Arts & Culture

Egyptian Archaeological Team Unearths Zeus Cassius Temple Remains

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Egyptian Archaeological Team Unearths Zeus Cassius Temple Remains

Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Antiquities Facebook page.

Millions of tourists flock to Egypt each year in order to marvel at remains from its ancient Egyptian civilization, yet many are unaware that Egypt’s ancient cultural legacy encompasses more than just Egyptian. Egypt’s latest discovery of an ancient Roman temple at the North of Sinai is a perfect example.

The Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism announced on its social media pages, on Sunday 25 April, that an Egyptian archaeological mission discovered remains of the temple of Zeus Cassius in North Sinai.

Specifically, the remains had been excavated in the archaeological area of Tel-El Farma, around 200 meters from the west of the Pelusium citadel, according to Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Dr. Mostafa Waziri.

The finding occurred as the mission was undertaking a series of archaeological works within the Sinai Development Project for the years 2021-2022.

Waziri added that the discovery of the temple was facilitated by the appearance of its large gate, peering from the surface of the eath. Fashioned from pink granite, the gate consists of two columns around eight meters each, with a lintel at the top with a Greek inscription.

The gate had collapsed in antiquity due to an earthquake.

It had not, however, been the first time Egyptian archaeology had encountered the temple. Indeed, a French archaeologist by the name of Jean Clédat had found the late Greek lintel inscriptions, indicating that a temple was in the area, yet he was unable to retrieve the remainder of the structure.

According to Nadia Khedr, Head of the Central Department of Antiquities of Lower Egypt, the site had been explored as a quarry, with many parts of the structure repurposed for the construction of churches at Tel Al-Farma, including the Corinthian capitals of the Temple of Zeus Cassius, which were used in the Memorial Church located north of the temple.

Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Antiquities Facebook page.

The entrance to the temple is located towards the east, and the ascent to it was via an ascending staircase covered with marble, he added, noting that in 1910 French archaeologist Jean Clédat discovered late Greek inscriptions on the lintel indicating the presence of the temple of Zeus Cassius in this place, but the temple was not found – until now.

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Cairo-based and with nine years of experience in journalism, Sara is deputy editor-in-chief and managing editor of Egyptian Streets. She holds two Bachelors (Egyptology and Journalism) from the American University in Cairo (2011). Her interests include history, comparative archaeology, gender, religion, minority rights, science fiction, and the environment.

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