Excavation in Egypt at Tell el-Balamun

The citadel of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty

The south-east side of the citadel foundation looking south-west

The south corner of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty temple enclosure at Balamun is occupied by a the ruins of a massive mud-brick foundation platform covering an area of 54.15 x 61.10 metres. The construction was so closely integrated with that of the enclosure wall that the two structures must have been contemporary.

The interior plan of the building, exhibits two equivalent sets of compartments, arranged on either side of a central passage. This corridor was enclosed between two massive walls, each about 3.25 metres thick, which ran the full length of the structure.

Access to the buThe north-west side of the foundation. Note the concavity of the wall ilding was gained by means of a ramp 63.50 metres long, which approached from the north-east and joined the face of the building 9.70m from the north corner. The ramp had a maximum width of 8.26 metres and consisted of two substantial retaining walls of mud brick with an earth infill.

The whole structure was clearly intended to form the foundation for a lofty building, probably some kind of citadel of the kind also known from the sites of Naukratis, Dafana and Memphis. The disposition of the internal compartments of the platform is almost identical to that seen in the parallel from Naukratis, suggesting that both were constructed at the same period and quite possibly designed by the same architect.

Remains of shattered limestone blocks around the sides of the foundation suggest that the lower parts of the exterior might have been faced with stone, as was the exterior south corner of the temple enclosure wall, inside which the building stood.


Images (from top):

  • The south-east side of the citadel foundation looking south-west
  • The north-west side of the foundation, showing the concave shape of the wall