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Egyptian archaeologists find fortified city

Posted by vmsalama on May 28, 2008

An Egyptian archaeological mission in northern Sinai, headed by Dr. Mohamed Abdel-Maqsoud, head of antiquities of Lower Egypt, has found the remains of the largest ancient Egyptian fortified city from the New Kingdom. Egypt’s Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni announced the discovery, which took place within the framework of a joint project of the Ministry of Culture and the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) to explore the ancient military road known as the “Way of Horus,” which once connected Egypt to Palestine. 

Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary-General of the SCA, said that the mission has found a relief of king Thutmose II (1516-1504 BC). This relief is thought to be the first such royal monument to be found in Sinai, and indicates that Thutmose II may have built a fort in the area.  

Dr. Hawass added that the mission has also unearthed remains of a mud brick fort with a number of 4-meter-high towers. The fort measures 500 by 250 meters in area, and can be dated to the reign of King Ramses II (1304-1237 BC). Early studies suggest that this fort was Egypt’s military headquarters from the New Kingdom (1569-1081 BC) until the Ptolemaic era (305-31 AD).  

Dr. Abdel-Maqsoud said that the first ever New Kingdom temple to be found in northern Sinai has been located, and early studies indicate that it was built on top of an 18th dynasty fort. The mission also unearthed a collection of reliefs belonging to kings Ramses II and Seti I, along with rows of storehouses used by the ancient Egyptians to store wheat and weapons.   


A bronze statue of the goddess Aphrodite, a headless Ptolemaic royal statue, an alabaster head of Queen Cleopatra, and a mask thought to be of her lover Mark Antony have been discovered by an Egyptian-Dominican team headed by Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary- General of the Supreme Council Antiquities (SCA) at the archaeological site of Taposiris Magna at Abusir, 45 km north of Alexandria. 

Egypt’s Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni made the announcement yesterday.

Dr. Hawass said that inside the temple of Taposiris Magna, a number of tunnels 50 meters in depth were found, along with corridors and the foundation stones of the temple, which revealed that the structure was built during the reign of king Ptolemy II (282-246 BC). He noted that the shafts and tunnels have not led the team to Cleopatra’s tomb, as international newspapers have reported.  

We have found nothing that indicates the presence of the tomb of either Cleopatra or Mark Antony,” he said, adding that excavation work in the area will be resumed in November.


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