Head of Ramses II removed amid safety concerns

Date:

Share post:

A lack of security across Egypt’s archaeological sites has taken a toll in the town of Akhmim, near Sohag governorate. The area where a huge limestone head of Pharaoh King Ramses II was discovered six years ago was rendered a garbage dump. According to prior surveys, the area may house a vast temple to Ramses II, and more larger than life statues of the pharaoh could be unearthed.

Head of Ramses II removed amid safety concerns

Head of Ramses II removed amid safety concerns
The head of Ramses II in situ [Credit: Ahram]

Because the head of the pharaoh king was uncovered within a modern cemetery in the town, residents were ordered not to bury their dead there for a few months until the cemetery could be relocated. The area was then proclaimed an archaeological site under the jurisdiction of Egypt’s antiquities law. The government, as well as the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) at the time (now the Ministry of State of Antiquities), provided the required funds to relocate a group of modern tombs to another area. As the relocation of the cemetery continued, archaeological excavation discovered more items belonging to the temple beneath.

Since the January 2011 revolution, all work was put on hold and the area neglected. Akhmim residents did not respect the serenity and historical value of the site and its monuments, and transformed the area into a garbage dump. It was frequented by drug addicts, neighbours said. Rubbish was strewn everywhere, and children played football over the remains of the temple.

“This situation is not anymore the case,” Adel Hussein, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities section, told Ahram Online. The head of Ramses II and all objects found there have now been moved to storage in the Sohag inspectorate, so as to protect them. The ministry’s guards are also onsite, to protect it from illegal excavations or other negative encroachment.

Akhmim was the hub of Egypt’s ancient weaving industry and the capital of the ninth nome of Upper Egypt, as well as being the religious centre of the fertility god Min, where a great temple dedicated to him was built during the ninth century BC.

Greek historian Herodotus mentioned this temple and described it as a gigantic edifice larger than the Karnak complex. Akhmim was also a centre of Christianity in Upper Egypt. During the Christian era, temples were destroyed and the modern town was erected over ancient ruins.

Author: Nevine El-Aref | Source: Ahram Online [May 12, 2013]

ADVERTISEMENT

spot_img

Related articles

Mysterious sundial may be secret to Viking navigation

A mysterious Viking sundial found in Greenland may have helped the ancient mariners sail at the same north-south...

Looted vase going back to Italy

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts has agreed to surrender a 2,500-year-old Greek vase that has been a museum...

Libyan antiquities museum escapes ravages of revolution

Hewn from marble 2,000 years ago, the giant statues of the Roman emperors Augustus, Claudius and Tiberius command...

Astronomers discover free-floating planets around universe

University of Notre Dame astronomer David Bennett is co-author of a new paper describing the discovery of a...

Egypt’s languishing Islamic antiquities

Cairo, the Arab world's most populated city, is often referred to as an open-air museum of Islamic antiquities...

How future volcanic eruptions will impact Earth’s ozone layer

The next major volcanic eruption could kick-start chemical reactions that would seriously damage the planet's already besieged ozone...

Mochican temple from 1500 BCE discovered in Peru

A major temple of the Mochica culture and a group of tombs from the cultures that inhabited the...

More on Pre-Inca tomb found

Archaeologists in Peru have discovered the tomb of a lord of the Lambayeque culture, believed to have been...