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Sed Festivals in Malkata

Malkata Palace City - Thebes - The Places

Pharaoh Amenhotep III like many of his predecessors and successors would have looked to celebrate his Heb Sed Festival to rejuvenate his reign and celebrate the Pharaoh’s revitalisation as a living deity. To understand the complexities involved in the celebration of Pharaoh’s Heb Sed Festival, click here.

Egyptologists believe that Malkata Palace City Complex held all 3 of Pharaoh Amenhotep III’s Heb Sed Festivals. The First being held in the Palace itself during which the divine Statues of the Deities were carried on barques that were rowed through the Harbour of Birket Habu and carried to the Palace. To learn more about the Harbour at Malkata, click here. 

Logically, it seems that Pharaoh had the Temple of Amun at Malkata built, at least partially, to accommodate his future Heb Sed Festivals.

Pharaoh Amenhotep III celebrated his Heb Sed Festivals in Regnal Years 30, 34 and 37

Therefore, the Second Heb Sed Festival was moved from the Palace to be held in the Temple of Amun within Malkata. The Officials who were involved with Pharaoh in executing the construction of the Temple consulted texts to ensure that the planning was in line with older Heb Sed Festival Court layouts. Heb Sed Festival locations needed:

  • Magazines north and south of inner courtyard
  • Front court
  • East entrance to inner sanctum of temple
  • Central sanctuary
  • Magazines to north and south of the Central sanctuary


They would have incorporated the 3-dimensional Sky Map, which would allow Pharaoh to make his offerings to all 24 Gods and Goddesses, one for each hour of the day and night who would have been secluded in their own sanctuary space. Before Pharaoh would go on to visit Sun God Amun Re for his Reunification Ceremony.

The Steward for Great Royal Wife, Queen Tiye was called Kheruef. He was interred in a Tomb in Thebes in which he recorded the order of Pharaoh’s Heb Sed Festival, it can be thought of like a running order in a play:

  1. The Festival begins at the Jubilee Palace with a distribution of gifts to Palace Officials
  2. Progressing to the Evening Barque which towed the Royals around the Harbour and back to the same place. This represented a revolution of the Sun
  3. After their return, perhaps to change their clothes, the Pharaoh and his Great Royal Wife would then emerge from the Jubilee Palace proceeded by their standard bearers
  4. They would then get into Sun Barque which moved at the High Nile


Regrettably this appears to be all that can be read from his Tomb, so we have to assume that this eventually led to the Temple of Amun.


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