Excavation of Egyptian-Roman settlement and temple at Mut el-Kharab
Mut is the capital of the Dakhleh Oasis since the late Old Kingdom until the present day. The major cult shrine in Dakhleh was the Temple of Seth, an ancient deity who was anathematised in the Nile Valley for the period after 1000 BC. Mut is the largest temple enclosure in the western desert with the longest settlement history, spanning 4 millennia. Little remains of the temple, but archaeological evidence points to a settlement lasting from the Old Kingdom (about 2500 BC) down into the Christian era.
The remains of this site are located on the edge of modern Mut, the present-day capital of Dakhleh, and comprise the largest temple temenos in the Western Desert surrounded by cemeteries of the Late and Roman Periods. The earliest occupation is that of the indigenous Sheikh Muftah Cultural Unit with overlying deposits attesting their interaction with Nile Valley Egyptians who eventually settled at the site in the early Old Kingdom. From the early Middle Kingdom several pillars survive from a shrine dedicated by Mentuhotep II to the obscure god Igai. From the 18th Dynasty onwards a temple dedicated to Seth, Lord of Oasis, occupied the site, and epigraphic material attests activity under Thutmosis III, Horemheb and the Ramesside rulers to Ramesses IX, and then during the Third Intermediate Period, Late Period and Ptolemaic Period. Archaeological material documents activity throughout the Roman and Byzantine Periods into the Mamluk Period. Mut is the longest attested occupied site in the region. Although the temple is poorly preserved, cult activity is well represented by ostraca in abnormal hieratic and demotic; large images of Seth adorned thetemple, inlaid with faience.
The Monash University Ancient Cultures website contains accounts of the excavations.