Fayoum Egypt is an Egyptian oasis that combines history, arts, adventure.

25 February 2023

Biahmo | Biahmu open court temple of Amenemhat III in Fayoum

The pedestals of Biahmu

The remains of two large stone pedestals that once supported colossi of Amenemhat III stand just north of the small village of Biahmu, some 7 Kilometers north of Fayoum. The Pedestals Probably Stood about the same height as they do now, about 8 meters, and the colossi according to Petrie reconstruction, probably towered a further 13 meters. Each Colossus and pedestal was surmounted by an enclosure wall of the same solid blocks as the pedestals. 

Biahmu open court temple of Amenemhat III in Fayoum

The purpose of the colossi has not been agreed upon. It is unusual in Egypt to find statuary so completely isolated, so they have been explained as markers of a harbor on the ancient lake Moeris (though no evidence of a harbor has been found) ; as a special monument to the great achievement of Amenemhat III in the province ; or as being somehow related to the main temple of Sobek at Kiman Faris, 7 kilometres away.

 Biahmu Reconstruction


Biahmu Fayoum in Egypt is 7 km north of the capital of the vast Oasis of Fayoum. In fact, Biahmu is the the site for the famous pedestal itself. Indeed it is not near a road today. To get there, you should walk through the thick vegetation. You also should do through shaded areas and span many irrigation ditches. The remains of two large stone pedestals once supported colossi of Amenemhat III. 

Biahmu open court temple of Amenemhat III in Fayoum



They stand just north of the small village of Biahmu. In fact, the two large pedestals are somewhat ruinous, but essentially complete stone. Moreover, they are light yellow in color. They now partly supported by Department of Antiquities bricks. In fact, the walking to al-Sanam village is pleasant.


Amenemhat III colossal statue nose Biyahmu

Amenemhat III colossal statue nose Biyahmu

The fresh, soft and sandy color of the pedestals stand about 100 meters apart. It presents an attractive contrast to the rich green of the fertile surrounding countryside. How Much more striking the scene was thirty-eight centuries ago. In fact, each of the pedestals surmounted by a majestic red quartzite. It seats the colossus of Amenemhat III. The Pedestals maybe stood about the same height as they do now. In fact, it is about 8 meters and the colossi towered a further 13 meters. Each Colossus and pedestal surmounted by an enclosure wall. The wall is of the same solid blocks as the pedestals.

Biahmo | Biahmu open court temple of Amenemhat III in Fayoum


Further details about Biahmu Fayoum:

In the thirteenth century AC, Nabulsi saw the two colossi almost intact. One faced West and the other faced the East. In fact, the persistent rumors of hidden treasure led to the removal of their tops. The colossi however, solid and yielded nothing but their dignity. In 1888, Professor Petrie removed many fragments. He passed them on to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford which now holds forty-seven pieces. The best preserved is the nose of one colossus. It is on display in the museum’s Egyptian Sculpture Gallery. Other fragments apparently left in site by Petrie.

Petrie Further details about Biahmu Fayoum


Petrie Further details about Biahmu Fayoum

Petrie Further details about Biahmu Fayoum


In fact, these disappeared, and now no trace of the colossi remains at al Sanam. The purpose of the colossi not agreed upon. It is unusual in Egypt to find statuary so completely isolated. That is why they explained as markers of a harbor on the ancient lake Moeris. They marked as a special monument to the great achievement of Amenemhat III in the province. Moreover, they somehow related to the main temple of Sobek at Kiman Faris, 6 kilometers away. Christopher Kirby carried out new studies on the site in the 1990. He believes that the enclosure walls represent open-court and solar temple. In fact, the polished quartzite statue of the pharaoh would shine brilliantly in the sun 


Biahmo is an archaeological site located in the Fayoum region of Egypt. It is believed to have been an important center during the Middle Kingdom period (c. 2055 - 1650 BCE) and contains the remains of a large temple complex dedicated to the god Sobek, as well as several smaller temples, tombs, and other structures. The site was excavated by a team of archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania in the 1920s and 1930s, and their findings provided important insights into the religious practices and social structures of ancient Egypt during this period.

Amenemhat III was a pharaoh of the 12th Dynasty of Egypt, who ruled from approximately 1860 to 1814 BCE. He is known for his extensive building projects, including the construction of several pyramids and temples throughout Egypt, as well as his military campaigns to secure the country's borders. Amenemhat III is also known for his efforts to promote economic prosperity and stability within Egypt, including the development of irrigation systems and agricultural reforms.

 

 The relationship between Biahmo and Amenemhat III is not entirely clear, as the temple complex at Biahmo appears to have been constructed during the reign of his predecessor, Amenemhat II. However, it is possible that Amenemhat III continued to support and expand the temple complex during his own reign. The site remains an important source of information for scholars studying the history and culture of ancient Egypt.

Book your Tour to Biahmu Temple  with Karen Tours

Biahmo | Biahmu open court temple of Amenemhat III in Fayoum


Amenemhat III

Amenemhat III (Ancient Egyptian: Ỉmn-m-hꜣt meaning 'Amun is at the forefront'), also known as Amenemhet III, was a pharaoh of ancient Egypt and the sixth king of the Twelfth Dynasty of the Middle Kingdom. He was elevated to throne as co-regent by his father Senusret III, with whom he shared the throne as the active king for twenty years. During his reign, Egypt attained its cultural and economic zenith of the Middle Kingdom.

The aggressive military and domestic policies of Senusret III, which re-subjugated Nubia and wrested power from the nomarchs, allowed Amenemhat III to inherit a stable and peaceful Egypt. He directed his efforts towards an extensive building program with particular focus on Faiyum. Here he dedicated a temple to Sobek, a chapel to Renenutet, erected two colossal statues of himself in Biahmu, and contributed to excavation of Lake Moeris. He built for himself two pyramids at Dahshur and Hawara, becoming the first pharaoh since Sneferu in the Fourth Dynasty to build more than one. Near to his Hawara pyramid is a pyramid for his daughter Neferuptah. To acquire resources for the building program, Amenemhat III exploited the quarries of Egypt and the Sinai for turquoise and copper. Other exploited sites includes the schist quarries at Wadi Hammamat, amethyst from Wadi el-Hudi, fine limestone from Tura, alabaster from Hatnub, red granite from Aswan, and diorite from Nubia. A large corpus of inscriptions attest to the activities at these sites, particularly at Serabit el-Khadim. There is scant evidence of military expeditions during his reign, though a small one is attested at Kumma in his ninth regnal year. He also sent a handful of expeditions to Punt.

In total, Amenemhat III reigned for at least 45 years, though a papyrus mentioning a 46th year likely belongs to his reign as well. Toward the end of his reign he instituted a co-regency with Amenemhat IV, as recorded in a rock inscription from Semna in Nubia, which equates regnal year 1 of Amenemhat IV to regnal year 44 or 46–48 of Amenemhat III. Sobekneferu later succeeded Amenemhat IV as the last ruler of the Twelfth Dynasty.

Book your Tour to Biahmu Temple  with Karen Tours

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