Archaeologists have unearthed the remains of an ancient Egyptian temple belonging to Ramses II, the third king of the 19th Egyptian dynasty. The discovery, made at the archaeological site of the Abusir necropolis in Giza, is the only evidence we have to prove that the pharaoh maintained some sort of presence in the region, the Ministry of Antiquities announced in a post on their Facebook page at the weekend.
A team of Egyptian and Czech archaeologists spent four years digging after a discovery made in 2012 hinted at the existence of a long lost temple somewhere in the region.
The temple's site marks a natural transition between the banks of the river Nile and the floodplain in Abusir. The remains are over 3,000 years old and measure in at 32 x 50 meters (105 x 167 feet).
The excavation has revealed a large forecourt, which stands adjacent to two storage buildings. The court's side walls had been lined with stone columns and enclosed by mudbrick. Traces of paint show that at least some sections of the wall were painted blue.
Towards the rear of the building, the archaeologists found the remains of what looks like a ramp or set of stairs leading into a sanctuary. The back of the sanctuary was split into three parallel chambers.
According to the statement, the remains of the temple had been covered in huge deposits of sand and chips of stones, some of which contained fragments of polychrome reliefs. These reliefs would have fulfilled a decorative function, Dr Miroslav Barta, who heads the Czech mission, explained to local media.
They also allowed the team of archaeologists to date the temple back to the reign of Ramses II, (1279-1213 BCE). Ramses the Great ruled for an impressive 67 years and is said to have fathered more than 100 children. One relief contained engravings with the various different titles belonging to the pharaoh.
Another relief fragment showed images of the gods Amun, Re (also spelled Ra and Pra), and Nekhbet, thus confirming that Egyptians continued to worship the sun god Re at this time and in this region.
“The discovery of the Ramses II temple provides unique evidence on building and religious activities of the king in Memphis area and at the same time shows the permanent status of the cult of sun god Re who was venerated in Abusir since the 5th Dynasty and onwards to the New Kingdom,” Barta told state media.