Hierakonpolis was the capital of predynastic and early dynastic Upper Egypt. Its temple, built as a shrine to local hawk god, Horus, dates to c. 3400 BCE. It was first excavated in 1898. A clay-covered pile of discarded sacred objects, ‘the main deposit’, yielded numerous artefacts including a golden hawk head, ivory and stone carvings and, most importantly, a grindstone palette which tells the story of Namer, now established as the first king of a unified Egypt and 1st Dynasty. Built in several phases and occupying one sixth of the walled town, the early formal temple consisted of an oval courtyard with mud bricks and a compressed mud floor, a sand mound, used for dedications and enclosed by a sandstone revetment. It also had a timber façade. A stone complex was added during the Old Kingdom and it is here the ‘main deposit’ was located.
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