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Jebel Barkal, Nubia (Sudan)

Interactive Virtual Reality Publication and Research Resource - Temple B600

page added November 14, 2018

 Temple B600 - a brief history

plan of B600 and B700The Enthronement Pavillion (or Temple B600) is the earliest known stone structure at the site, dating to the 18th Dynasty reign of Thutmose IV (c.1401-1391 BCE). The plan consists of a long stairway that led up to the entry portico (601), both of these features have largely disappeared. A central chamber (602) had four columns, and the innermost chamber (603) contained a low, stepped plastered podium built against the back wall (see the plan at the left; hover over to enlarge).

photograph showing the remains of B600Temple B600 was constructed of finely cut sandstone blocks and positioned just abutting the rock base of Jebel Barkal (Temple B700 was later built right next to it around 650 BCE; see the view of the remains at the left; image courtesy of Timothy Kendall; hover over to enlarge). Due to its proximity to the falling rocks from the jebel, B600 had to be rebuilt several times. The remains of the currently visible structure date mostly to the 3rd century BCE, when the structure became the enthronement pavillion (it does not seem to have been dedicated to any particular deity). There do not seem to be any carvings on the walls; perhaps they were merely painted.

 Temple B300 - 3D reconstruction

B600 and B700 reconstructed in contextTemple B600 sits higher up against the jebel than adjacent B700, necessitating a flight of stairs in front (now lost; see a view of both temples as reconstructed at the left; hover over to enlarge; see also the plan above).

remains of the stepped platform in room B602The low stepped platform in the back room (603), dating to the Meroitic period, has four pairs of holes cut into its top surface (see the photo of the podium at the left; image courtesy of Timothy Kendall; hover over to enlarge).

the stepped platform and baldachin reconstructedThe positions and sizes of the holes indicate that the podium once supported a baldachin with round legs (under which probably stood a wooden throne). A set of four larger round holes in the floor surrounding the podium indicate that both the throne and baldachin were covered by a still larger baldachin (see the reconstruction rendering at the left; hover over to enlarge).

B600 cutaway renderingAnother group of four round holes in the floor of Room 602 revealed that the approach to the throne through the inner chamber had also been canopied by a third baldachin. B600 in its Kushite state thus recalls the kind of royal pavillion that can be see first depicted on the Narmer macehead. That image shows a stepped platform, sometimes of considerable height, on which the king appears, crowned and seated on his throne under a baldachin. Later illustrations illustrate a lower platform to give greater emphasis to the king’s figure. He is even occasionally shown sitting beneath multiple baldachins, as we seem to have in B600.

 Temple B300 - bibliography

Kendall, Timothy
1990     "The Gebel Barkal Temples, 1989-90: a progress report on the work of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Sudan Mission," Seventh International Conference for Nubian Studies, Geneva, September 3-8, 1990 (privately printed and distributed).

Reisner, G. A.
1918     "The Barkal Temples in 1916 [Part II],"The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 5:99-112 (esp. pp.99-100).

(compiled for Learning Sites by Timothy Kendall)