Spectacular and surprising discovery ancient egypt. A team of American archaeologists discovered in Abydos, almost 500 kilometers south of Cairo and one of the main religious centers of the civilization of the pharaohs, more than 2,000 mummified sheep which have been dated to the Ptolemaic period (332-30 BC). The excavations also made it possible to document a large building built during the Old Kingdom, specifically in the 6th Dynasty (2305-2118 BC), as announced by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in a statement.

The discoveries were made in the vicinity of the pharaoh’s temple Ramses II. In some storage rooms on the north side of the building, researchers at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University have documented a large amount of mummified animal remains next to the heads of rams, such as sheep, dogs, mountain goats, cows, deer or mongooses. According to experts from the Ministry of Antiquities, these are offerings that show the cult of Ramses the Great, about a thousand years after his death.

“This discovery reveals important details of the life and history of the temple of Ramses II, in and around Abydos, which contributes enormously to our understanding of the site of the temple and the life it sustained for over two thousand years,” said Secretary-General general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, mustafa waziri. The ancient city functioned as a royal necropolis and a pilgrimage center, as, according to Egyptian tradition, it was there that the tomb of Osiris, god of resurrection, regeneration of the Nile and fertility, was located.


The new structure discovered in the temple.

Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities / Reuters

The head of the American Archaeological Mission, Sameh Iskandarpointed out that this large number of mummified rams could have been used as an offering during the practice of worshiping the figure of the pharaoh, a testimony “unprecedented in Abydos during the period of the Ptolemaic era”.

As for the remains of the identified building, erected during the VI Dynasty, the researchers detail that it is characterized by “a different and unique architectural project” due to some massive thick walls about five meters wide. Iskandar pointed out that a detailed study of this structure could help “restore the sense of the ancient landscape of Abydos before the construction of the temple of Ramses II”.

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The head of the Central Antiquities Administration of Upper Egypt of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mohamed Abdel Badi, added that the mission also revealed fragments of the northern wall of the wall surrounding the temple and its annexes, as well as parts of statues, papyri, remains of ancient trees, leather clothing and shoes. This discovery “changes what has been established about the design of the temple of Pharaoh Ramses II and what has been described, painted and circulated among scientists and researchers since it was revealed more than 150 years ago.”

The New York University team will complete their work on site to reveal more about the history of this site and to study and document what was found during the current excavation season, the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities said in a statement.