An archaeological collaboration working in Egypt claims to have found one of the four lost temples of the sun, which have been known about from historical texts but never uncovered. Egyptian sun temples were built by Pharaohs of the Fifth Dynasty (around 4,500 years ago) and dedicated to the sun god Ra, often including impressive remains – though just two of the six or seven temples have been discovered.
The announcement was made by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism on Saturday, along with incredible images of the partially excavated site. It is currently not confirmed that this is an Egyptian sun temple, but excavations and the specific location of the site strongly suggest it to be so.
“The discovery hints that the remains might belong to one of the lost four solar temples from the Fifth Dynasty, known only in historical sources but yet to have been found thus far,” says the translated statement.
Found in Abu Ghorab, north of Abu Sir, the building was unearthed while Italian and Polish archaeologists were working on the temple of King Ni and Sarra and stumbled across a mud-brick building below the King’s temple. Accessed through a limestone entrance, the sun temple has mud-brick flooring and huge blocks of quartz.
Part of the sun temple was likely removed by the King while building his own temple, owing to pottery vessels discovered nearby that were likely used for foundation rituals, in which a dignitary would initiate the construction of a new building.
Temples such as this provide invaluable insight into Egyptian culture at the time of the Fifth Dynasty, much of which is still unknown to historians. Archaeologists are continuing work on the incredible site in the hopes they can confirm it is in fact a Temple of the Sun, and unearth more artifacts from the incredible period of ancient history.