CAIRO – 5 May 2022: The Egyptian archaeological mission operating in the Gabal el-Haridi area of Sohag, affiliated to the Supreme Council of Antiquities, succeeded in uncovering one of the checkpoints and observation points from the era of King Ptolemy III.
That is in addition to completing the excavation work for the discovery of the remains of the Ptolemaic temple that the missions of the Supreme Council of Antiquities succeeded in discovering parts of during previous excavation seasons in the early 2000s.
Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mustafa Waziri explained that the discovered checkpoint is a brick building similar to the so-called Tower House. It was built for the purpose of inspection, control, tight traffic between the borders of the regions, collection of taxes, and securing ships and navigation in the Nile. Waziri said that the discovered temple was dedicated to the goddess Isis, dating back to the era of King Ptolemy III and extends for a length of 33 m and a width of 14 m, with an axis from north to south.
Ayman Ashmawy, head of the Egyptian Antiquities Sector at the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said that it consists of an open, rectangular hall, in the middle of which is a row of four columns, followed by a transverse hall with two columns in the middle, leading to the Holy of Holies, and in the middle of the temple is a staircase. The floor of the temple was formed from stone slabs of local limestone.
During the excavations, the mission found a limestone purification basin on the northern side of the temple and a votive plaque for the temple. On the northern side, the mission also found five ostraca with Demotic inscriptions, 38 coins dating back to the Roman era and a small part of a limestone pillar, in addition to unearthing some animal bones, which through their study showed that they represented the food of the temple priests.
For his part, Mohamed Abdel-Badi, head of the Central Administration of Upper Egypt Antiquities, said that the mission also succeeded in discovering the homes of one of the foremen and a number of remnants of papers with the names, salaries and tasks of the workers, in addition to approximately 85 tombs dating back to different periods from the end of the Old Kingdom until the end of the Ptolemaic era. Their layout varied, including tombs dug at several levels in the mountain, tombs with a well or several burial wells, and other tombs with a ramp ending in a burial chamber.
In the tombs dating back to the Ptolemaic era, 30 mummy cards were found, which were considered as a burial permit written in ancient Greek only and in hieratic and demotic scripts. These cards usually include the name of the deceased, the name of his father or mother, his domicile, occupation, age at death, and some supplications for the ancient Egyptian gods.
The mission also carried out some documentation work for a group of quarries on the site, including one belonging to King Ramses III of the 19th Dynasty. The mission cleaned it and strengthened the rock painting of Ramses III, which mentioned in the Papyrus Harris that King Ramses III sent 38 skilled quarry workers to this area (Mount Haridi) to cut stones to build a temple for him in the Tenth Region.
That is in addition to to three Ptolemaic quarries for each of Ptolemy IV, V and Ptolemy XII, which proves that Gabal el-Haridi was a source of stones in the Ptolemaic era due to the quality of stones in this site.