The Development of Royal Funerary Cult at Abydos
Two Funerary Enclosures from the Reign of Aha
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Two of the most characteristic aspects of ancient Egyptian culture – kingship and a great attention to death – were present from a very early age. The first kings to rule all of Egypt came to power in approximately 3000 B.C., and the same kings were the first to have monumental tombs and funerary temples built. These early royal mortuary temples in particular are quite enigmatic, but the recent discovery of two previously unknown monuments at the site of Abydos is shedding new light on their development and use. Most surprisingly these temples are from the same reign, suggesting that members of the royal family in addition to the king might have received funerary cult in the early First Dynasty. This study documents the excavation of these two temples, their provision for the dedication of offerings, and the sacrificial burials that surrounded them. It sets these monuments within the framework of the rise of Egyptian kingship and cult, examining both continuities and innovations in royal mortuary practice during this formative period of Egyptian civilization.