Heqaib at Elephantine

Before starting work at Deir el-Ballas this season, I went to Elephantine Island with Dr. Janet Richards of the University of Michigan, who I have worked with for many seasons at Abydos. She was interested in seeing the shrine of Heqaib, who had been a nomarch (a local governor) of the Aswan region, during the late Old Kingdom, and who had famously led several expeditions to Nubia, one which brought back a pygmy as a companion for the young king Pepi II. Heqaib was buried in the cliffs of Qubbet el-Hawa facing Aswan but was deified after his death and a shrine built on the Island of Elephantine for his cult, in which the later nomarchs of Elephantine added their own statues and memorials. Janet Richards had been researching the saint cult phenomenon in ancient Egypt as it also had developed at Abydos in the late Old Kingdom with one of the local rulers there, Idy.

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