Egyptian mummy's head found in Kent undergoes CT scan
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The breakthrough came at the site of Abu Ghurab, around 12 miles (20 kilometres) south of Cairo. Experts uncovered the remains of an ancient temple that was built during the Fifth Dynasty – some time between 2465BC and 2323BC. It is believed to have been run by a powerful religious “cult” that dedicated their lives to the Sun god – Ra.
The site was made from mud bricks and measured around 97 feet long and 66 feet wide (60 meters by 20 metres).
It once contained an L-shape entrance, a courtyard and storage rooms.
Professor Massimiliano Nuzzolo, co-director of the archaeological dig, told Live Science: “The walls of this building were all plastered in black and white and often also show traces of painting in red and blue.”
The stunning building was later demolished to reused by a pharaoh named Niuserre – a common practice in ancient Egyptian times.
The archaeologists made a number of intriguing discoveries – including intact beer jars and a number of other artefacts that had been decorated.
Prof Nuzzolo said his team is not sure which pharaoh began construction of the mud brick sun temple, but it was likely either Shepseskare or Raneferef.
The team also know little about what went on inside the temple.
Prof Nuzzolo added: We know almost nothing of the cult rituals carried out in the sun temples.
“[We also don’t have] enough data to understand what was the daily life of the people living around these temples.”
The structure was first excavated by archaeologists in 1898, but they are said to have only scratched the surface.
Prof Nuzzolo said: “The archaeologists of the 19th century excavated only a very small part of this mud-brick building below the stone temple of Nyuserra and concluded that this was a previous building phase of the same temple.
“Now our finds demonstrate that this was a completely different building, erected before.”
These magnificent monuments were said to have been constructed to make the pharaoh a god while still alive.
Ra, the Sun god, was the most powerful god in ancient Egypt and the focal point of many elaborate rituals that were performed both on the living and dead.
These grant structures were built around a tall, pyramid-like obelisk that aligned perfectly with the east-west axis of the Sun.
In later times, Ra merged with Amun — the chief god of Thebes (now Luxor) – to form Amun-Ra.
He was regarded s being the most powerful of the Egyptian gods and was worshipped until around 1,500 years ago
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