The Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III, also known as Kom el-Hettân. Built by the main architect Amenhotep, son of Hapu, for Pharaoh Amenhotep III. Built during the 18th Dynasty of the New Kingdom. The mortuary temple is on the Western bank of the Nile river, across from the eastern bank city of Luxor. During its time, the Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III was the largest funerary complex in Thebes that was built.

 Only parts of the mortuary temple’s layout remain, as well as the Colossi of Memnon, which are two large stone statues at the entrance measuring 18 meters (59 feet) high. Because the mortuary temple built relatively close to the river, the annual flooding caused the site to decay at a more rapid rate. New research indicates that a large majority of the destruction on the mortuary temple can be attributed to the effects of an earthquake. Long speculated that the earthquake occurred around 27 BC; however. Investigations into the mortuary temple and surrounding colossi have debunked this time frame and instead have demonstrated it occurred around 1200 BC. Additional earthquakes after the one in 1200 BC have not been ruled out. The Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III Temple Project have helped conserve the site as well as possible.

Excavation history of Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III

Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III

View of the site in 2014

Dr. Hourig Sourouzian was the main excavator in the early 2000s and the site visited by Dr. Zahi Hawass. Although the mortuary temple previously excavated in the late 1900s as well. Laurent Bavay examined the pottery found at the site from the 1999-2002 excavation seasons.

The Hypostyle Hall cleared by Myriam Seco Álvarez. The mortuary temple has undergone several excavations since the early 2000s which have garnered new information including the north wall, undecorated granite pieces, Kushites as bound captives, lists of Nubian towns surrounding the Nile, and red granite colossal statues. Recent geoarchaeological research has shown that the main axis of the temple constructed on a natural, elongated mound that stood well above the floodplain level of the New Kingdom period.

As a result the Temple area at the west end stood high and dry most of the time. It would have been subject to flooding only during very rare high flood events. Another important discovery by the same project, a previously unknown branch of the Nile on the west side of the Nile Valley. It ran approximately south-north with the Colossi of Memnon. Placed on the west bank of the river, giving a dramatic riverside entrance to the Temple complex.

This branch then ran north past the Ramasseum and other mortuary temples before swinging back east to rejoin the main channel of the Nile. This same branch probably used in the various processional ceremonies. Linked the east and west bank temples. Probably also used to deliver building materials, including the Colossal statues, to the site.