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Published:April 22nd, 2009 10:34 EST
The Fifth Temple of Eleven As Described In Luxor Is Uncovered

The Fifth Temple of Eleven As Described In Luxor Is Uncovered

By Christopher HIllenbrand

Excavating along an abandoned military roadway in the region of Sinai, archaeologists uncovered four previously lost ancient Egyptian temples, in the ruins of an archaic unearthed city that many believe was built to inspire awe in dignitaries visiting the ancient civilization.

Zahi Hawass, chief of Egypt`s Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the largest of the four mud brick temples discovered had an area of 70 by 80 meters and had been bolstered by mud-carved walls 3 meters in depth.

Chief archaeologist of the expedition, Mohammed Abdel-Maqsoud, announced that the finding of the immense mud brick temple amidst the other religious structures may force historians to reexamine the chronological and military implications of the Sinai region to ancient Egyptians.

The most expansive shrine housed three stone purification crucibles and was constructed with four hallways and remarkably gargantuan walls bearing vivid engravings paying tribute to Ramses I and II, further support for the argument that the temple had been meant to impress foreign envoys when they traveled to Egypt.

The four temples represent the most recent discoveries by archaeologists scouring the route used by armies long ago called the "Way of Horus", named after the falcon-headed god of Egyptian mythology reputed to have dominion over the sky and the great beyond.

The "Way of Horus" once linked Egypt to what is now modern-day Palestine, and is near the city of Rafah, which skirts the Palestinian border territory of Gaza.

The joint initiative between Egypt`s Culture Ministry and archaeologists responsible for the excavation began in 1986 to find fortified ancient cities along the storied highway. Earlier studies on the city concluded that it had been the nation`s military headquarters lasting from the New Kingdom (circa 1569-1981 B.C.) until the Ptolemaic era, estimating the structure had been used for about 1500 years.

The last finding reported by the archeaology team was the first ever recorded New Kingdom temple to be centered in northern Sinai.

A year ago, a horde of reliefs originally owned by King Ramses II and King Seti had been found alongside columns of warehouses which contained remnants of wheat and antiquated weapons dating back to the New Kingdom period. The warehouses are believed to be ancient Egyptian army repositories.

According to Abdel-Maqsoud, the fortress city is directly related to imprints describing the Way of Horus found on the walls in the Temple of Karnak in Luxor, which revealed that there were initially eleven military installations on Egypt`s eastern border that warded off foreign invaders. Only five of the eleven have been uncovered thus far.