Luxor: ancient temple discovered on new peak at Pharoah’s centre

The pyramids of Karnak in southern Egypt are far from complete, but newly unearthed temples at the site might just give the world an insight into the developing days of the Pharaohs

Archaeologists have announced the discovery of a temple on the outskirts of the ancient Egyptian city of Luxor, potentially marking the discovery of a lost peak between a period when Egypt was ruled by the Pharoahs and those ruled by the Pharaohs.

The remains of a sun temple, located on the Badieak peak in the Valley of the Kings, were unearthed by teams working at the site in a later phase of excavations, archaeologists said.

According to a press release from the Luxor tourism company Coptic Tourism Research & Development (Cred), the site appears to have been discovered close to the smaller buildings that surround the temple, suggesting it had a central location. The architectural structure is largely complete and likely to be some time in the past, between the 4th and 5th dynasties of Ancient Egypt.

Two other “opulent” temples have been discovered on the lowermost of the ruins of the temple, although much of the other villas to which the temple might have been attached may be missing, researchers said. A council of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs in the 19th dynasty (1750-1386BC) may have built the temple, they added.

The Badieak temple is the eighth of a dozen temples discovered on the slopes of the Badieak peak. This may account for the scattered nature of the ruins, archaeologists said.

The pyramid of Seti I, who ruled in the 17th dynasty of Ancient Egypt (1750-1386BC), is built to stand more than 2,000ft (600m) in the air. The pyramid sits next to a number of relics, such as the vast Amenhotep III temple, the country’s third highest and the setting of the final battle scene in the final scene of the film, Gladiator.

“Sections of the Badieak temple, although poorly repaired, are intact,” said Alaa Dahab, a professor of paleoanthropology at Cairo University.

The archaeologist said finding this temple would be significant for visitors. “If it really is the site of the fourth big temple, then it is the largest temple ever discovered in the Valley of the Kings,” Dahab said.

The website said the temple measured 125 metres in width and 150 metres in height, the same height as the recently discovered Maya temple at the same site.

The papyrus fragments found in the temple, which have not yet been dated, suggest the temple itself was built as a collective temple dedicated to the sun god, said Dahab.

The temple also contains documents proving that it was under construction at around the time the late Pharoah Hatshepsut was ruling Egypt, he added.

The site was discovered by teams led by the Egyptian antiquities minister, Khaled al-Anani, and by an Italian team based at an Italian training school in Luxor.

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