Archaeologists have discovered what they believe is one of the lost ‘Sun Temples’ in Egypt EgyptIt dates back to the middle of the twenty-fifth century BC
The team discovered the remains buried under another temple in Abu Ghorab, about 12 miles south of Cairo, I told CNN Co-Director Massimiliano Nozlow, Assistant Professor of Egyptology at the Polish Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures, in Warsaw, on Monday (16).
In 1898, archaeologists working on the site discovered the Solar Temple of Neucera, also known as Neusier or Neusir, the sixth king of the Fifth Dynasty, who ruled Egypt between 2400 and 2370 B.C.
Now, discoveries made during the last mission indicate that it was built on the remains of another solar temple.
“Nineteenth century archaeologists excavated only a small part of this adobe building below the stone temple of Neocera and concluded that this was an early stage of the construction of the same temple,” Nozzolo said. CNN by e-mail.
“Now, our findings show that this building was very different, and was constructed before Newcera,” he said.
The finds include seals engraved with the names of the kings who ruled before Nucera, formerly used as jar stoppers, the bases of two limestone columns, which were part of an entrance portico, and a limestone lintel.
The original construction was entirely of adobe, Nozulu said, with the team also finding dozens of intact beer pots while excavating. He added that some of the pots are filled with ritual clay, which was only used in specific religious rituals, he added, and the pottery dates back to the middle of the twenty-fifth century BC, that is, one or two generations before the life of Neocera.
Nozulu said the adobe monument was “amazing in scale,” but that Nieucera destroyed it in ritual to build her solar temple.
He said that while these temples were dedicated to the worship of the sun god Ra, the king legitimated his power through the temple and presented himself as the only son of the sun god on earth.
“Indirectly, the main purpose of the temple was to be the site of the deification of the living king,” Nozulu said.
Nozulu said historical sources indicate that a total of six solar temples were built, but only two had been discovered before. He added that from these sources we learned that the temples of the sun were erected all around Abu Ghorab.
Nuzzolo said the Temple of the Sun in Nucera is very similar in design to the adobe building, but is larger and made of stone.
He added that the mud-brick building was not to be erected by Neocera, because it is not known that Egyptian kings built temples of bricks and then rebuilt them using stone.
Some of the remaining solar temples were also built with adobe and some stone elements, said Nozzolo, who thinks these findings are “quite likely” that some of the remaining solar temples were also built.
“This may have made it easier for them to disappear over the centuries, as did many other ancient Egyptian monuments built from the same perishable materials,” he said.
“Furthermore, the adobe building can easily be demolished and buried under other buildings, as probably happened in our case.”
He said the team hopes to find out the king responsible for building the temple through further excavations at the site.
Nozolo added that studying pottery, in particular, would allow them to discover more about how people lived at the time, including what they ate and what they believed in.
Nozulu and the team’s discovery appeared on National Geographic’s “Lost Treasures of Egypt” program, which aired Sunday (14).
The excavations are part of a joint mission between the University of Naples-Laureate and the Polish Academy of Sciences.
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