The SS Misr left El Minya early in the morning and we made our way to Tell El Amarna. The morning was spent eating breakfast, a late one at 7.00am, then a lecture by George Hart on the “Arts in the Reigns of Akhenaten and Nefertiti”. An early morning lecture, so wide awake for this one.
If we were not full enough after breakfast, it was an early 11.30 Lunch. We arrived at our destination of Tell El Amarna and moored up in a small compound next to the waterside archealogical museum.
The whole of the afternoon was spent touring, first were two sites to see close to the river. The first was the small temple of the Atun (Aten). There was not much to be seen, some mud walls and a rebuilt column. A breeze blew and there was a small sandstorm over the walls There had been considerable archaeological research here, and now the site was becoming buried again with sand. Probably a good thing, the mud block walls are very friable, and at least the sand protects them.
Next we drove a short distance to the Palace of Akenaten. We had seen the remains of the decorated plaster floor at the Eygyptian Museum in Cairo. This had been removed because the locals of this village had started to destroy it, fed up with tourists traipsing over their land. We could not get into the site, viewing it from one spot. George was allowed by the guides to speak here. Apparently the archaeologist who excavated the palace had been George’s Mentor.
Back on to the coaches to see Northern Tombs. The coaches split, we went first to see the Boundary Stelae of Akhenaten. This was a huge carving in the mountain, decreeing this to be the boundary of Akhenaten’s land. There were some steps up to the Stelae and a good view of the flat desert to the Nile.
Next stop was a drive up the Royal Wadi to the tomb of Akhenaten. It was nearly 8K along the wadi. Unfortunately, the tomb had been damaged by flash flooding. It was quite dark there, despite lots of lighting, most of which were not turned on. I think the generator had broken, and a small portable one was being used in its place. Large tomb with a long walk down, some anti robber and flooding
Next, we drove to the Northern Tombs, parked in the bus park and walked up to the tombs with our guard. These tombs were high up on the cliff, good views across the desert to the Nile.
Tomb 4 – Merya/
Tomb 5 – Penthu served at court during the 18th dynasty reign of the Pharaoh Akhenaten. The quality of the wall carvings here were poor.
Tomb 6 – Panehesy Chief servitor of the Aten in the temple of Aten in Akhetaten. This tomb again had some good wall carvings, and columns.
These tombs were high up on the cliff and required a short walk up steps to access them. Again good views across the desert to the Nile. Pit it was always hazy.
Our final stop was the museum where there was a reconstruction of rooms from houses and palaces in the region. We were able to walk to the boat and were soon ready for cocktails and dinner. Another boat moored up next to us in the evening.