CAIRO: A 2,200 year-old chapel has been partially unearthed during an illicit digging attempt carried out beneath a residential building in Aswan, Egypt’s Antiquities Ministry announced in a statement Monday.
The chapel, which dates back to Egypt’s Ptolemaic era (330 B.C.-30 B.C.), is located nearby the Ancient Egyptian temple of Horus at Edfu, 90 kilometers south of Aswan.
“According to what has been revealed from the chapel so far, it is approximately 12 meters high and carved with offering scenes representing King Ptolemy VIII making offerings before several ancient Egyptian deities including Maat, the ancient Egyptian goddess of justice,” Director of Aswan Antiquities Department Nasr Salama was quoted in the ministry’s statement.
The ministry is currently studying different options to unearth the rest of the chapel, said Damaty.
Most of Egypt’s major archaeological sites have been targeted for looting since the 2011 uprising toppled former president Hosni Mubarak. Thousands of ancient Egyptian artifacts, most of which were obtained from illicit digging activities, are now flooding the global markets, auction houses and electronic commerce websites.
“During the past four years, a third of Egypt’s archaeological sites have been either looted, exposed to agricultural encroachments or illegal building or experienced illicit digging,” world-renowned Egyptologist Zahi Hawaas stated earlier this year.