By: April Carson
Archaeologists have discovered pieces of an ancient Egyptian temple that was constructed during the reign of Pharaoh Nectanebo I, the founder of Egypt's last dynasty. The basalt slabs, which are well-preserved and feature carved hieroglyphic inscriptions and images, were part of the northern and western facades of the temple.
Archaeologists discovered the remains of buildings from the XIX, XXII, and XXVI dynasties, as well as a piece of King Seti II's statue and other objects.
Heliopolis through the ages
Heliopolis is one of Egypt's earliest cities. It rose to prominence as a center on the solar religion long before the dynastic period, and it continued to be important for more than three millennia until it began to deteriorate under the later rulers of the Hellenistic period in the 1st century BC.
The geographer and historian Strabo, who journeyed throughout Egypt during the reign of Emperor Augustus, described Heliopolis as being in ruins: the inhabitants had departed, and the obelisks that graced ancient temples were taken.
During the Middle Ages, Heliopolis was utilized as a quarry. Its ruins were gradually covered by the Nile mud, and its structures were gradually rebuilt in Cairo.
Only in the latter half of the century did the ancient Heliopolis' territory become secure from development, allowing archaeologists to conduct comprehensive research here.
Pharaoh Nectanebo I
Nectanebo I founded the ΧΧΧ dynasty, which ruled as Egypt's last royal house until 342 BC, when Persian forces reclaimed the country. In 341 BC, Alexander the Great annexed Egypt after a ten-year rule by Ptolemy I Soter.
Nectanebo I successfully defended against the Persians, generated economic and cultural revival in Egypt, constructed temples in his capital Sebennytos, in Memphis, and elsewhere. He also took an interest in the Heliopolis sacred center.
Excavations in 2015 revealed stone slabs with sculptures, figurines of the goddess Bastet, and ruins of a workshop in the eastern part of the Egyptian temple he erected. The inscriptions on the slabs are mostly concerned with the city's ruler, but they also mention Hathor.
More parts of the ancient Egyptian temple were dug up by archaeologists
For the current season of 2021, archaeologists conducting joint study in Cairo have cleared a northern and western part of an ancient Egyptian temple dedicated to pharaoh Nectanebo I. Scientists have discovered basalt slabs that are similar to those previously discovered in the eastern portion of the structure.
The inscriptions on them record the 13th and 14th years of the king's reign, suggesting that the temple was erected shortly before his death in 366 BC, not earlier than that. It almost midway through the holy city.
Hieroglyphic texts and reliefs from the ancient Egyptian temple
The so-called "geographical procession," which is made up of extracts from the Egyptian temple's hieroglyphic texts and reliefs with in-depth contours on basalt slabs, contains pieces about Lower Egypt.
There were mentions of the name, patron gods, and most significant temples for each country. This textual description was completed with an illustration of Hapi, the god of the Nile floods and fertility.
Some of the slabs, according to archaeologists, remained unfinished. Obviously, after the pharaoh's death, Teos and Nectanebo II did not finish building the sanctuary.
Archaeologists made various other finds dated to different periods of Egyptian history
The project's German head, Dr. Rao, described recent discoveries from other eras. A tiny fraction of this scattered collection is thought to date back to the Middle Kingdom period.
The New Kingdom period produced items including a table for sacred offerings during the reign of Thutmose III, a column capital with Ramesses II's name on it, and a piece of Seti II's sculptural portrait (1204-1198 BC).
A jasper anthropomorphic figure, which was part of the relief, dates from the early Ramessids (19th Dynasty). Pharaoh Merneptah's son had some of them.
The Third Intermediate Period witnessed the collapse of the New Kingdom, which resulted in periods of crisis, upheaval, and weakening of the nation. This is where the statue's base is located and fragments of an quartzite obelisk erected by king OSorkon I (925-890 BC) may be found. The ruins of a Late Period temple, as well as the monuments of Psamtik II and Apries (VI century BC), were also discovered. These discoveries were made west of the previously excavated Egyptian temple.
Excavations at the site of Rhakotis have uncovered clay molds for earthenware figurines and a limestone relief depicting a mounted horseman, which may date back to a period even later than Nectanebo I's sanctuary.
According to Dr. Rao, their discovery demonstrates that local workshops continued to operate long after the construction of Egyptian temples had ceased in the city, and it was on its way out. The temples of Heliopolis were abandoned during the early years of Roman rule.
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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