May 1, 2009--
Ancient Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II (right) offers gifts to Geb, god of earth, in a 3,000-year-old carving discovered in the largest mud-brick temple yet found on northeastern Egypt
's northern Sinai Peninsula (map
The landmark is among four ancient temples discovered at a site near the Egyptian border near the Suez Canal, the country's archaeology agency announced on April 21.
Found among the ruins of a fortified city, the temples would likely have been the first stop in Egypt for travelers from ancient Palestine and other points east. Designed to impress on visitors Egypt's grandeur and might, the city appears to have been the Egyptian military's headquarters during the New Kingdom (1539-1075 B.C.), a time of war and conquest (ancient Egypt time line
"This temple was very, very beautiful. [Visitors] would understand this temple is a good example of Egyptian culture," said Mohamed Abdel-Maqsoud, who made the discovery for Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.
Photograph courtesy SCA