Project information

Restoring the Great Aten Temple at Amarna, Egypt

In order to prevent the further destruction of the Great Aten Temple at Amarna, sacred city of the heretic pharaoh Akhenaten, the Amarna Trust will embark on a major conservation project and save a building of unique historical, cultural and spiritual value.

January 2013 - May 2016

Charity information: The Amarna Trust

The Amarna Trust logo
  • Need


    The Great Aten Temple lies beside a rapidly expanding modern village and is under immediate threat of encroachment. The temple survives not as a standing monument, but a buried archaeological site. Its invisibility makes it both vulnerable to urban expansion, and difficult for visitors to comprehend. Local authorities work with limited resources and welcome support from international colleagues.


    Working in association with the Ministry of State for Antiquities, the Amarna Trust will embark on an annual campaign to expose, record and redefine the Temple. This project will turn the Great Aten Temple from a hidden ruin into a visible monument with defined boundaries that will help prevent further threat.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To redefine the boundaries of the Great Aten Temple to better define it as a historical monument.


    » An annual program of clearance and conservation.

    What success will look like

    Success will be... seeing the Temple with physically defined boundaries and no longer under immediate threat.

    Aim 2

    To re-record the Temple using modern archaeological approaches to supplement existing records.


    » Professional archaeologists will undertake written, drawn and photographic recording as part of the annual fieldwork campaign.

    What success will look like

    Success will be... the publication, on line and in print, of the architectural history of the Great Aten Temple.

    Aim 3

    To increase public knowledge and awareness of the Great Aten Temple, and Amarna itself.


    » The Temple will be redefined as a monument, allowing visitors to better visualise and experience it.
    » The progress and results of the work will be communicated on-line and in print to researchers and the public alike.

    What success will look like

    Success will be...seeing visitors to the site experience the Great Aten Temple as the unique monument it is.

  • Impact


    The Great Aten Temple will remain as a monument to be experienced for many generations to come. The work will change perceptions of what comprises a historical monument.


    The political situation in Egypt at the moment lends some uncertainty as to whether permission for the work (which must be sought annually from the Ministry of State for Antiquities) will be granted. The Amarna Project, however, has a long history of working in cooperation with the MSA, and the risk of permission being denied is not a major one.


    Donors will receive email updates on the progress of the project, and a copy of Horizon, the biannual newsletter of the Amarna Trust. Progress will also be reported via the Amarna Project website

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £40,680

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      Amount Heading Description
      £27,200 labour employment of specialists and local skilled workmen to undertake clearance, recording & conservation
      £10,160 materials purchase of stone blocks and other building materials
      £3,320 local transport of workers and materials around site
  • Background


    Amarna is an archaeological site in Egypt, south of Cairo and beside the river Nile. Around 1350 BC, pharaoh Akhenaten chose it as a place sacred to the sun god, the Aten, and as his new capital city. Tutankhamen was probably born here, Nefertiti ruled as queen here. It was built, became home to 20,000 people and was abandoned within less than twenty years. It survives as a desert ruin. Two modern villages occupy small parts of the site.


    The fieldwork will be undertaken by teams of archaeologists and conservation specialists who will working alongside colleagues in the Ministry of Antiquities, including trainee inspectors, to provide training and the exchange of knowledge and skills.

    Skilled workers from the local village communities will receive employment during the clearance and conservation work.

    International and Egyptian tourists, students and researchers, will gain an enhanced experience of Amarna.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Amarna Project is one of the longest running field projects in Egypt, working here since 1977. We have a permanent field station at Amarna, a dedicated team of specialists, a long history of cooperation with local authorities and an excellent reputation for academic vigilance and public outreach. And we are passionate about the site and the work... For more information on the Amarna Project please visit

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Professor Barry Kemp, CBE

    Director of the Amarna Project, Professor Kemp will oversee the Great Aten Temple Project.

Repairing the Great Aten Temple

Repairing the Great Aten Temple

The breathtaking complex at Amarna not only offers up exquisite archaeology and antiquities, but also tells us a great about what it is to be human.

Bettany Hughes, Historian, author and broadcaster