Hawara (meris of Herakleides)


For Ptolemaic Hawara the main source are the Demotic and Greek papyri of the Hawara Undertakers Archives and the archaeological material supplying complementary information. A small number of funerary inscriptions on offering tables and tombstones also add to our picture of the necropolis.
For the Roman period indications from the papyri and inscriptions are rare and archaeological data prevail.

The village Hw.t-wr.t/Αὑῆρις is attested 119 times in 62 documents between 292 BC (P.Hawara Chic. 4) and 141 AD (BGU VII 1573). The concentration of documents in the 1st century BC is due to the Hawara undertakers archives.
The Egyptian Labyrinth (Λαβύρινθος) appears 18 times in 16 papyri between 258 BC (P.L.Bat. XX, Suppl. A) and the reign of Hadrian (117-138 AD). All texts but one (SB VIII 9642.4) are Ptolemaic.
Though the names Hw.t-wr.t/Αὑῆρις and Λαβύρινθος disappear early from our records, archaeological finds show that the site was continuously occupied up to the 7th century AD.

The excavations
The French expedition (1799-1800; photo) described the Hawara pyramid, and the pharaonic temple south of it. The remains in the north and the west were wrongly identified as the Labyrinth (Jomard-Caristie 1822).
In 1843 K. Lepsius excavated in the cemetery to the north and on the northern and south-eastern sides of the pyramid and in the area of the Labyrinth (Lepsius 1843, pp.11-30) (photo). Both he and L. Vassali (1862) searched in vain for the pyramid's entrance. Vassali also excavated across the Bahr Wahbi, in the village east and south of the Labyrinth and in the necropolis to the north of the pyramid (Vassalli 1867, pp.62-65; Vassali 1885).
W.M.F. Petrie undertook the first large-scale systematic excavations in 1888-1889 and 1910-1911 (photo). In 1888 he first focused on the pyramid and the Labyrinth. He divided the necropolis north of the pyramid in chronological zones ranging from the Middle Kingdom to Byzantine times. Here he found the first Roman mummy portraits and masks (see the homepage of the Petrie Museum London). In 1889 he identified the pyramid as that of the 12th dynasty pharaoh Amenemhat III and his daughter Neferuptah. He continued working in the burial area in the northern part of the site and cleared a Byzantine basilica north-west of the pyramid.
His successful campaigns attracted other excavators, in search of papyri and mummy portraits. During Petrie's absence in 1888 and 1889 a local dealer discovered four or five portraits and an unknown number of gilded masks (cf. Drower 1985, p.143). In March 1892 H. Brugsch brought several new mummy portraits to light in the Roman cemetery north of the pyramid (Brugsch-Virchow-von Kaufmann 1892, p.416-418 ; Brugsch 1892, pp.25-27) In the same year R. von Kaufmann discovered the intact Roman mudbrick chamber of 'Aline' (see now Germer, Kischkewitz and Lüning 1993).
In 1910 G. Lefèbvre excavated on the site (cf. Parlasca 1966, p.34; Grimm 1974, p.35) and Petrie resumed his work in the Labyrinth and in the Roman cemetery, again finding lots of mummy portraits.
In the later 20th century the Inspectorate of Fayum Antiquities worked in the necropolis north and east of the pyramid (see the reports in Leclant 1973, p.404; Leclant 1975, p.208-209, and Leclant 1984, p.370). The entrance to the pyramid was cleared by A. Al-Bazidy in 1995.
From 5 to 23 March 2000 an archaeological survey of the K.U.Leuven mapped the architectural remains visible on the surface (see Hawara 2000 website and map). The complementary study of the surface pottery resulted in a chronological framework of the different areas of the site and in a representative catalogue of the Hawara ceramics covering the period between the Middle Kingdom (ca. 2000 BC) and the 10th century AD.

