Thousands of Mummified Ram’s Heads Uncovered in Abydos

News March 26, 2023

(Egypt's Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities)
Egypt Ram Heads
(Egypt's Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities)

CAIRO, EGYPT—Ahram Online reports that more than 2,000 mummified ram’s heads have been found in Abydos in the northern precinct of the temple of Ramesses II, who ruled from about 1279 to 1213 B.C. The mummified remains of ewes, dogs, wild goats, cows, gazelles, and mongooses were also recovered at the site. Archaeologist Sameh Iskander said that the presence of the ram’s heads in the temple suggests that cultic practice in memory of Ramesses II continued into the Ptolemaic period, some 1,000 years after the pharaoh’s death. Mohamed Abdel-Badei of the central department of Upper Egypt Antiquities added that the researchers were able to uncover the temple’s northern enclosure walls and define its boundary. They also unearthed statues, papyri, remains of trees, and leather garments and shoes. Traces of a palatial structure with walls measuring about 16 feet thick have been dated to about 2181 B.C., before the reign of Ramesses II. “This structure will provide important, multifaceted and spectacular information on the activities of the Old Kingdom in Abydos, opening up major new perspectives that will contribute to reestablish the sense of the ancient landscape of Abydos before the construction of the Ramesses II temple,” Iskander explained. To read about the burial of an economic minister to Ramesses II, go to "The Treasurer's Tomb."

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