Dr. Swanson took my Cultural Geography of Ancient Egypt class to see the important sites of Buto and Sais (located in the Nile Delta). Both sites are very important Old Kingdom sites. Buto was the capitol of the North before Egypt's unification and the establishment of the Egyptian state in 3100ish B.C. It was also the site of one of the most impressive, expansive temples in Ancient Egyptian history (larger than Karnak). Sadly, the temple was completely destroyed in the last 100-200 years by locals taking away blocks and melting them down to build their homes from. It is just heartbreaking to stand on a spot where such a magnificent and powerful building stood for many thousands of years, but then was snuffed out in a blink of an eye by people whose little lives consisted of struggling to farm enough crops for the 30 or 40 years they lived.
This temple was so much bigger and more important than even them as a collective over 200 years and they just wiped it from the face of the Earth. The thing is, once these great structures are gone, they are GONE forever. And forever is a hell of a long time. The site of Buto still is pretty unexcated. Since it was also an important Pre-Dynastic site, there is still a lot to be uncovered from that period. Even with the major temple gone, the site was still very powerful to stand on. The Nile Delta is so marshy, that the giant temple must have looked quite odd compared to the other giant temples, such as Karnak, that are built more in deserty areas.
Our next stop was Sais, another powerful Old Kingdom city.
Many of the early dynastic queens came from Sais and one of the earliest possible female Pharaohs, Mereneith (she worshipped the female goddess of war - Neith), came from Sais. She is the only woman to have her own massive burial complex with the big boys down at Abydos. Sais was located next to a small village and had even less to see than Buto. The ground was dirt, there were a couple mud brick walls, and a couple of pieces of Ancient Egyptian art. Even though there wasn't much here, it was still pretty awesome to be able to walk around what once was such an important Ancient Egyptian city.
Both Buto and Sais are closed to the public, unlabeled, with no signs pointing out where they are. Archaeological maps are very useful for finding these kinds of sites.