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The remains of a temple believed to be more than 3000 years old was found at the Gebel el Silsila quarry in Egypt. Source: The Gebel el Silsila Survey Project.
The remains of a temple believed to be more than 3000 years old was found at the Gebel el Silsila quarry in Egypt. Source: The Gebel el Silsila Survey Project.

‘Lost’ Egyptian temple discovered in ancient quarry

The remains of an ancient Egyptian temple that was thought to have been lost to history have been uncovered in a quarry.

The foundation and remains of the temple were unearthed by a Swedish-led group of archaeologists undertaking research at the Gebel el Silsila quarry, located outside the city of Aswan, Egypt. The discovery was temporarily dubbed “the temple of Kheny” after the Egyptian name for Gebel el Silsila as the group had not yet identified to whom the shrine had been dedicated.

Nasr Salama, the general director of Aswan’s archaeological areas, said the foundations of the temple were positioned on the eastern bank of the Nile River and measured about 35m by 18m. “It includes four layers, column bases, inner and outer walls. Also there are obvious marks on the ground [that] refer to five columns’ bases at the west side of the temple,” an Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities source stated.

A scarab that was found at the site. Source: The Gebel el Silsila Survey Project.
A scarab that was found at the site. Source: The Gebel el Silsila Survey Project.
Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Dr Mamdouh Eldamaty emphasised the importance of the discovery, saying it indicated that the site had not only acted as a quarry but also as a place of religious significance. He added that the temple appeared to date back to the New Kingdom period – circa 1550 to 1070 BC – and that archaeological evidence found at the site indicated at least four successive historical eras, from the reign of Thutmose through to the Roman period.

Maria Nillson of Sweden’s Lund University, who heads the Gebel el Silsila research team, told Discovery News, “The oldest building phase of the temple was made up by limestone, which is unique within a sandstone quarry, and may signify the official changeover from limestone construction to sandstone.”

Among the findings were fragments of cartouches – carved tablets that usually acted as nameplates –believed to belong to Egyptian pharaohs Amenhotep III and Ramses II. Media sources reported that other small artefacts, including 18th Dynasty beads, coloured plaster, pottery “sherds” and a scarab (a form of amulet), were also uncovered at the site.

The Gebel el Silsila Survey Project has been underway since 2012 and, as previously reported by Quarry, the same research team also discovered relief carvings at the site in January earlier this year that were believed to depict the way in which Egyptians transported their stone in ancient times.

The Gebel el Silsila quarry is believed to have supplied stone to construct many of the temples in southern Egypt, including the Luxor temple.

More reading
Dig site yields ancient quarry carvings
 




















Saturday, 27 May, 2017 11:46pm
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