Archaeology of Serabit el-Khadim
The presence of Middle Kingdom expeditions in Serabit el-Khadim is commemorated by numerous rock inscriptions at the mines and by the monuments dedicated to the goddess Hathor in the temple.
Although the name of Amenemhat I, the first Pharaoh of the Twelfth Dynasty, is the earliest found in Serabit el-Khadim, it seems that activities at Serabit el-Khadim, both the extraction of minerals and the building of the temple, started with his son Senusert I (1981–1875 B.C.). His name is recorded on two stelae outside the temple, attesting the work of two mining expeditions during his reign. About eight Middle Kingdom inscriptions at the mines give the dates of expeditions during the reigns of Amenemhat II and Amenemhat III. Mining activity during the New Kingdom is also well attested at many other sites in South Sinai, including Bir Nasb and Wadi Abu Gada. In Serabit el-Khadim, around 150 inscriptions confirm the activity of numerous New Kingdom expeditions between the reigns of the Pharaohs Amenhotep I and Ramesses VI in the mining sectors of Serabit el-Khadim, not only traces of the exploitation of turquoise can be found, but also settlements, either near the mines or a bit further afield, in addition to areas of mineral processing and minor cult zones.
|Rock Inscription from the Mines area|