Karnak logo
Header image

Selected photos of existing state

Image resource: Photograph of Sacred Lake, by UCLA
Image resource: Photograph of Sacred Lake, by UCLA
Image resource: Photograph of Pylon IX, by UCLA


Model renderings: 2
Photographs: 3
Archival images: 0
Videos: 1
Object catalog: 0

View complete archive for this feature…


The rectangular sacred lake is located to the south of the Middle Kingdom court. Many types of buildings were located around the lake, indicating its vast array of functions. The edifice of Taharqo and the "Nilometer" are to the north, while a small chapel of Thoth existed to the west. To the east, priests lived or worked in administrative buildings dated from the 22nd Dynasty into the Ptolemaic Period. To the south, magazines and an aviary have been discovered.

Measurements: The lake measures 128m long and 83m wide.

Phase: Thutmose III

Thutmose III records digging a new sacred lake at the Amun-Ra temple. The lake may have replaced an earlier sacred lake located somewhere in the southern area of the temple. The lake was used during religious festivals for flotillas of sacred barks and for the daily enjoyment of the geese of Amun.

The lake as it is today was further modified by Taharqo, but what these modifications were and how vastly the lake changed remains unknown.

About the reconstruction model of this phase

Image resource: Rendering of Sacred Lake, by UCLA

The shape of the lake is based on the ground plan of the temple by Carlotti (2001: pl. 1). The water on the model was placed at an arbitrary level. A double layer of blue/green color and a slight patterned texture were laid on the surface of the lake to approximate the color and slight movement of water.

Bibliography and Sources Used for Model Construction

Carlotti, Jean-François (2001), L'Akh-menou de Thoutmosis III à Karnak : etude architecturale. Paris: Recherche sur les civilisations.

Lauffray, Jean, Serge Sauneron and Pierre Anus (1969), “Rapport sur les travaux de Karnak.” Kêmi: revue de philologie et d'archéologie égyptiennes et coptes, vol. 19, 111-135.

Lauffray, Jean, Serge Sauneron and Ramadan Sa'ad (1975), “Fouilles à l'est du Lac Sacré.” Karnak, vol. V, 26-30.

Further reading

Goyon, Jean Claude and Claude Traunecker (1982), “la chapelle de thot et d'Amon au sud-ouest du lac sacré.” Cahiers de Karnak, vol. VII, 355-364.