27 June 2022 10:30 AM

Ruins of ancient temple for Zeus unearthed in North Sinai

Tuesday، 26 April 2022 - 05:35 PM
Ruins of ancient temple for Zeus unearthed in North Sinai

Egyptian archaeologists have unearthed the ruins of a temple for the ancient Greek god Zeus in the Sinai Peninsula, the Tourism and Antiquities Ministry revealed on  Monday 25/4/2022.

In a statement, the ministry added that the temple ruins were found in the Tell el-Farma archaeological site in northwestern Sinai during excavation activities pursued by an Egyptian archaeological mission as part of the 2021-2022 Sinai development project.

Meanwhile, Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, said archaeologists excavated the temple ruins through its entrance gate, where two huge fallen granite columns were visible.

The gate was destroyed in a powerful earthquake in ancient times, Waziri said.

For his part, Ayman Ashmawy, head of the Egyptian Antiquities Sector at the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the archaeological mission had managed to reveal for the first time the remains of the temple, which was built from adobe on a raised platform made of rubble and broken stones, and its ceiling bears columns of pink granite.

The entrance to the temple is located towards the east, and the ascent to it was via a staircase covered with marble, Ashmawy said, noting that the French archaeologist Jean Cleida had been able in 1910 to discover Greek inscriptions on the lintel, indicating the presence of the temple of Zeus Cassius in this place, but it was not found.

Meanwhile, head of the Central Department of Antiquities of Lower Egypt Nadia Khader said that many huge stone blocks of pink granite were discovered lying in the streets surrounding the site of the temple, which might point to the fact that the site was later used as a quarry and some of its parts were moved to be reused in building churches at Tell Al-Farma, including the Corinthian crowns of the temple of Zeus Cassius, which were reused in the memorial church located north of the temple.

Director General of Sinai Antiquities Hisham Hussein confirmed that the discovered blocks are now being studied, documented and photographed using photogrammetric technology to be reassembled using modern programs and technologies, which contributes to reaching the architectural design closest to the Temple of Zeus Cassius.

He added that the archaeological survey and the limited excavations that were carried out at the site during 1910 by the French archaeologist Jean Cleida within the project of the archaeological survey and excavations of the Suez Canal International Company had not led to uncovering the remains of the temple, but revealed in the place a stone block of pink granite with incomplete inscriptions in Greek.

These were rediscovered during this season 2022, along with another stone block of pink granite with a sunken inscription in Greek, Hussein pointed out, noting that it was discovered for the first time during the current season.

By studying the two blocks, it was found that the texts complement each other, as the inscriptions indicate that Emperor Hadrian ordered new additions to the Temple of Zeus Cassius in Pelusium One. The ruler of Egypt "Titus Flavius Titanus" was the one who made these additions, Hussein said.

Tell Al-Farma, also known by its ancient name Pelusium, dated back to the late Pharaonic period and was also used during Greco-Roman and Byzantine times. There are also remains dating to the Christian and early Islamic periods.


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