Illegal excavation uncovers Pharaonic temple ruins

Cairo, Oct 30: A clandestine excavation in a rural town, south of Egypt's capital Cairo, has uncovered artifacts from a Pharaonic temple dating back to more than 3,500 years ago, said Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh al-Damati.

In a statement on Wednesday, the minister indicated that the discovery was made in the town of Badrashin, about 30 km southwest of Cairo, where seven people involved in the illegal dig have been arrested.

Among the pieces found were stone blocks with hieroglyphic inscriptions dating back to the New Kingdom period (1539-1075 B.C.), some of which correspond to the reign of the Pharaoh Thutmose III (1490-1436 B.C.).

Seven murals, the remains of columns and a 2.5-metre-high statue, carved in pink granite, were also found. The authorities collected the pieces from the excavation site after pumping out the groundwater that flooded it to a depth of nine metres.

Meanwhile, the head of the Tourism and Antiquities Police said wetsuits and oxygen tanks used to extract the objects were seized from the detainees.

In Egypt, clandestine excavations of ancient ruins or treasures are relatively frequent, especially near or in archaeological sites.


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