Lonely Planet Writer

Archaeologists uncover new Ramses II clues on Ain Shams site in Egypt

Archaeologists in Egypt have uncovered clues that indicate a previously undiscovered temple for King Ramses II may be just beneath the surface of the site they’re working on.

Ramses II before the Triad, fresco from the east wall of the great hall of Abu Simbel, from Monuments of Egypt and Nubia, 1835, by Jean-Francois Champollion (1790-1832).
Ramses II before the Triad, fresco from the east wall of the great hall of Abu Simbel, from Monuments of Egypt and Nubia, 1835, by Jean-Francois Champollion (1790-1832). Image by DeAgostini/Getty Images

An Egyptian-German archaeological team that was digging in the area of Ain Shams last week, discovered a number of huge stone blocks.

The rocks were carved with pictures of the ancient Pharaoh anointing a divinity, along with inscriptions using an unusual version of his name: ‘God Barr Ra Masso.’ Experts have speculated that these rocks indicate that a temple for King Ramses II is likely to be buried further beneath the ground reports Daily News Egypt.

Aymen Ashmawi, head of the Egyptian delegation in the team, said that the findings may have been part of the decoration of the innermost rooms of the temple, which would have been built by King Ramses II.

Statue of Ramses II in the British Museum.
Statue of Ramses II in the British Museum. Image by insunlight / CC BY-SA 2.0

“Relics with such inscriptions assure us that Ramses II had built a temple in this area [Heliopolis]. This also explains his deification in his final years as a ruler in the area. We believe that these drawings were used as decorations in the temple’s interior rooms,” he said.

Interior of the Great Temple of Ramses II, Abu Simbel (UNESCO World Heritage List, 1979), Egypt. Egyptian civilisation, New Kingdom, Dynasty XIX.
Interior of the Great Temple of Ramses II, Abu Simbel (UNESCO World Heritage List, 1979), Egypt. Egyptian civilisation, New Kingdom, Dynasty XIX. Image by DeAgostini/Getty Images

There have been plenty of other interesting discoveries on this archaeological site in addition to the rocks – namely faience amulets and metals, and a collection of houses and workshops that date back to the Ptolemaic era. “We’re still digging in the area and looking for more details about its history, so as to find out more about people’s daily lives at that time, as well as the tools they were using,” said Dietrich Rau, the head of the German delegation in the team, adding that they also found pots, mascots, and home wares while digging.