Queen Berenike's cat goddess temple discovered in Alexandria, Egypt
Tuesday 19 January 2010
The remains of a temple of Queen Berenike - wife of King Ptolemy III - have been discovered by archaeologists in Alexandria, Egypt.
Dr. Zahi Hawass said the remains discovered are 60 meters by 15 meters, and extend under Ismail Fahmy street. About 600 Ptolemaic statues - amongst which are beautiful depictions of the cat goddess Bastet - were also unearthed.
Dr. Mohamed Abdel Maqsoud, Head of Antiquities of Lower Egypt, said that the mission excavating at Kom el Dikka on property of the Alexandria Security Forces included 18 skilled excavators and restorers. The large collection of Bastet statues indicates that the temple was dedicated to her.
The Bastet statues were unearthed in three different areas of the site, alongside other limestone statues of unidentified women and children. Clay pots and bronze and faience statues of different ancient Egyptian deities have also been uncovered, as have terracotta statues of the gods Harpocrates and Ptah.
Early studies on site revealed that the temple’s foundation can be dated to the reign of Queen Berenike - the wife of King Ptolemy III Euergetes (246-222 BC) - making this the first Ptolemaic temple discovered in Alexandria to be dedicated to Bastet. It also indicates that her worship continued in Egypt after the decline of the ancient Egyptian era.
Bastet originally took the form of a lion and protected the king during battle. However the Greek rulers of the Ptolemaic Dynasty associated her instead with their own Artemis, changing her appearance to that of a cat and calling her Ailuros, a lunar goddess.
The temple is thought to have been destroyed in later eras when it was put to use as a quarry, which lead to the disappearance of most of its stone blocks.
The inscribed base of a granite statue from the reign of King Ptolemy IV (205-222 BC) was also unearthed. It bears ancient Greek text written in nine lines stating that the statue belonged to a top official in the Ptolemaic court. Dr. Maqsoud claims the base was made to celebrate Egypt’s victory over the Greeks during the Battle of Raphia in 217 BC.
A Roman water cistern, a group of 14 meter-deep water wells, stone water channels, the remains of a bath area and a large number of clay pots and sherds that can be dated to the 4th century BC were also uncovered.
According to Dr Maqsoud, it is very possible that this find - made during routine excavations at the Kom el Dikka area - is the first trace of the real location of Alexandria's royal quarter.
Life & Style blogs
WWE 2K15 gameplay trailer: First look at glorious next-gen graphics
iOS 8 apps and features: eight iPhone settings you need to look at after you install the update
iPhone 'Wave': iOS 8 hoax claims you can charge your iPhone in the microwave - you can't
Autumn equinox: Google Doodle celebrates first day of autumn 2014
iOS 8: how to free up memory on your iPhone or iPad to install the update
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
- 1 iOS 8 apps and features: eight iPhone settings you need to look at after you install the update
- 2 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': TV reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...
£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...
£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...