Egyptian government deploys armed guards at remote temple sites

Nevine El-Aref , Friday 8 Nov 2013

Guards to boost security at Wadi Al-Sebua temple near Aswan

Wadi El Seboua Temple

The Ministry of State for Antiquities has started to provide security in remote archaeological areas which were left without guards after the 2011 revolution.

Ten ministry security guards at the Wadi Al-Sebua temple area on Lake Nasser, south of Aswan, were armed with guns on Friday, in order to tighten security measures at the remote site.

Antiquities minister Mohamed Ibrahim said the step was important for preventing further looting attempts.

He denied reports that the Wadi Al-Sebua area had been recently subjected to looting, saying that only electricity cables and lamps used to illuminate the site at night had been stolen.

Wadi Al-Sebua, or the Valley of the Lions, is the name given to a Nubian temple built by King Ramses II at the end of his reign (1279 -1213BC).

It was one of the temples that was dismantled and removed from its site in the 1960s to make way for the reservoir that would accompany the Aswan High Dam. The temple took its name from an avenue of sphinxes that decorates its entrance.

The temple originally consisted of a set of three pylons, but only two survive. The first, which led to the avenue of sphinxes, is no longer there, but the second, which leads into a forecourt decorated by statues of Ramses II and the third, which leads to a second courtyard supported by columns decorated by images of Ramses as Osiris, are still extant.

The hypostyle hall and inner sanctuary that follow these courtyards were carved into the bedrock.

Close by Wadi Al-Sebua is Dakka Temple, which was built much later during the Ptolemaic era.

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