David Harris

Temple of Hathor, at Serabit el-Khadem. Located at the eastern end of the plateau, this temple began in about the 19th century B.C. in a small cave. Later, two rooms were added, dedicated to the local god, Sopdu (see plan).

For more than half a millennium, the temple grew, with the addition of a great court and a single-file series of spacious chambers. In these chambers, numerous stelae were erected, bearing reliefs and hieroglyphic inscriptions. The inscriptions described in great detail the mining expeditions sent from Egypt by each successive Pharaoh, ending with the expedition of Rameses VI (1151–1143 B.C.). Most of the temple expansion was ordered by Queen Hatshepsut (1473–1458 B.C.) and Pharaoh Thutmose III (1479–1425 B.C.).