Greek and Latin authors
Herodotos II.148 (ca. 430 BC) describes the Labyrinth as a grand monument for the twelve kings (Dodecarchs), surpassing even the pyramids.
According to Manetho's Aegyptiaca, preserved in an epitome of the early 3rd century AD (2, frag. 34) the Labyrinth was the tomb of king Lachares.
For Diodorus Siculus I 61.1-2 and 66.3-6 (1st century BC) the enormous collective tomb of the twelve kings was built by Mendes, alias Marros. Following a different tradition he reports in I 89.3 that king Menas built a square pyramid and the Labyrinth.
Strabo (XVII 1, 37), who visited Egypt in 25-24 BC, gives an accurate topographical description, locating the Labyrinth and the pyramid in a trapezium-shaped area. He also mentions a near-by village. In Strabo’s view the Labyrinth was a palace, a place for assembling, speaking justice and bringing offerings for the nomes of Egypt.
Pliny's Nat. Hist. 36, 84-89 (ca. AD 70) ascribes the great Labyrinth to king Petesouchos or Tithoes. His contemporary Pomponius Mela (I 9, 56) attributes it to Psammetichus.
In Aelius Aristides (Aigyptios 48, 1; ca AD 150) the Labyrinth is a mere rhetorical topic illustrating the greatness of Egypt.
According to the Historia Augusta, Septimius Severus 17, 4 (early 4th century AD) Septimius Severus visited the Labyrinth site during his journey in Egypt in 199-200 AD. The state of preservation of the building at that time is not clear, but its symbolic meaning and fame have remained.

The 89 inscriptions range from the 3rd century BC (I.Fayum I 37) to the 7th-8th century AD (SB XVIII 13651).
Three Greek inscriptions are dedicated to the deified Amenemhat III and one mentions a queen Kleopatra (I.Fayum I 33). Most others are funerary. Alongside 45 funerary stelae, mostly Greek, there are texts on mummy wrappings, mummy masks and portraits, mummy cartonnage, coffins and 6 mummy labels. One ‘intrusive’ inscription was buried near or in a tomb for magic purposes (SB IV 7452).

Several Roman ostraca inscribed with personal names and figures were found during Petrie's campaign of 1910/1911 (SB XVIII 13646-13652). The Leuven survey in March 2000 revealed 9 nearly illegible ostraca, all inscribed after firing, and a single amphora stamp with the name Sokrates.

Papyri found at Hawara
At Hawara literary and documentary papyri in Hieratic, Demotic, Greek, Latin and Coptic have been discovered. For three groups of texts, the Hawara undertakers archive I and II and the archive of the Melitian monks, the archival context can be reconstructed. Among the numerous isolated texts only few actually refer to the village.

'Isolated' Texts
Out of the 516 known texts found at Hawara 507 are written in Greek (98,3 %). Two Latin literary texts (LDAB 4141; LDAB 4473 – 1st-2nd century AD), one bilingual Greek-Latin papyrus (3rd-4th century AD) and seven Coptic papyri (5th-7th century AD) were found on the site. Hieratic and demotic fragments are very rare (P.Hawara (1) 1-13 p.36 descr.).
The papyri Petrie recovered during his campaigns of 1888 and 1889 are commonly known as 'P.Hawara'. Forty of the 153 Hawara texts are dated. Most other texts have been dated approximately by W. Clarysse on the basis of the handwriting. The following graph shows the distribution of the texts by century against the distribution of the papyri for the entire Fayum.

The Hawara papyri range between the 1st century BC and the 3rd century AD, with a great majority in the 1st and the 2nd centuries AD. Later texts are rare.
The Hawara texts form a heterogeneous group. Though they were certainly discovered on the site, as is also clear from the handwritten notes accompanying the papyri in University College London, only few of them have to do with the dead, e.g. SB XVIII 13244, a list of deceased inhabitants of Tebtynis, and P.Hawara 237 ined., a list of funerary offerings, e.g. wine, bread, meat, milk, oil and garlands. Although some papyri were buried with the deceased, others, especially notarial and private doucments, may have been left by family members visiting the cemetery. Texts may have also been found in rubbish heaps in between the tombs and/or houses. As a result, except for the literary papyri, which show the social status of the deceased, e.g. the magnificent Hawara Homer (LDAB 1695, photo), these texts hardly add to the history of the village and the cemetery.

