Temple Cleared of Vegetation, Shows Signs of
View of Sheshonq temple from west showing
When the U.C. Berkeley
team arrived at El Hibeh, it had been nearly 20 years since an
archaeological expedition had documented the condition of the site's
religious complex. During those two decades the vegetation
surrounding the tell found fertile ground in the meters of Nile
sediment and now almost completely claimed the temple. Grass
covered the entire surface within the temple and a palm tree had even
taken root in the southeastern corner of the structure. The team
quickly determined that before any survey of the temple could
commence, the vegetation had to be cleared.
Workmen clearing temple of undergrowth.
The dense coverage of sharp halfa grass made clearing
the temple an especially unwelcome and laborious task, but as the
workmen made their way into the temple's interior, signs of the
buildings rapid decay quickly became evident. Relief blocks
recorded and photographed in fair condition by previous archaeological
teams everywhere appeared broken and crumbling. Judging from the
destruction caused by the growth of the palm tree, it was clear that
the simple presence of the vegetation itself was partly to blame.
(left) Temple Relief block showing
grass growth in the temple.
(right) View of damage caused by palm tree in
eastern half of temple.