Granite obelisk of Hatshepsut

From Qasr Ibrim, Nubia
18th Dynasty, around 1450 BC

A solar symbol

Qasr Ibrim, between the First and Second cataracts in Nubia, is a site with a long history. Many shrines were constructed there in the New Kingdom (1550-1070 BC), probably for important officials of the fortress at Aniba on the opposite bank of the Nile, the residence of many of the viceroys of Nubia. Taharqa, the Twenty-fifth Dynasty king, may have built a temple on the site, but the earliest fortifications probably date to the Meroitic period (about 300 BC-AD 350). The site was then occupied by the Romans, and in medieval times became the centre of an important Christian bishopric; one of the bishops was found buried in the cathedral. In the 1960s Lake Nasser was created to provide water for the Aswan High Dam. Many important Nubian monuments were excavated in advance of the flooding and Qasr Ibrim is the only site on its original site still above the waters of the lake.

This granite obelisk had been reused as building material and was found in three pieces. There is no clear evidence of building at Qasr Ibrim during the New Kingdom, so it could have been brought in from elsewhere. Only one side of the obelisk was inscribed, and the names of Hatshepsut have been erased, as happened to many of her monuments. Obelisks are solar symbols and sacred to gods associated with the sun (for example, Re). Most were erected at or near the entrance to a temple.

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More information


E. Iversen, Obelisks in exile, (2 vols). (Copenhagen, G.E.C. Gad, 1968-1972)

S. Quirke and A.J. Spencer, The British Museum book of anc (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)


Height: 165.000 cm

Museum number

EA 1834


Gift of the Egypt Exploration Society


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