The Egyptian name Hw.t-wr.t corresponds to Greek Αὑῆρις in several bilingual documents, e.g. P.Hawara Lüdd. III (233 BC), P.Ashm. I 14 and 15 (72/71 BC) and P.Ashm. I 16 (69/68 BC). The aspiration at the beginning of the word shows in the phi in ῾Αγουήρεως τῆς ῾Ηρακ[λείδου μερίδος] (where ῾Αγουήρεως stands for Αὑῆρις) in SB XIV 11303. Greek ἁ for Egyptian hw.t is found in other toponyms as well (Clarysse-Quaegebeur 1982, p.78).
The Egyptian toponym Hw.t-wr.t, "great temple", refers to the Labyrinth, the funerary temple of Amenemhat south of the Hawara pyramid. This is supported by the correspondence of the Demotic toponym with Λαβύρινθος in the Greek dockets of some Demotic documents (P.Hawara Chic. 7; 245 BC; P.Hawara Lüdd. 2; 235 BC). The name of the temple apparently developed into a village name.
The ancient Demotic and Greek names live on in the Arabic toponym Hawara. The present name Hawara el-Maqta ('Hawara (of) the quarry (litt. 'place where something is cut') reflects the use of the Labyrinth as a stone quarry.
The homonymous village in the Herakleopolite nome may perhaps be identified with Hawara Adlan along the Bahr Yussuf, 9 km west of Hawara el-Maqta. This toponym probably also refers to the ancient Labyrinth (cf. Falivene 1998, p.56).

