chapter  5
36 Pages

THE BOUNDARY STELAE AS OFFICIAL AND HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS

The boundary stelae of Akhet-Aten are unique. No other site in the Nile Valley is thus enclosed by tablets cut into the surrounding cliffs, even though the principle of laying out boundary markers was well established. The stelae that mark the borders of Akhet-Aten remain exceptional, then, as much for their antecedents as for the manner in which they were built and what they had to say. In all of the boundary stelae, the lunette is decorated with a scene that shows the royal family adoring the Orb. The inhabitants of Akhet-Aten would have been able to see a number of the sites along the edge of the bay or the cultivation, while stelae at more remote locations would be seen by travellers coming into the district by river or through the desert wadis. The existence and location of the boundary stelae were sought out and damaged by the forces of orthodoxy after Akhenaten's death.