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Divine CreaturesAnimal Mummies in Ancient Egypt$
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Salima Ikram

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9789774248580

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774248580.001.0001

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Tuna al-Gebel: Millions of Ibises and Other Animals

Tuna al-Gebel: Millions of Ibises and Other Animals

(p.120) 6 Tuna al-Gebel: Millions of Ibises and Other Animals
Divine Creatures

Dieter Kessler

Abd el Halim Nur el-Din

American University in Cairo Press

Tuna al-Gebel refers to a natural low-lying basin that was originally regularly filled with water by the inundation of the river-canal of the Bahr Yusuf. A shift to a semiarid climate, resulting in higher Nile floods dramatically altered the floodplain after the New Kingdom. The earliest extant archaeological structures known at the mouth of the great desert valley of Tuna-South until now do not lie on the surface, but underground, consisting of the vast subterranean world of the animal galleries of Tuna al-Gebel. These are the burial places of ibises, baboons, falcons, and other sacred animals, at the foot of the western limestone cliff immediately to the north of the desert wadi. This chapter discusses the foundation of the first Egyptian ibis burial place. It also talks about the cultic function of deified ibises in the new ibiotapheion.

Keywords:   Tuna al-Gebel, river-canal, Bahr Yusuf, New Kingdom, desert wadi, ibiotapheion

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