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The name Gebelein is Arabic for “two mountains,” referring to a pair of prominent hills.
Graves, mainly from the 1st Intermediate Period were found on the west hill, although there are archaeological remains from the Predynastic through the Middle Kingdom at the site. Six naturally mummified bodies from 3400 BC were excavated by Wallis Budge from shallow sand graves and are kept in the British Museum.
On the east hill are the remains of a temple of Hathor which existed as early as the 3rd Dynasty, and contains reliefs and stelae from the 11th to the 15th Dynasties. The temple functioned through the Graeco-Roman period with papyri recovered from the area. The town was located below the east hill.