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Wednesday, 12 May 2021

New discovery: Gabal Al-Selsila quarries were a sacred area in ancient Egypt

The remains of an ancient Egyptian temple have been unearthed near Aswan in what Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh El-Damaty describes as a “very important” discovery

Nevine El-Aref , Sunday 17 May 2015

A Swedish archaeological mission from Lund University uncovered this week remains of an ancient Egyptian temple in the area of Gabal Al-Silsela quarries located 65 kilometres north of Aswan.

Part of the temple's column

Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh El-Damaty described the discovery as “very important” because it highlights that the area of Gabal Al-Silsela was not only used by ancient Egyptians as a large source of sandstone blocks to built gigantic monuments, but also had a sacred religious importance.

“That is why they built a temple, whose remains were found,” El-Damaty asserted.

He explained that the temple can be dated to the New Kingdom and early studies reveal that the temple was used across four historical epochs, from the Tuthmosis era, during the reigns of kings Amenhotep III and Ramses II, as well as in the Roman period.


Nasr Salama, director of Aswan antiquities, told Ahram Online that the location of the temple was determined with the help of maps published by German archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt. The foundation of the temple is located on the east bank of the Nile, north west of King Amenhotep IV’s stelae (religious relief).

The remains of the temple, Salama pointed out, are 35.2 x 18.2 metres large and include four layers, column bases, and internal and external walls. Traces of five gigantic columns were found on the grounds of the western side of the temple.

part of a relief

Maria Nelson, head of the Swedish mission, said that excavation work at Gabal Al-Selsila started in 2012 when the mission discovered several parts of the cartouches of kings Amenhotep III and Ramses II, as well as sandstone fragments painted with scenes of dark skies with sparkling stars. She said excavation would continue in order to reveal more blocks of the temple.


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