooden structures may have looked during the queen’s reign.

For a description of the reconstruction of Hatshepsut’s red granite obelisks, see the webpage: Obelisks of Wadjet Hall.

Thutmose III

In the reign of Thutmose III, a stone gateway was erected around the obelisks of Hatshepsut, leaving only their top portions visible. Her cartouches were not destroyed before their encasement, so this new construction is not interpreted as the beginning of the proscription against the queen. The king also replaced the hall’s wooden columns and roof with six monumental papyrus-form stone columns in the north and eight in the south. In order to support his new roof, he added a stone lining to the interior of the hall. This lining covered over the niches in the fourth pylon, obscuring the seated statues of Thutmose I. The colossi of Thutmose I remained visible, now themselves recessed between the panels of the new stone lining.

Construction materials: sandstone, limestone

About the reconstruction model of Thutmose III

The model of the hall was based on the plans and axial drawings of Carlotti and Gabolde (2003: figs. 11-12 a and b). The location and size of the hall’s clerestory windows were based on the reconstructions of the hall by Larche (2007: pl. LXXIX).

A simple sandstone pattern was added to the new features. The incised leaf pattern on the base of the remaining papyrus columns were traced from photographs at Karnak and placed atop the stone pattern in the model.

Amenhotep II

Amenhotep II completed the south section of the new Wadjet Hall.

Construction materials: sandstone, limestone

About the reconstruction model of this Amenhotep II

On the model, this phase is shown with the previous phase.

Documentation

Carlotti, Jean-François. (2003),Nouvelles données sur la Ouadjyt. Cahiers de Karnak. vol. XI , 255-338.

Larché, François. (2000),New statues at Karnak. Egyptian archaeology. vol. 16 , 31.

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.

Larché, François and Nicolas Grimal. (2003),Karnak, 1994-1997. Cahiers de Karnak. vol. XI , 7-64.