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The archaeological site of Hawara, on the border area between the cultivated land and the desert, is located 2 km north of modern Hawara el-Maqta, some 12 km south-east of the governate capital Medinet el-Fayum. The Bahr Yussuf, passing in the south, connected the site with the near-by metropolis Krokodilopolis-Arsinoe.
The fullest topographical description in the Graeco-Roman period is found in P.Hawara Lüdd. XIX (85 BC): "the necropolis, which is in the Souchos village Hawara in the exo topoi in the area on the north side of the Moeris canal in the meris of Herakleides in the Arsinoite nome".
Both Demotic and Greek papyri indicate that Hawara belonged to the "outer places" (exo topoi, n3 ª.wy.w bnr) of the meris of Herakleides in the 1st century BC. This administrative unit enclosed the so-called Illahun/Hawara gap and the area along the eastern edge of the oasis; several other villages occurring in the Undertakers Archives were also part of it, e.g. P3-sh-Hr-i.ir-di-s, Ptolemais Hormou, Syron Kome, Kerkesoucha Orous, Psinharyo, Seila/ Fag el-Gamus and Alabanthis. Besides, Hawara had a particularly close relationship with Nabla/Labla.
Although the extent of ancient Hawara remains problematic, (part of) the centre can be located on the archaeological site. Chronologically homogeneous pottery concentrations in various spots indicate that the village center changed places during its long occupation history. It did, however, keep its regular lay-out, with buildings orientated SW-NE.
In the Ptolemaic period living areas were located north-west (Areas IV and V) and south of the pyramid (Areas X, XI and XII). In the latter area part of the houses were built on top of the destroyed western aisle of the Labyrinth (photo), which was much reduced by then, others in the area south and south-east of the Middle Kingdom temple, which bordered the "temple area of Souchos" mentioned in the Demotic texts.
The same areas were occupied during the early Roman period as shown by the surface ceramics. Strabo mentions a Roman village on the trapezium-shaped platform, on which also the reduced Labyrinth was located, i.e. in the area south-west of the pyramid (Area XII). But now houses were also constructed north-west of the pyramid in Areas I and II. In the 5th century AD the village was centered around a small church in area I. The mud brick buildings in Areas (V,) VI and VII (Petrie's "Roman cemetery"), may have lost their funerary function in the Byzantine period (or even earlier) and have become a living area.
During the Ptolemaic period three or four clearly defined burial areas were in use, though Ptolemaic tombs also spread to other places on the site.
1. In a first vast Ptolemaic cemetery to the north-east of the pyramid in Area VIII, Petrie discovered crocodiles (Petrie 1891, p.18) and 'pit tombs with box coffins'.
2. Besides, some of the mummies with gilt-faced masks, which Petrie excavated in the newly created cemetery on top of the 12th Dynasty tombs at the north-eastern edge of the site (Area IX) (ca. 75-30 BC).
3. Ptolemaic masks of the same period may have been worn by (some of) the gilt-faced mask mummies, which Petrie found at the south-east corner of the pyramid (Area X) (Petrie 1889, p.17).
4. In the Greek period mummies were probably also buried in mud brick chambers with a regular plan as known from the papyri south-west of the pyramid in Area XI (and possibly also XII). These areas yielded Ptolemaic surface ceramics during the K.U.Leuven survey (Area XI: 3rd and 2nd centuries BC; Area XII: 4th-3rd centuries BC).
Besides, pharaonic tombs were re-used in the Greek period, in particular the shaft tombs cut in the rock north-west and west of the pyramid. Possibly some of the Ptolemaic gilt-faced masks of early 'Type 2' were buried in shallow pits at the northern end of the mud brick area where the 'Roman cemetery' would develop some decades later (Petrie 1889, p.8) (Area VII or V).
In the Roman period the entire area north and north-west of the pyramid was in use, enclosing areas VI and VII, which were completely excavated by Petrie and his successors. All tombs in this extended necropolis have the usual SW-NE lay-out (photo). Area IX in the north-west probably stayed in use for late gilt-faced mask mummies datable between ca. 30 BC and 50 AD and the gilded mask mummies of the early imperial period. Similar gilt-faced mask mummies were found in the Labyrinth area (Area X), south-east of the pyramid, where in an earlier phase crocodiles had been buried (Petrie 1889, pp.6 and 17).
According to Petrie the most recent burials were in the northern part of the area of his 'Tomb chambers'. Since it is not clear how far north Petrie's excavation reached, this may be either the northern part of Area VII or Area V. North-east of the pyramid Petrie discovered late burials with Coptic embroideries (Area VII) (Petrie 1889, p.8). The surface pottery in the rest of Area VII attests human occupation during the 6th-8th centuries AD, though it is unclear whether the activities here and in Area VI were at this time still (exclusively) funerary.

The living
For the entire Graeco-Roman period only a limited number of Hawara inhabitants is attested. All 363 villagers known by name lived in the Ptolemaic period. With the exception of Zoilos, neighbour of the house of Pempsais, they are all Egyptians. This is due to the fact that our main papyrological source, the Hawara undertakers archives, belongs to native families of necropolis and temple personnel. Four families of undertakers can be followed from 365/354 to 30 BC. Graeco-Roman double names are restricted to the family of Leon alias Sesophnois. Other inhabitants of Hawara appear only sporadically, e.g. as notaries (but did these really live in the village?) and witnesses.
Perhaps our view of the population is less distorted than the above suggests. Because of its location near the pyramid, the Labyrinth and the famous cemetery Hawara may have become primarily a village of undertakers and priests. Perhaps it resembled Soknopaiou Nesos, with its predominantly priestly population and Demotic documentation.

