Chapels southwest of the
enclosure wall of the main
Ptolemaic temple
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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. pp. 40-44.
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 pages below.    
back to chapels
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
33x15x9 cms.
The forecourt had two entrances
to the north, one to the south
and possibly one to the east.
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
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
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
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.
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
The area viewed from the west
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