2017 has brought forth its fair share of archaeological discoveries related to the eminent historical legacy of Ramses II (1213-1279 BC), arguably the most powerful and celebrated of all ancient Egyptian pharaohs. Well, this time around, an Egyptian-Czech archaeological mission has unearthed segments of a substantially large temple dedicated to Ramses II, complemented by reliefs of various solar deities like Re, Amun, and Nekhbet. The incredible discovery was made during excavations conducted at the Abusir necropolis in the governorate of Giza.
The temple, according to Mohamed Megahed – deputy to the mission director, occupies a specific terrain that separates the Nile embankment from the floodplain in Abusir. The main structure of the complex measures 52 m (170 ft) by 32 m (105 ft), thus almost accounting for almost 18,000 sq ft of area. The rear part of the complex comprises large forecourt with two mirroring storage houses (with longitudinal axes) flanking its sides.
The initial assessment of this particular site has revealed how the side walls of the main court were colonnaded in typical ancient Egyptian fashion. The arrangement was further enclosed by mud-brick walls that might have been originally painted in blue (at least in some sections). Furthermore, the rear end of the court had a ramp staircase that provided access to the focal point of the temple complex – the elevated stone sanctuary, itself segmented into three parallel chambers. According to Professor Mirsolave Barta, director of the Czech mission –
The remains of this building, which constitutes the very core of the complex, were covered with huge deposits of sand and chips of stone of which many bore fragments of polychrome reliefs.
These multicolored fragments while in their heyday pertained to the intricate decorative scope of the temple complex, has now come in handy for the actual dating of the superstructure. And judging by aforementioned reliefs of solar deities like Re, Barta asserted –
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.
Source: Ahram Online / All Images Credit: Czech Institute of Egyptology