Shunet ez-Zebib at Abydos

Shunet ez-Zebib is the modern, Arabic name of a large mudbrick structure built during the reign of Khasekhemwi in the desert of Abydos, to the north of the Early Dynastic royal cemetery of Umm el-Qa’ab. It measures approximately 124 by 56 metres, and its outer walls are estimated to have been 10 to 11 metres high. 
There are traces of buildings inside the structure, possibly two chapels and benches, as well as a lot of jars that were meant to contain beer.

The proximity of this structure to the royal necropolis and the presence of similar but older structures in the vicinity, has lead researchers to interpret this building as a funerary enclosure, linked to the funerary cult of the deceased king.
The structure is also similar to a “fortress” in Nekhen, to the south, also built by Khasekhemwi, as well as the so-called Great Enclosure in Saqqara. As such, this enclosure and its likes, may have been the precursors of Netjerikhet’s funerary complex, that combined the tomb with the funerary enclosure.

Inside Shunet ez-Zebid. Source: Flickr.

© Jacques Kinnaer 1997 - 2017