12th International Conference for Meroitic Studies

12th International Conference for Meroitic Studies

Vom 5. bis zum 9. September fand am National Museum in Prag die 12th International Conferenz for Meroitic Studies statt. Das Naga-Projekt war mit fünf Vorträgen zu den folgenden Themen vertreten:

Early Naga (D. Wildung)
According to our actual state of knowledge, the heyday of the Meroitic city of Naga is the 1st century AD. The Amun Temple and the Lion Temple were built under Amanitore and Natakamani, temple Naga 200 under Amanikhareqerema, and the Hathor Chapel („Roman Kiosk“) can be dated to the same epoch. Archaeological evidence for the history of Naga before 200 BC, as indicated by the mention of „Apedemak of Tolkte“ in an inscription in Musawwarat, was lacking so far. During the ongoing excavations several architectural and sculptural features have been unearthed at different places in stratigraphical contexts datable by C14 to the 3rd and 2nd century BC. Future work will try to clarify the early history of Naga as the southernmost city of the kingdom of Meroe.

The Lion Temple 2 at Naga (K. Kröper)
A larger hill to the North of the Lion-temple in Naga, consisting of collapsed large sized sandstone blocks has been excavated during the last season in Naga. The removal of many of the stones has brought surprizing result. The building placed on top of a decorated podium turned out to be a temple of unusual plan with relief decoration possibly dedicated to the god Apedemak. Architecture, date and dedication are to be considered.

New Discoveries in the Lion Temple of Naga (C. Perzlmeier)
When Caillaud visited Naga in 1822 he documented a very well preserved temple dedicated to the lion god Apedemak, the so-called Lion temple. The Naga Project – belonging the Egyptian museum of Munich since 2013 – started excavations in 1995 and the Lion temple (Naga 300) was one of the first monuments which was studied.
The reliefs of these temple, the most preserved in Naga, were already recorded in 1978 by a team from Tübingen1. In 1995 and 1996, the Naga Project team cleared the inside of the temple which was covered with debris including collapsed stones from the walls. During that time, the remains of a sanctuary was found. The front area of the temple was excavated in the following years and a porticus with several finds discovered.
The main area of excavations in Naga in the following years2 was dedicated to other temples and we only returned to the Lion temple in 2014-16. At this time the area around the Lion temple and the buildings adjoining it were examined. Also sondages at the corners especially at the West side were carried out to establish the foundation condition before large restoration could be undertaken. During these sondages surprising finds were made, perhaps indicating a rethinking of chronology of this area.

Queen Amanishakheto in Naga (J. Kuckertz)
During the excavations of the Naga-Project – Munich in the temples of Naga several stelae were found, sometimes bearing the name of the famous queen Amanishakheto or in some cases fragments attributed to her on the basis of stylistic and palaeographic grounds. These finds came to light in a seemingly paradoxical archaeological location, namely in temples of Natakamani and Amanitore built long after the reign of Amanishakheto. This has led to discussions about the chronological place of this queen. In reviewing the evidence of her documents some considerations will be discussed concerning chronological questions and ideological background.

Presentation of the Conservation and Restauration Accompanying the Excavations in Naga (J. Hamann)
The restoration works which have been performed in Naqa for the last 15 years by “Restaurierung am Oberbaum” should be presented on the example of the Temple of Amun, the Chapel of Hathor and the Temple 200. All restorative works mean changes at the historical site and require diverse conservationrelated questioning and a profound restoration concept. In Naqa possibilities, facts and aims when dealing with archaeological cultural heritage have been concretised for many years.

The restorative consolidation of the Temple of Amun includes diverse materials and their adequate handling. Burnt and unburnt bricks, different sand stone varieties, remains of lime plaster and polychrome surfaces. For conservatory reasons as well as for the visual reconstruction collapsed columns have been re-erected at the original place. Destroyed and statically relevant areas have been exchanged. The existing inventory has only been secured. At the same time the temple´s original dimensions have become perceivable once again without any reconstructions.

The Chapel of Hathor was heavily endangered in its structural stability. The building´s sand stone structure was shifted and heavily damaged. An extensive inventory recording was done (3D Scan) as well as a conservation of the chapel which should change the found condition as little as possible. Where it was necessary sand stone was conserved or partly dismantled and replaced by static stone supplements or artificial stone replicas. To prevent a drifting apart anchorings and struttings were carriedout.

Only remains of the original Temple 200 are preserved, the original stone material is destroyed to a large extent. On account of the partly well preserved reliefs parts of the temple´s outer wall were complexly conserved for museum presentation. The single stone blocks were brought to the “Neues Museum” in Berlin where they became installed in a specially made shelf system.