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Karnak: Temple ruins (photo: Frith 1858)

Fig.1: Temple ruins at Karnak (photo: Frith 1858).

Karnak, part of Thebes, contained a vast (1.5 by 0.8 km) complex of temples first built during the 18th Dynasty (1550-1307 BC) when Thebes became the center of administration, then rebuilt over more than 2000 years through the Graeco-Roman era.

This albumin print by Francis Frith gives a striking impression of the near-chaotic intermixture of temple ruins when archaeological work began there in the mid-to-late 19th century. Enormous amounts of looting and removal of monuments without documentation had also occurred in Karnak.

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