The dead
Most of the thousands of people that were buried at Hawara during the Graeco-Roman period remain anonymous. For the entire Graeco-Roman period 184 persons buried near Amenemhat's pyramid, are known by name (104 Ptolemaic, 62 Roman, 1 Byzantine, 17 undated). In the Ptolemaic period a few papyri in the undertakers archives contain names of tomb-owners with neighbours. For a tiny group of mummies sex, name, age, occupation and/or provenance are known, thanks to tomb stones, offering tables, linen shrouds, portraits or masks with a short text, etc. These data can only rarely be linked with the mummies themselves, since inscribed portraits, linen and labels were usually separated from the bodies by the finders. For the plain mummies hardly any information is given.
The well-known mummy portraits offer a glimpse of how some of the persons may have looked like or wanted to be represented during their lives. X-ray scanning and computerized axial tomography (C.A.T. scanning) of some Hawara mummies has yielded complementary data concerning for instance the age at death of the deceased, the cause of their death and their social status (e.g. the well-known Artemidoros and the woman teacher Hermione (photo)).
In the Ptolemaic period Egyptians form the largest group of persons buried at Hawara. Greeks represent only about 12% of the deceased known by name (22 persons). In the Roman period the percentage of Greek names increases to 56.5% (35 of the 62 names). Latin names are rare (9 names – 14.7%, e.g. Tiberius Iulius Asklepiades, Tiberius Claudius Cylindrus and Valeria Politta). A wooden cross for a certain Petrus (Lefebvre 1907 no.775) is the only Byzantine burial with a name.
No less than twenty of the known Ptolemaic Hawara dead performed religious or funerary functions during their lives. In the Roman period priests can sometimes be recognised by their mummy portraits or masks, e.g. Petrie's 'golden girl' with the typical Isis dress and Isis lock and his 'Sarapis priest' with his diadem with a seven pointed star (cf. Parlasca 1966, pp.85-90; Borg 1998, pp.69-71).
Others were members of the administration, e.g. an anonymous Ptolemaic topogrammateus in P.Ashm. I 9 (100-90 BC), the nomographos Souchas and even two gymnasiarchs Tiberius Iulius Asklepiades and Dios.
Soldiers or officers of the Roman army can be recognised by their white chiton with a blue, beige, violet or red mantle (sagum) draped over the left shoulder or attached with a fibula on the right shoulder and by the sword belt (sagum) decorated with golden bullae (cf. Speidel 1999, p.87).
But also middle and lower class people were buried at Hawara, such as the horse trader Heliodoros, the wool merchant Apollinarios, the tailor Diogenes, the fruit carrier […]-ls, the gardener Ptolemaios (101 or 98 BC) and an anonymous herdsman (P.Ashm.D. 26 unpublished – 30 BC). Some occupations may have been linked to the local funerary business, e.g. the gilder (χρυσωτής) Mysthas with his gilt-faced mask (Grimm 1974, p.21) the painter (ζωγράφος) Sabinus; or Apollonios, a seller of myrrh and perfumes (μιρτοπώλης = μυροπώλης).
The ages of the dead, known from inscriptions and from X-ray scanning and computerized axial tomography (C.A.T. scanning) are in accordance with the high mortality rates of Antiquity, when life expectancy at birth for men was only 25 years and even lower for women (cf. Bagnall-Frier 1994, pp.84-90). In agreement with this are the numerous young persons among the Hawara portrait mummies and the children in dead lists and on tomb stones.
Because the excavators kept only the most richly decorated mummies, information on the dead is largely limited to the elite. Mummification may have been common, but portraits or a gilded mask were only available for the upper and (middle) classes. Portrait mummies represent a mere 1 to 2 % of the deceased. Most of the thousands of 'plain' mummies of people belonging to the lower and middle classes have been thrown away without further study. The 'Greek' elite of the Arsinoite nome was not restricted to the privileged group of the '6475' of the Arsinoites, but consisted also of Romans, other well-to-do Greeks and Hellenised Egyptians.
Some of those buried at Hawara were of course local villagers; thus Premionis, his wife(?) Arsinoe, and their two sons 3jpj and Pjltw, are said to be 'from Hawara'. Undertakers and priests of Hawara were also buried locally. However, the cemetery is far too large for one small village. Excavations near Medinet el-Fayum only revealed poor burials dating to the 5th-6th century AD (Schweinfurth 1887). Nearby Hawara, ideally located at the desert edge and easily accessible from the metropolis by the Bahr Yussuf, was a logical choice as necropolis for the nome capital. For some it was a privilege to be buried in the sacred area near the tomb and temple of the deified Amenemhat. Thus an anonymous metropolite, who lived at Tebtynis, explicitly mentioned in his last will that he wanted to be buried 'near the Labyrinth' (SB VIII 9642 l.4; 117-138 AD). At least part of the Hellenized elite buried at Hawara must have lived in the metropolis, e.g. the gymnasiarchs Tiberius Iulius Asklepiades and Dios and their wives. The specification ᾿Αρσινοείτης added to the occupation of the wool merchant Apollinarios (SB I 3965/III 7084; 2nd century AD) and the mention of the agora; τῶν ἱματοπωλῶν on the mummy label of Diodoros (SB XVIII 13654; Roman period) suggest that these too were inhabitants of Arsinoe.
Hawara also attracted persons from other places in the Arsinoite nome. Thus the body of an undertaker of Alexandrou Nesos had to be placed in a family tomb at Hawara (P.Hawara Lüdd. IV; 220 BC). The unpublished account P.Ashm. I 30 lists deceased from the village Mendes, from Ptolemais Hormou and even from Meidoum in the Memphite nome. There may even be a relation between the place of origin of the dead and the cult places of Pramarres in the Fayum (e.g. Alexandrou Nesos and Tebtynis).
Indeed, even people from outside the Fayum found their last resting place at Hawara, as is attested by the correspondence between the undertakers of Alexandria with those of Hawara (SB I 5216; 101, 68 or 39 BC) and by the mummy label of Pantagathos, sent "to the Arsinoite nome" (SB I 3967).

