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The site of Gebelein, whose Arabic name “two mountains” seems to reflect the ancient Egyptianjnrtj, “two rocks,” was occupied from Prehistory to the Roman Period. Tombs from Naqada I tothe Middle Kingdom have been found in the area. Remains such as papyri discovered in tombs ofthe 4th Dynasty are the most ancient documents of their kind. A settlement developed close to thesacred area of the temple built on top of the southern hill at least from the 2nd Dynasty on. Asidefrom the temple blocks, the remains from there are mainly votive inscriptions offered to the goddessHathor by kings and private individuals from the Middle Kingdom to the Ptolemaic and RomanPeriods. After being a royal estate during the Old Kingdom, Gebelein appears to have become aplace for recruitment of mercenaries, a military post, and, in the Ptolemaic Period, a garrisonsettlement.

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