(ORDO NEWS) — An Egyptian archaeological mission has discovered 85 tombs, a watchtower and a temple site in the Gabal al-Haridi area of Sohag, southern Egypt.
During the last season of excavations, researchers discovered an adobe structure that was used to collect taxes and guard trade on the Nile River.
The General Secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mustafa Vaziri, explained that the discovered checkpoint is a brick building similar to the so-called Tower House.
The team also uncovered a Ptolemaic temple from around the same period dedicated to Isis, an ancient Egyptian goddess first mentioned during the Old Kingdom era (2700 BC – 2200 BC).
The temple platform, measuring 33 meters long by 14 meters wide, consists of an open rectangular hall, in the center 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.
The excavations also revealed 85 tombs carved into the side of the mountain. The tombs date from the end of the Old Kingdom to the end of the Ptolemaic period, and their layout is 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, in addition to mummies, archaeologists found 30 death certificates written in ancient Greek letters and ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, indicating the name of the deceased, occupation, age and names of parents.
During the excavations, the mission uncovered a limestone purification pool on the north side of the temple and a votive tablet for the temple.
On the north side, the mission also found five ostraca with demotic inscriptions, 38 coins from the Roman era, a small part of a limestone pillar, and excavated animal bones, which, as the study showed, were the food of the temple priests.
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