An unpublished papyrus from the 2nd half of the 3rd century BC lists derelict land in several villages near the entrance of the Fayum, including Hawara (P.Duke inv. 100). Unfortunately, the amounts of land occupied by canals (διώρυγες), inundated land (ἔμβροχος), high-land (ὑψηλὴ γῆ), hills (βουνοί) and dry land (χέρσος) on the territory of Hawara are lost.

Our view of the Hawara economy is extremely one-sided and focused on the families of undertakers, who owned tombs, houses and funerary rights in the village. Their funerary properties extended to necropoleis in the region, e.g. Syron Kome, Ptolemais Hormou, Kerkesoucha Orous, Psenharyo/Psinharyo, Seila, Alabanthis and even outside the Arsinoite nome (T3-mtn in the Herakleopolite nome).
The Hawara undertakers regularly inherited their titles and tasks from father to son. Their most common priestly title is htmw (n‡tr), (god's sealer), which was often combined with the practical function of wjt (embalmer) into the cumulative title htmw (n‡tr) wyt (god's sealer and embalmer) and with that of ‡hrj-hb 'lector priest', nominally the priest who recited the appropriate prayers during the embalming. Sealer and embalmers could become chief sealer and embalmers, though apparently this did not make much of a difference. In Greek all these titles are rendered by the down-to earth term ταριχευτής, "pickler".
The sealers and embalmers were also responsible for the transport to the grave and for the burial, and played a role in the cult of the dead. According to the professional oath P.Ash. I 18 (70-60 BC) the god’s sealers and embalmers made burnt offerings and libations at the necropolis. Similarly, endowments of a sealer and embalmers mention offerings (bread, meat, wine) next to articles for mummification.
The Hawara necropolis was apparently directed by a prophet of Souchos, who probably resided at Krokodilopolis. He is a central figure in P. Zauzich 17 (95/94 or 62/61 BC?) and in P.Hawara Lüdd. XX (84 BC) three sealers and embalmers swear an oath to his representative Nechtyris. Moreover, several undertakers are 'servants of Souchos' (b3k Sbk) (P.Chic.Haw. 8; 243 BC; P.Hawara Lüdd. IVa; 220 BC; P.Cair. III 50129 + SB VI 9297; 86 BC).
Funerary and cult activities must have continued in the Roman period, as is clear from the mummies found in the cemetery.
The performance of religious offices in temples formed a complementary source of income for the undertakers. Thus the sealer and embalmer Marres acquired rights for six liturgical days in the Anoubieion of Hawara (P.Ashm. I 16 and 17; 69/68 BC). Moreover, Pasion alias Pasis, Phanias alias Pais and Apollonios alias Haryothes, the three sons of Leon alias Sesophnois, had claims on honourable offices for the god Souchos in the capital (P.Ashm. I 22; 107/106 BC).
Other Hawara villagers functioned as priests of particular deities. The offices of the higher priesthood, such as the stolistai in the Labyrinth (SB I 5216; 101, 68 or 39 BC), were full-time jobs. Priests of lower rank, for instance pastophoroi, were only part-time (P.Hawara Lüdd. V and VII; 217 and 183 BC).
Non-priestly offices occur only sporadically, e.g. bricklayers in the Ptolemaic texts, a rope maker and an overseer of a bakery in the Byzantine period (Coptic text Nr. XXVI). A mill tax (φελωσικόν) for a house 'in the Labyrinth' was paid in 235 BC (SB XVIII 13314).
In the Byzantine period cultivation of wine (W.E. CRUM, Coptic Manuscripts, XX), andwheat (W.E. CRUM, Coptic Manuscripts, XLIX), and stockbreeding (W.E. CRUM, Coptic Manuscripts, XLIX: calf-herd), still played a role.
For the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC a (private) bank is attested near the Labyrinth (P.Petrie ined. Select Box 10 and P.Tebt. III 891) (cf. Bogaert 1994b, pp.345 and 357).
Several hoards found by Petrie in 1888 consist of bronze coins of the late antique period (4th until 6th centuries) (cf.Noeske 2006, p.291-298).

