Friday, March 03, 2006

Helipolis Update
Nevine El-Aref, providing a good summary of the new temple at Heliopolis, with some additional information: "This site is believed to be an important part of the ancient city of Iunu (ancient Heliopolis), which was one of ancient Egypt's three main cities. In addition to being the city of sun worship, Iunu was an astronomical centre and a literary hub, where intellectuals, including Greek philosophers, studied.
Among the unearthed artifacts were a pink granite colossus, weighing five tonnes, whose features resemble those of Ramses II, and a 1.5 metre sandstone headless statue of a Pharaonic figure, whose back is engraved in hieroglyphic text. While brushing the sand off, three cartouches of Ramses II were also uncovered, scattered on the temple ground, along with an unidentified pink granite royal head wearing a nemes (head dress).
Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Al-Ahram Weekly that further excavations revealed a number of talatat (small painted stones) bearing the name of Queen Nefertiti. 'This suggests that the monotheistic King Akhenaten once built a temple or a shrine in this area,' he said, adding that archaeological evidence of massive constructions of sun temples had been carried out much earlier that the 19th Dynasty."
See the above page for full details.

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