Behind the scenes
The Edfu project's goal is to provide a reliable translation of all temple inscriptions. The basis for this task are the transcriptions of Maxence de Rochemonteix and Émile Chassinat. The following hieroglyphic text can be found in volume VII on page 321:
The translation of this text is published in ‚Inschriften des Tempels von Edfu I/2' on page 612. It is a ritual scene, where the king offers the god a lotus blossom:
Elsewhere the temple is described in all it's details and dimensions. The ancient authors went from the inside out through the temple and described the individual building components, together with their names and use. In many cases they even gave reasons for the specific data. We owe our knowledge about the temple's rooms these texts. The following example can be found in ‚Inschriften des Tempels von Edfu I/2' on page 24:
A couple of additional tasks help to optimize the translation process.
One of them is the collation of the texts published by de Rochemonteix and Chassinat. Therefore the members of the Edfu-Project visit the temple in irregular intervals and compare the copies with the original texts on the walls. Even though the actual working conditions are better than in de Rochemonteix' and Chassinat's times, many problems still impede the working process.
Dirt from bat excrements and wasps’ nests, bad accomodation and the lack of technical equipment and interior lighting often turn hieroglyphs unreadable, while modern restaurations sometimes even destroy the signs. Therefore the Edfu-Project created a photographic archive of the temple to support the translation process and to document the temple's rapidly changing condition during the years.
Meanwhile this archive consists of more than 22.000 images and 15 hours of video scenes.
Additionally the project's databases are elemental tools for the translation process. Because of the numerous destructions and problematic content of the texts, internal parallels often help to close the gaps of the translation.
The so-called Edfu-Explorer (is not available anymore, see online version) is capable not only to show the relevant records (transliteration and translation) of a given search inquiry but also photographic material, the Chassinat version, internal collations and secondary literature.
During the last years a lot of people - deeply impressed by the temple - wanted to contribute to the project and it's goals. This was the case when Dr. Uwe Bartels began in 2003 to copy the scenes of the pylon (Edfou VIII) and the outer side of the girdle wall (Edfou VII). Both volumes were finally released in 2009.