Illegal excavations foiled in Sohag's Akhmim

Nevine El-Aref , Saturday 7 Jun 2014

Three illegal excavation pits found at Akhmim archaeological site in Upper Egypt's Sohag. Ministry of Antiquities to probe site for possible temple

Ramses II temple in Akhmim

During a routine security inspection tour carried out Friday around Akhmim archaeological site in Sohag, personnel of the Tourism and Antiquities Police stumbled upon three excavated pits with artefacts.

Minister of Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim told Ahram Online that the pits were deep, reaching seven metres. They include limestone blocks, some of which are engraved with ancient Egyptian and Graeco-Roman scenes. Plain mud-brick blocks from the Graeco-Roman period were also found, as well as granite blocks and clay fragments.

“This site could house a great Middle Kingdom temple,” Ibrahim told Ahram Online. He went on to say that the huge granite blocks found, each 1.5 metre in diameter, could be the foundation or base of a temple column.

The archaeological committee verified that the unearthed objects are authentic. An Egyptian excavation mission is to embark on digging the site to discover what lies beneath the sands.

Police are searching for those who illegally excavated the site, to press charges against them.

Akhmim in Ancient Egypt was capital of the ninth nome of Upper Egypt and includes several ancient Egyptian and Coptic monuments.

Many of the ancient Egyptian structures were dismantled to be used in later periods. Today, little exists in its original form.

Among the most important monuments found in Akhmin is the remains of a Graeco-Roman temple dedicated to god of fertility Min, a temple built by King Ramses II, and the Akhmim necropolis.

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