In the swirling sands of Egypt’s Western Desert, a 2,200-year-old Greco-Roman temple has been discovered, according to a report on Wednesday by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities. Among the ruins, the main entrance to the ancient temple along with its front section, and different segments of its foundation.
Archaeologists working on the Al-Salam site also discovered the outer wall of the Greco-Roman temple which would have once ushered visitors into the temple’s courtyard, and on both sides of this wall are paths that veer into other chambers, as National Geographic reported.
The site of this temple lies around 200 miles away from the Mediterranean Sea and 348 miles west of Cairo, and it was only after archaeologists began their excavations that they discovered the enormity of their find, with the walls of the temple clearly showing that this building would have been fashioned in the Greco-Roman style, something clearly defined by the egg and dart patterns which were found decorating the corner pillars, as well as the upper lintels of the temple.
As archaeologist Sarah Parcak remarked, finding new temples of this kind in Egypt is far from an everyday occurrence, especially given how far out in the desert this particular Greco-Roman temple is.
“What’s amazing is you don’t tend to hear every day of new temples found in Egypt. It’s going to shed more light on the history of Siwa Oasis.”
Incredible 2,200-year-old Greco-Roman temple is unearthed in Egypt https://t.co/zOaajRQpNn
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) April 6, 2018
The Siwa Oasis, where the temple was unearthed, is particularly noteworthy for also being the location of the Temple of the Oracle, where Alexander the Great was said to have visited in 331 BC. Alexander allegedly consulted the Oracle here to ask the prophetess whether he was in fact a legitimate son of Zeus, which would make him the divine ruler of Egypt. After he was answered in the affirmative, he believed himself to be the true king of the country.
Some of the many treasures discovered around the Greco-Roman temple include coins, pottery, statues of lions created from limestone and a decorative sculpture of an unknown man’s head, according to Science Alert.
While people are thought to have inhabited this region of the desert since at least 10,000 BC, archaeologists believe that this temple was built sometime between the years 200 to 300 AD.
Even though at this point in history the country would have been under the rule of Hellenistic and Roman forces, the religious beliefs of Egypt, along with its architectural style, would still have been very much influenced by ancient Egyptian culture, something that is clearly demonstrated by the Al-Salam temple.
Discoveries of this kind, while far from frequent, show that there is still much left to be discovered, as Sarah Parnak concluded.
“We think we know so much about ancient Egypt, but there’s so much of it left to find.”
— Evan Kirstel (@evankirstel) April 7, 2018
The archaeological excavation of the 2,200-year-old Greco-Roman temple in the Western Desert of Egypt continues, and archaeologists are hopeful that further work conducted here will reveal more about the daily activities of those who would have lived during this period.