Discoveries of the German-Egyptian mission working in the Heliopolis temple

Discoveries of the German-Egyptian mission working in the Heliopolis temple

A joint German-Egyptian archaeological mission, completing its thirteenth season in the Heliopolis temple in Matareya, unveiled fragments of royal statues and a large mud-brick wall, dating to the New Kingdom. Dr. Ayman Ashmawy, head of the Egyptian antiquities sector and head of the Egyptian team, said that this season the mission carried out excavations and test trenches near the industrial workshops area. There they found part of a paved street at a depth of 1 m below the groundwater, as well as pottery remains dating back to the Third Intermediate Period. In addition to this were a number of Hellenistic craters, two of which contained inscriptions of King Ramses II, including a stone block with a representation of the king himself in front of the god Ra-horakhty, given the title "the great god Lord of Heaven, ruler of Heliopolis".

The second pit contained fragments of royal statues, one of which is part of the base for King Seti II's statue (1205- 1194 BC), made of brown quartz. The second was a red granite statue, probably representing the goddess Isis or Hathor, or a queen, dating to the Ramesside Period. 

Head of the mission and the German team, Dietrich Rau,  said that a layer of rubble was discovered near the wall at the second site, located in  al-Mu'tasim street. The rubble included several molds intended for making fiance amulets and columns reused from the Old Kingdom. This layer was located on top of another layer dating back to the pre-dynastic period. It was found in three excavation squares that revealed mud-brick levels of what are probably houses and breweries dating to the same period. The structures are architecturally identical to structures discovered in Tell al-Farkha. In addition to this, there were several stone tools and pottery belonging to the Maadi culture. These finds represent the civilization of Lower Egypt, which preceded the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt. 

It is important to note that the mission's excavations are concentrated in the south-west side of the Temple of Heliopolis in Area 51. Last April the mission succeeded in unveiling a small cemetery dating to the Third Intermediate Period.