Researchers unearth 2,000 ram heads in Egypt temple


Archaeologists in Egypt have found more than 2,000 ancient mummified sheep skulls left as offerings in a temple for pharaoh Ramses II, the tourism and antiquities ministry said on Sunday.

Mummies of dogs, goats, cows, gazelles and mongooses were also exhumed by a team of US archaeologists from New York University at Abydos, a site in southern Egypt famous for its temples and tombs.

Sameh Iskandar, head of the American mission, said the ram heads were “offerings” reflecting “a culture that celebrated Ramses II 1,000 years after his death”.

Ramses II ruled Egypt for almost seven years, from 1304 to 1237 BC.

Mostafa Waziri, the head of Egypt’s High Council of Antiquities, said the discoveries will help people find out more about the temple of Ramses II and the activities that took place there from its construction between 2374 and 2140 BC and the Ptolemaic period, from 323 to 30 AD .Ch. .

As well as the remains of mummified animals, archaeologists have found remains of a palace with walls five meters thick (16 feet) dating back to 4,000 years ago.

They also found some statues, papyri, remains of ancient trees, leather clothes and shoes.

Abydos, located about 435 kilometers (270 miles) on the Nile river south of Cairo, is famous for its temples such as that of Seti I, as well as its necropolises.

Cairo regularly announces new archaeological discoveries, suggesting that some are having more political and economic impact than their scientific or historical importance.

Egypt, which has about 105 million people, is hit by an economic crisis and is dependent on tourism for 10 percent of its GDP, employing two million people.

Cairo hopes to revive tourism by targeting 30 million visitors a year by 2028, compared to 13 million before the coronavirus pandemic.

Critics, however, point out that some archaeological sites and museums are in poor condition.

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