Hawara owed its fame to Pramarres, the 12th Dynasty pharaoh Amenemhat III, who built his funerary complex at Hawara around 1800 BC. The Labyrinth, south of the pyramid, was evidently the main cult centre of the deified pharaoh (photo). The cult is attested by Ptolemaic dedications, such as I.Fayum I 34 and 35 (both 1st cent. BC) and the demotic stele Stewart 1983 Nr. 81 (Ptolemaic period). A pottery bowl, which may originate from Hawara, is dedicated to pharaoh Marres by the "general" Peteharpsenesis, son of Petemestous. The title ‘general’ (mr m sª) no doubt refers to the president of a private association. Such a religious association of Pramarres is found in I.Fayum I 6. The two leading members of the synodos at Hawara, of which the president is a high ranking official with the court title suggenes, have Greek names, in accordance with their high social position.
Like most Fayum villages Hawara was dedicated to the crocodile god Souchos. The temple of Souchos in Hawara, attested from the 3rd century BC to the 2nd century AD (P.Chic.Haw. 4; P.Hawara Lüdd. V and VII; BGU 13 2215 ), was either an independent construction for the main god of the Fayum, or an alternative name for the Labyrinth. Amenemhat’s funerary temple was a cult centre for Pramarres in association with other Fayum deities, especially Souchos, who is well represented in the Labyrinth statues (cf. Blom 1989; Uytterhoeven-Blom 2002). Herodotos' story of crocodile tombs in the Labyrinth (II 148) is confirmed by the excavations of Petrie (Area X) (Petrie 189, p.18), and Brugsch and Von Levetzau. Middle Kingdom inscriptions found in the Labyrinth area identify the crocodile god worshipped at Hawara as ‘Sobek of Shedet’, ‘Sobek lord of Khaui’ and ’Sobek lord of Bau’ (Petrie-Wainwright-Mackay 1912, pp.31-32). In Ptolemaic times Souchos was also worshipped with Re, as in the nome capital (P.Chic.Haw. 5: house in the temple of Souchos-Re). Souchos was served by stolistai and prophets, such as the anonymous stolistes and prophet of Souchos, the great god, the father of Petenephies, who dedicated of a stele to Pramarres at Hawara in the first cent. BC. A prophet of Souchos was in charge of the 'Temple of Hawara' (P.Zauzich 17; 62/61 BC?). Some references to priests and religious offices related to the Souchos cult and temple may also be related to the Souchos temple in the nome capital itself, which is sometimes referred to indirectly (P.Chic.Haw. 4 – 292 BC; P.Chic.Haw. 5 – 285-246 BC). Explicit references to the Souchos cult in the metropolis occur in P.Ashm. I 22 (107/106 BC), where two sealers and embalmers confirm an agreement concerning the division of properties and offices by their father. Some of these offices of the god Souchos they enjoyed in Ptolemais Euergetis.
The unspecified ‘Temple of Hawara’ (P.Chic.Haw. 9; 239 BC; P.Hawara Lüdd. III; 233 BC) is no doubt the main temple of the village. Several prophets of Souchos are linked to this temple (P. Zauzich 17; 62/61 BC). It is not clear, however, whether this was an independent temple of Souchos or the Labyrinth itself, where Pramarres, Souchos and some other deities were worshipped.
