Tuna al-Gebel: Millions of Ibises and Other Animals

Dieter Kessler and Abd el Halim Nur el-Din

in Divine Creatures

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print April 2005 | ISBN: 9789774248580
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781936190010 | DOI:
Tuna al-Gebel: Millions of Ibises and Other Animals

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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

Chapter.  13982 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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