Tell- Basta gets its name from the ancient Egyptian Per-Bastet “the house of goddess Bastet”, which was the cult center of the feline goddess Bastet. The latter, a lioness goddess, was associated with female fertility and played a main protective role.
Per-Bastet was the capital of the 18th Lower Egyptian nome (province) during the New Kingdom period (c.1550–1069 BC). It was also the capital of the country during the 22nd Dynasty (c.945–715 BC).
Its strategic position, in the eastern Delta, made it an important trade hub through which travelers could trade caravans to and from the Sinai and beyond. Most importantly, Bubastis was visited by the Holy Family during its journey to Egypt.
Per Bastet also features the temple of Bastet and the statue of Queen Meritamun, the once daughter and then wife of Ramesses II (c.1279–1213 BC). In addition, one can also find the remaining pillars of the 6th Dynasty temple of Pepi I (c.2289–2255 BC), a large palace of Amenemhat III (c.1855–1808 BC), and remains of a well dating to the Roman Period.
Tell Basta has a long history of excavations undertaken by both Egyptian and foreign missions. Édouard Naville excavated the temple of Bastet between 1887 and 1889, and then Labib Habachi discovered the temple of Pepi I in 1939. A colossal palace of Amenemhat III was excavated by the teams of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and Zagazig University directed by Shafiq Farid in the 1960s, by Ahmed el-Sawi around a decade later, and then by Mohammed Ibrahim Bakr in the late 1970s and 1980s.