• Geography
  • Elephantine Island

  • Elephantine view
    Elephantine Plan
    Location Upper Egypt - immediately north of the first cataract
    Nile island measuring 1.2 km from north to south
    Nome1st nome of Upper Egypt Land of the arch - the 1st Nome of Upper Egypt
    Type of SettlementGarrison town, and Capital of the Nome
    Necropolis The Royal Tombs of Aswan - West bank of Nile
    Local deityThe triad of Khnum - the ram-headed god of the cataracts, Satis and Anuket
    Ancient nameYabu - which also meant elephant
    There are large boulders in the river near the island which resembled bathing elephants, and this has been suggested as a reason for the island's name.
    Historical Development- Elephantine Island is the largest of the Aswan area islands, and is one of the most ancient sites in Egypt, with artifacts dating to the Pre-Dynastic Period.
    - Due to its location at the first Cataract of the Nile, it provided a natural boundary between Egypt and Nubia.
    - The ancient town located in the southern part of the island was a fortress through much of it's history.
    - At one time, there was a bridge from the mainland to the island.
    Monuments
    1. A Nilometer - one of only three on the Nile, which was used to measure the water level of the Nile as late as the 19th century.
    2. The ruins of the temple of Khnum - this structure dates back to the Queen Hatshepsut of the 18th Dynasty
    3. The ruins of a temple of Satis ( Khnum's female counterpart) - also build by Queen Hatshepsut
    4. Shrine to Hekayib from the 6th Dynasty - a local governor who was deified after his death. His cult flourished during the Middle Kingdom, and some fine statues from the shrine are now in the museum.
    5. Mud-brick vaults of the Late Kingdom which housed the bodies of the royal rams.
    6. Ptolemaic Period temple - On the south end of the island there is a small one room temple constructed from materials removed from the Kalabsha temple. Here, there are decorations attributed to the Nubian Pharaoh Arkamani from the 3rd century BC
    The building seems to have been finished by the Romans with reference to Caesar Augustus.