Ancient Egypt: Discovery Made at the Temple of Ramses II


At least 2,000 sheep-headed mummies dating from the Ptolemaic period and a magnificent Ancient Kingdom structure have been discovered at the temple of Ramses II in the ancient city of Abydos, southern Egypt, antiquities officials say know Saturday.

Mummified sheep, dogs, wild goats, cows, antelopes and mongooses were found in the temple along with the heads of rams, believed to be votive offerings indicating continued homage to Ramses II at the site approx. 1,000 years after his death, a statement from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said.

It added that the discoveries will expand knowledge of the site over a period of more than two millennia up to the Ptolemaic period. The Ptolemaic period lasted about three centuries until the Roman conquest in 30 BC

Abydos, located in the Egyptian province of Sohag about 270 miles (435 km) south of Cairo, is one of Egypt’s most important but less visited archaeological sites.

It was an early ancient Egyptian royal necropolis and a pilgrimage center dedicated to the god Osiris.

The excavations were carried out by a mission from New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World.

Besides the animal mummies, the team discovered a large palace structure with walls about 5 meters thick from the Sixth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom, along with a number of statues, papyri, ruins old trees, clothes and leather shoes.

The head of the mission, Sameh Iskander, said the structure could help “recreate a sense of the ancient landscape of Abydos before the construction of the temple of Ramses II”.

(Written by Adam Makary; Editing by Aidan Lewis)

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