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Egyptian pharaoh's chapel discovered

Published Dec 30, 2001


Cairo - Egyptian and British archaeologists have discovered a funerary chapel dedicated to the Pharaoh Ramses II, who ruled from 1304 to 1237 BC, in an ancient military base on Egypt's northern coast. antiquities authorities said on Sunday.

"The funerary chapel consists of three rooms made of unfired brick and a door frame of hard limestone," secretary general of the Supreme Council for Antiquities Gaballah Ali Gaballah told AFP.

The shrine carried hieroglyphic inscriptions in the name of Ramses II, and was also used as a place for sacrifices to the lion-headed war goddess Sekhmet and her consort Ptah, Gaballah said.

Excavators also found the kitchen used to prepare food for the shrine's priests, kept separate from the much larger kitchen that fed the garrison, antiquities chief for northern Egypt Mohammed Abdel Maqsoud told AFP.

Archaeologists had excavated since 1925 at this site at Um Rakhm some 420 kilometres west of Cairo, where Ramses II had built a fortress to fight off raids from Libyan tribes, Maqsoud said.

Earlier finds at the site have included remnants of the fortress's brick walls, a sarcophagus in the shape of a Pharaonic citadel, and a 1,2 metre-high statue of the military commander, whose baton was capped with the head of Sekhmet, Maqsoud said. - Sapa-AFP

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