Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
Archaeologists researching the ancient temple city of Heliopolis have made remarkable discoveries documenting intense temple construction activities in Ancient Egypt.
Heliopolis – which literally means City of the Sun – was one of the oldest cities of ancient Egypt. It was occupied since the Predynastic Period which spans the period from the earliest human settlement to the beginning of the Early Dynastic Period around 3100 BC.
Heliopolis greatly expanded under the Old and Middle Kingdoms but is today mostly destroyed, with its temples and other buildings scavenged for the construction of medieval Cairo. Some of the more spectacular remains like obelisks often ended up being sent abroad, such as Cleopatra’s Needles in London and New York that came from Heliopolis.
The international team studying the remains at the original site – consisting of experts from scientific institutions in Germany, Italy and Egypt – discovered a limestone wall, fragments of a shrine of pharaoh Takelot I (887-874 BC) and the remains of a sandstone building at their excavation site near Cairo.
A precise estimation of when the wall had been created is yet to be carried out, according to the researchers.
Professor Dietrich Raue, 54, has headed the excavation operations northeast of the Egyptian capital city since 2010.
The expert on Ancient Egypt said: “Our latest discoveries document the rulers’ intense investment in the creation and expansion of the temple of Heliopolis during different periods in time.”
Leipzig University spokeswoman Katarina Werneburg Werneburg said the temple complex could have been created by the 26th dynasty (664-525 BC). One of the few remaining inscriptions would suggest that, she explained.
Further discoveries include pieces of architecture created during the reign of Cheops (2589-2566 BC) as well as fragments of statues of Thutmose III, Amenhotep II and Ramesses the Great.
Local authorities have cooperated with scientists and students from Leipzig University’s Egyptology Department and experts from Pisa University, Italy, on the project.
Leipzig University is one of the oldest universities in Germany. It was founded in 1409.
Famous alumni include Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Nietzsche, Richard Wagner and Angela Merkel.