Sunday, May 16, 2010

More re discoveries on Avenues of Sphinxes

Al Ahram Weekly (Nevine El-Aref)

The remins of a fifth-century church and a Nilometer have been uncovered this week by an Egyptian mission carrying out routine excavations at the Avenue of Sphinxes in Luxor, Nevine El-Aref reports.

The excavations came within the framework of the Ministry of Culture's plan to develop and revitalise the ancient religious path that once connected Luxor and Karnak temples.

Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), said that the remains of the church were found on the second section of the path, which is divided into five sections. Archaeological investigations revealed that the church was built with limestone blocks that were originally parts of Ptolemaic temples and had been reused. The blocks are very well preserved and decorated with scenes depicting Ptolemaic and Roman rulers offering sacrifices to ancient Egyptian deities.

Hawass believes that the blocks belonged to the Ptolemaic and Roman temples that once stretched along the avenue. They were removed and reused during the Coptic era in the construction of churches. One of the church's blocks contains information concerning the 26th-Dynasty mayor of the Luxor area, Muntomhat.

Sabri Abdel-Aziz, head of the Ancient Egyptian Department at the SCA, said that in the avenue's fourth section the mission had also discovered the remains of a cylindrical sandstone Nilometer with spiral steps.

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