Archaeology, Egyptian 'sun temple' from Fifth Dynasty found

Discovery made by Italian-Polish mission west of Cairo

05 August, 13:58

     (by Rodolfo Calò) (ANSAmed) - CAIROT, AUGUST 5 - One of the heads of an ongoing Italian-Polish archaeological mission west of Cairo has provided fresh details to ANSA regarding the discovery of the remains of what is likely to be a 'sun temple' from the Fifth Dynasty.

    Mission chief for the Polish Academy, Massimiliano Nuzzolo reported in a document for ANSA that the "remains of a building, probably one of four lost sun temples of kings from the Fifth Dynasty, dating back to the mid-25th century BC, were unearthed in Abusir, in the governorate of Giza, just a few kilometers south-west of Cairo", by a "joint mission of the University of Naples L'Orientale and the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw".

    Nuzzolo provided details of the discovery, which was announced last weekend by the Egyptian ministry of antiquities.

    He also said that the "mission will complete its work soon, in the attempt to completely unveil the ancient temple".

    Among the items discovered were "several fragments of clay seals bearing royal names, including the enigmatic king of the Fifth Dynasty Shepseskare, of whom we don't have much information", said in the text Rosanna Pirelli, the mission chief for the University of Naples L'Orientale. The discovery "could change our knowledge of the history of this king as well as of the Fifth Dynasty in general", the researcher said.

    "The sun temple is a particular structure of ancient Egyptian architecture which differs from the classic schemes used for buildings of worship, which were characterized by progressive walkways that led towards the most impenetrable obscurity", it was recalled.

    "The sun temple was instead the clear opposite; an entrance in the shade led, through immense and dark articulated passages, to a sacred courtyard inundated by sunlight. No burials took place here, only rituals in honor of the sun god. The characteristic element of the sun temple is the obelisk, set up at the center of the main courtyard, in front of which was placed an altar for offerings", the document explained.

    The Egyptian ministry of antiquities said in a statement that the remains of the building can be accessed through a monumental entryway built in limestone which leads to an area set up as a warehouse and to a large courtyard to the west characterized by a pavement in mud and some large blocks of quartzite, with 'smooth strips', encased in the pavement of King Niuserre's sun temple, the Italian statement also said the Italian statement.

    The mission is funded by the Italian ministry of foreign affairs and international cooperation (Maeci) and the Polish culture ministry (Ncn), said Nuzzolo, adding that the website www.suntemplesproject.org can be consulted for further information. (ANSAmed).

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