Egypt announces find of ancient cat goddess temple

January 19, 2010 By HAMZA HENDAWI , Associated Press Writer
This undated photo released Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010, by Egypt's supreme council of antiquities shows the ancient cat-goddess Bastet found amongst the temple's ruins in the Kom el-Dekkah area of the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria. Egypt says its archaeologists have unearthed a Ptolemic temple dating back more than 2,000 years and which may have been dedicated to the ancient cat-goddess Bastet. (AP Photo/EGYPT'S SUPREME COUNCIL OF ANTIQUITIES, HO) ** EDITORIAL USE ONLY, NO SALES

(AP) -- Archaeologists have unearthed a 2,000-year-old temple that may have been dedicated to the ancient Egyptian cat goddess, Bastet, the Supreme Council of Antiquities said Tuesday.

The ruins of the Ptolemaic-era temple were discovered by Egyptian in the heart of the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, founded by Alexander the Great in the 4th century B.C.

The city was the seat of the Greek-speaking Ptolemaic Dynasty, which ruled over Egypt for 300 years until the suicide of Queen Cleopatra.

The statement said the temple was thought to belong to Queen Berenice, wife of King Ptolemy III who ruled in the 3rd century B.C.

Mohammed Abdel-Maqsood, the Egyptian archaeologist who led the excavation team, said the discovery may be the first trace of the long-sought location of Alexandria's royal quarter.

The large number of statues depicting Bastet found in the ruins, he said, suggested that this may be the first Ptolemaic-era temple dedicated to the cat goddess to be discovered in Alexandria.

This would indicate that the worship of the ancient Egyptian cat-goddess continued during the later, Greek-influenced, Ptolemaic period, he said.

Statues of other ancient Egyptian deities were also found in the ruins, he added.

Zahi Hawass, Egypt's chief archaeologist, said the temple may have been used in later times as a quarry as evidenced by the large number of missing stone blocks.

Modern Alexandria was built squarely on top of the ruins of the classical-era city and many of its great temples, palaces and libraries remain undiscovered.

The was found in the Kom el-Dekkah neighborhood near the city's main train station and home to a Roman-era amphitheater and well preserved mosaics.

Explore further: 3,400-year-old Egyptian statue is found


Related Stories

3,400-year-old Egyptian statue is found

January 25, 2006

Johns Hopkins archaeologists in Egypt have unearthed a life-sized, 3,400-year-old statue of one of the queens of the powerful king Amenhotep III.

Egypt to search 3 sites for Cleopatra's tomb

April 15, 2009

(AP) -- Archaeologists will begin excavating sites in Egypt next week in an attempt to solve a mystery that has stymied historians for hundreds of years: Where is the final resting place of doomed lovers Cleopatra and Mark ...

New ancient Egypt temples discovered in Sinai

April 21, 2009

(AP) -- Archaeologists exploring an old military road in the Sinai have unearthed four new temples amidst the 3,000-year-old remains of an ancient fortified city that could have been used to impress foreign delegations visiting ...

Israeli archaeologists discover ancient quarry

July 6, 2009

(AP) -- Israeli archaeologists have uncovered an ancient quarry where they believe King Herod extracted stones for the construction of the Jewish Temple 2,000 years ago, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Monday. The ...

Monument lifted from Cleopatra's underwater city

December 17, 2009

(AP) -- Archaeologists on Thursday hoisted a 9-ton temple pylon from the waters of the Mediterranean that was part of the palace complex of the fabled Cleopatra before it became submerged for centuries in the harbor of Alexandria.

Recommended for you

How much for that Nobel prize in the window?

October 3, 2015

No need to make peace in the Middle East, resolve one of science's great mysteries or pen a masterpiece: the easiest way to get yourself a Nobel prize may be to buy one.

Search for Egypt's Nefertiti gains new momentum (Update)

September 29, 2015

The search for ancient Egypt's Queen Nefertiti in an alleged hidden chamber in King Tut's tomb gained new momentum as Egypt's Antiquities Minister said Tuesday he is now more convinced a queen's tomb may lay hidden behind ...

New finds of a living fossil

October 2, 2015

The coelacanth fish, found today in the Indian Ocean, is often called a 'living fossil' because its last ancestors existed about 70 million years ago and it has survived into the present - but without leaving any fossil remains ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jan 21, 2010
Vermin were estimated to consume 5%+ of grain stores. Good reason to have cats!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.