Kom el-Hisn is one of the most ancient and important towns in the western Delta region of the Nile.  In antiquity it was situated near a branch of the Nile which has since shifted eastward, and it was also near the desert edge on the route to the Libyan frontier. The name in Arabic means "Hill of the Fort," and this probably refers to the rectangular mudbrick temple enclosure of the ancient  temple of Het-Hert, much of which still remained a century ago.  Sadly, a great deal of the site has been converted to agricultural fields, with local farmers having removed most of the large earthen temple walls.  The little which is left of the Old Kingdom and Middle Kingdom community there is also falling prey to agricultural expansion. 

Kom el-Hisn.jpg (128429 bytes)

The remains of the temple of Het-Hert/Sekhmet at Imau

The ancient site was called Imu, or "imAw," meaning the plural of a type of tree in the Kemetic language, and in texts we find it mentioned since the 5th dynasty.  From the Late Period, it is referred to as "pr-nbt-imau" or Domain of the Mistress of Imau. Inscriptions from the Middle Kingdom note that Het-Hert (as well as Her other side, Sekhmet) was the principal deity worshipped here, and the head of a statue of King Amenemhet II contains an inscription denoting him as "beloved of Het-Hert, Mistress of Imau." Both Het-Hert and Sekhmet were denoted as "Mistress of Imau." More information about Het-Hert's worship here comes from the grave of Khesuwer, also from the Middle Kingdom.  He was a priest of Het-Hert and Supervisor of the Priests and of the temple precinct.  His designation as Chief of the Harim and Chief of the Maidens probably denotes a position as supervisor of the women who were in the service of Het-Hert. During the 19th Dynasty, Ramesses II renovated the temple of Het-Hert, and in the 22nd Dynasty, Sheshonq III expanded it. 

It is probable that Kom el-Hisn was a specialized cattle-rearing center, sending most of its herds to Memphis and other cult and settlement areas.  In the same nome as Kom el-Hisn was another town designated as "The Estate of the Cattle," or Hwt-iHwt, which was one of the oldest of the state foundations in all of Egypt, dating to the reign of King Den of the 1st Dynasty.  The goddess Sekhat-Heru, the sacred cow associated with Het-Hert who provided milk and offerings, was also worshipped in this region, and the town "Hut-Sekhat-Heru" was named in her honor.


Reference for image

Wilkinson, Richard H., The Temples of Ancient Egypt


Allam, Schafik, Beiträge zum Hathorkult (bis zum Ende des Mittleren Reiches), 1963.
Bard, Kathryn A., Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt, 1999.
Helck, Wolfgang. "Kom el-Hisn." Lexikon der Ägyptologie, Band III, 1980.
Rössler-Köhler, Ursula, "Sechat-Hor." Lexikon der Ägyptologie, Band V, 1984.
Wilkinson, Richard H., The Temples of Ancient Egypt, 2000.

Hathorlogobksm.gif (3061 bytes)

Text and original graphics copyright © 1999-2007 by Neferuhethert. All rights reserved. All graphics which are not original works have been credited to their source or used with permission, and their copyright remains the property of the source cited. No use of any original written or graphical material is allowed in any form whatsoever without prior written permission.  Questions should be directed to neferuhethert at aol.com. This is a non-profit website for educational purposes only. Last updated 01/27/10..