Abusir

ABUSIR

A modern village a few miles south of Cairo and famous for the pyramids from the Old Kingdom of Sahurê (Fifth Dynasty), Neferikare (Fifth Dynasty), and Ne-user-Rê (Fifth Dynasty). In the village, itself are the remains of a temple from the New Kingdom, probably dedicated to Osiris. It is possible that the town Busiris, mentioned in Roman documents, lay in the same spot (cf. Calderini, 1988, p. 67). In the course of the German excavations in the courtyard of the pyramid of Sahurê, remains of a Christian chapel and a large multi-aisled building were found. The chapel had a single aisle and a remarkably strong east wall acting as a support for the apse. Of the large building, only the southwest corner with a door and a base of the southern row of columns have been preserved in situ.

More building remains from the Christian period were discovered in 1978 in the mortuary temple of Hentj-Kazu; they were identified by the excavators as the living quarters of Coptic monks (Verner, 1980, pp. 158-69; 1978, pp. 155-59). These remains all belong to the late seventh or eighth centuries A.D. It has not been ascertained whether the hermits living there were connected with the monastery of DAYR APA JEREMIAH, whose main quarters were situated in the pyramid region of Saqqara.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Borchardt, L. Das Grabdenkmal des Königs Ne-User-Rê, pp. 146f. Leipzig, 1907.
  • Calderini, A. Dizionario dei nomi geografici e topografici dell’Egitto graeco-roman, Vol. 2. Milan, 1988.
  • Timm, S. Das christlich-koptische Ägypten in arabischer Zeit, Vol. 1, pp. 50f. Wiesbaden, 1984.
  • Verner, M. “Excavations at Abusir, Season 1976, Preliminary Report.” Zeitschrift für ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde 105 (1978):155-59; 107 (1980):158-69.

PETER GROSSMANN

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