A town on the east bank of the Nile, about 5 miles (8 km) northeast of Luxor, and from the pharaonic down to the Roman period an important cultic center of the Theban district-god Month, which still emerges from the place-name today. The temple of Month and of the bull Buchis sacred to him derives essentially from the Ptolemaic period, with some extensions from Roman times. As at many pharaonic sites, after its profanation it was taken over by the neighboring settlement, where the inhabitants at the same time used it as a quarry. Excavations by the French mission were carried only so far as to allow clarification of the layout of the temple.
The remains of the late antique settlement brought to light in the process, therefore, comprise only a small section, which is not enough to afford any idea of its entire arrangement. However, two early Christian churches were discovered. The older is in the area of the temple itself, in the so-called south court, which was provided along its outer wall with a portico supported by columns. By the addition of a second row of columns, this court was converted into a three-aisled basilican chamber.
In addition, various partition walls have survived, and in the east, the remains of an apse including a northern side room. The structures as a whole were carried out in mud brick. In the reconstruction of the full rounding of the apse, the fact had to be considered that the Ptolemaic portico column at the right front corner still stood upright. That made the strength of the walls greater, and there was no need for the recesses assumed by the excavators at the entrance to the apse (Vincent, 1928, p. 156). In front of the apse, there was a bema, raised one step, with the remains of a screen wall. Further, a part of the neighboring room adjoining to the north seems also to have been incorporated into the spatial plan of the church. The walled-up front area of the former south court took on the function of an atrium.
Whether the structures at the west wall with a well and various troughs are to be regarded as a baptistery seems doubtful. Other churches also (as several churches in Old Cairo) are provided with wells or cisterns of a similar kind. Chronologically, the erection of this church in the temple may have taken place at the earliest in the course of the sixth century.
The second, somewhat later church lies in the middle of the remains of numerous late antique houses on the south side of the former processional way leading to the temple, a few paces away from the Ptolemaic gate of the temple circuit wall. Of this in particular several bases of columns have survived in situ, but the sanctuary has been razed, apart from the foundation of the outer, northeast corner. The church had a narthex and on the south side a baptistery with a circular pool. It is no longer possible to determine where the entrance to the church lay. The building is dated by the excavators to the seventh century.
The remains of houses in the neighborhood of the church are too incomplete to convey any idea of their significance. The only one worth mentioning is a small house on the south side of the front temple tribune, which contains an oil press. North of the tribune numerous decorative pieces from late antiquity were found, wrought from limestone blocks from the Eighteenth Dynasty.
- Bisson de la Roque, F. Rapport sur les fouilles de Médamoud (1925). Fouilles de l’Institut français d’Archéologie orientale 3, 1, pp. 17-20, pl. 3. Cairo, 1926.
- . Rapport sur les fouilles de Médamoud (1927). Fouilles de l’Institut français d’Archéologie orientale 5, 1. Cairo, 1928.