The popularity of Pramarres and Souchos is also reflected in anthroponymy. Of the 363 persons known by name for Ptolemaic Hawara, 53, or no less than 14,6%, had a Marres (or Amenemhat) name (e.g. Amenemes, Marephagoes, Marepkysis, Marres, Tamarres) and 13.7% had a name referring to the crocodile god (e.g. Neksouchis, Nephersouchis, Petesouchos, Sisouchos, Sochotes, Tasouchion, Tasouchis; Pempsas, Pnepheros). The common name M3ª-Rª-s3-Sbk, transcribed in Greek as Mar(e)sisouchos, represents the deified Marres as the son of the crocodile god. Other personal names in Hawara refer to the widely worshipped trias Osiris-Isis-Harpocrates, to several Memphite deities (Apis, Imhotep, Mneuis, Ptah) and to Sesostris II, the deified father of Amenemhat III (Sesophnois).
The sanctuaries of Anoubis and Boubastis in the western quarter of the village have not yet been identified (P.Hawara Lüdd. VI + P.Cair. III 50134a + P.Cair. III 50136a; 198 BC). In the ‘Domain of Anoubis’ men of Anoubis fulfilled their religious offices, which they could trade (P.Ashm. I 16 + 17; 69 BC: six liturgical days yearly of the cult-service in the sanctuary). This class of undertakers sometimes served the combined cult of Anoubis and Boubastis as men of Anoubis and dancers of Bastet.
In the Ptolemaic period a temple may has been constructed, extended or repaired in the area immediately northwest of the Hawara pyramid. Building materials from Amenemhat’s funerary temple may have been removed to this area and re-used in a new sanctuary. The dedication inscription on the architrave fragment found in Area I (I.Fayoum I 33) and executed after 194/193 BC may refer to a new stone building.
In late Antiquity Christianity took over, here as elsewhere. In the 2nd half of the 5th century AD a basilica was erected NW of the pyramid (photo), in which Coptic texts as well as the Eulogios archive were found. The Hawara Labyrinth, or what remained of it, and its sculptures were probably deliberately damaged (cf. Uytterhoeven-Blom 2002).

Between 292 (P.Chic.Haw. 4) and 70/60 BC (P.Ashm. I 18) Hw.t-wr.t / Haueris is 25 times called a tmj and twice a κώμη (BGU VII 1573 – 141 AD).
From 260 to 250 BC the village belonged to the nomarchia of Maimachos and between 250 and 231 BC to that of his successor Aristarchos. This nomarchy covered the southern part of the meris of Herakleides and a part of the meris of Themistos (cf. Héral 1992).
Haueris seems to have been connected for a while with Hiera Nesos. If the supplement in BGU VII 1573 (141 AD) is correct, both villages even formed komogrammateia (l. 14 and 17: κατὰ τὴν κωμογραμματείαν τῶν κωμῶν ῾Ιερᾶς καὶ Αὑήρεως), headed by a ὑπογραμματεὺς πόλεως καὶ πρεσβύτερος κώμης ῾Ιερᾶς. This is surprising, since Haueris and Hiera (Nesos), which must have been situated in the north/north-east area of the Fayum near Karanis and Bakchias, were certainly not neighbours.

For a prosopography of inhabitants of Hawara, click here.


I. Uytterhoeven