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Another Lost Treasure Found!

Ancient Egyptian kings or the Pharaohs, as believed by the common people in ancient Egypt, was a mediator between Gods and the Mortal World, to be divine, identified with Osiris after his demise. This particular form of apotheosis affected them all, with the belief that the sacred powers would pass on to their sons and heirs. The pharaohs, who used to believe in reincarnation, not only built Pyramids for their post-life survival, but also built Sun Temples. They firmly believed that they could be identified as God only by constructing the Sun Temple. As everyone wanted to get a share of virtue, temples, built by one generation, were renovated by the next Pharaohs. Hence, temples of the Sun God were renovated time and again.

As per Egyptian History, there were at least six such temples of the Sun God in the northern African country. However, four of them have not been discovered till date. While Archeologists found the first one 123 years ago, the second one was discovered in November 2021. A team of Archeologists uncovered the remains of the temple buried beneath another temple at Abu Ghurab, around 12 miles south of the Egyptian capital of Cairo.

The Site

The Polish Academy of Sciences’ Institute for Mediterranean and Oriental Culture was carrying out excavation works there in the last week of October under the supervision of Mission Co-director Massimiliano Nuzzolo. Nuzzolo, an Assistant Professor of Egyptology at the Polish Academy, said that they discovered only a small part of the old Sun Temple, as excavation works were still going on. He believes that the small part could open up a new dimension to Egyptian History.

Small part of the temple

In Egypt, Pyramids and Temples of various deities are mostly made of stone. However, mud bricks, and not stones, were used to construct the original Sun Temple. Archaeologists also found foundations of several stone pillars during excavations. These foundations have prompted Nuzzolo and his team to come to the conclusion that the new temple was built after the demolition of the old one, and the pillars were demolished at that time.

Stone pillars

Archaeologists examined the old temple, and found that it was built at least 4,500 years ago. Several mud-filled beer-jars of that period of time were also found inside the temple, and some of those terracotta pots were filled with clay. According to Professor Nuzzolo, those were used in rituals of worshiping the Sun God. The Sun Temple, built by King Neuserre or Nyuserre of Egypt, is known as the Sun Temple of Nyuserra. Archaeologists had discovered this temple in 1898. It may be noted that King Neuserre, the sixth King of the 5th Dynasty, ruled Egypt between 2400 BCE and 2370 BCE.

Sun Temple of Nyuserra

Historians have opined that the old Sun Temple was built at least two generations before the reign of King Neuserre… during the reign of the Third or Fourth King of the 5th Dynasty. Perhaps, that Pharaoh wanted to attain divinity in his final years! According to Archaeologists, the King was in a hurry to finish the construction works of the Sun Temple. Hence, he used mud bricks, instead of stone. “Usually, it happens that when a king for some reason is in a hurry he builds the monument in mud bricks with key elements in stone,” said Professor Nuzzolo. He stressed: “This may have facilitated their disappearance during the course of the centuries, as it occurred to several other ancient Egyptian monuments built with the same perishable material. Moreover, buildings made of mud bricks can be easily demolished and buried under other constructions, as it probably happened in our case.

Mud bricks

Professor Nuzzolo believes that the Sun Temple would reveal much more information, such as the lifestyle, food habits, drinking habits, etc., of the Ancient Egyptian people.

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