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Samne Temple

Edited excerpt from: Travels in Nubia
by John Lewis Burckhardt
Published in 1819.

Samne Temple, March 19th, 1813.
On setting out our path lay along a narrow passage between rocks of granite, quartz, and feldspar. In three hours, we reached Wady Samne, near which is a cataract in the river. The stream forces its way through a narrow passage, not more than fifty paces in width, formed by two rocks which project from the opposite sides.

On the east side, upon a hill over the cataract, are some brick ruins, on the west side, are similar ruins. (see Semna and Kumma below) An ancient temple is on the top of the hill. It is built of sandstone, and differs in its shape from other Egyptian temples, though it somewhat resembles in its plan the small temple of Elephantine.

A small temple and rolling thunder-clouds.
Samne - from the book "Nubia and Abyssinia", published 1833.

The Temple consists of a principal building twelve paces in length, and three paces only in width. On each side stood originally four small pillars, of which two remain on one side, and three on the other. One pillar has a polygonal shaft, the others are square, they are all covered with sculptures. The pillars are joined to the main building by blocks of stone, which serve as a roof to the vestibule. There are two small gates. The inner walls of the apartment are covered with hieroglyphs and mystic representations of the divine worship. On both sides a long ship is sculpted, with Osiris in it, and a group of two figures resting their hands upon each other's shoulders is everywhere repeated. The roof is painted blue, and there are some remains of colors upon several of the figures.

Near the rear wall a statue lies on the floor, the head of which has been cut off. It is about five feet high, the arms are crossed upon the chest, in one hand is the flail and in the other the instrument usually called a crosier. All the sculptures are of coarse execution, several of the lines of hieroglyphics are not straight, as if they had been the work of young persons only learning their art. Some of the hieroglyphics on the pillars have evidently been left unfinished.

A part of the wall appears to be of a different date from the rest, as it is constructed of stones much larger, and better hewn. There seems to have been another similar building near this temple, for several capitals of columns are lying on the ground, along with a large block of granite covered with hieroglyphs. All around are heaps of rubbish. The temple is surrounded by ruined brick buildings, which are certainly of high antiquity. They cover the top of the hill which overhangs the shore, and are enclosed by a double wall, or rather by a wall within a parapet. The wall is of brick, from eight to twelve feet thick, and was upwards of thirty feet in height. The parapet is constructed of stone, twenty feet in width, with sides sloping towards the declivity of the hill. The stones of the parapet are thrown irregularly upon each other, without cement, but those which form the sloping side are cut so as to present a perfectly smooth surface. This must have rendered it impossible for anyone to climb over it. These works of defence indicate powerful enemies, but who they were, it is impossible to ascertain.

Edited excerpt from: Travels in Nubia
by John Lewis Burckhardt
Published in 1819.

The Twin cities of Semna and Kumma

Located twenty miles south of the second Nile cataract, just near Samne Temple, Semna and Kumma were the outposts of the Egyptian empire in the Twelth Dynasty. Kumma is on the east bank, Semna across the river on the west.

Semna and Kumma
by Ernst Weidenbach, 1850

Another view of the same scene,
ruins of forts are on both sides of the river.
By Karl Richard Lepsius, 1859.

by Prisse d'Avennes, 1878

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