Relief carved from stone featuring Ptolemy XIII of Egypt and the deity Isis. Representational image.

4,000-Year-Old Relief Carvings and Decorated Stone Blocks Discovered in Temple of Serapis in Egypt

(Read the article on one page)

Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered two 4,000-year-old reliefs in the Temple of Serapis on the Red Sea. The Egyptian Antiquities Minister Mamdouh Eldamaty announced last week that discoveries also included blocks of stone engraved with a goddess and a bounty of flowers.

A team of Polish archaeologists found the two raised wall carvings in a Temple of Serapis which once belonged to the Ptolemaic Queen Berenice.

According to The Siasat Daily , the reliefs date to the Middle Kingdom (2050-1750 BC) and the Second Intermediate Period (1650-1550 BC), eras long before the temple’s actual construction date, suggesting they were brought in later.

ZeeNews reports, “The first relief has a cartouche containing the name of the Pharaoh Amenemhat IV - the seventh and next-to-last pharaoh of the 12th Dynasty - whose reign was characterized by exploration expeditions for precious turquoise and amethyst, while the second relief, quite damaged, requires restoration.”

The team of archaeologists at the temple also recovered several stone blocks which were originally bases for statuary. The stones are said to be highly decorated and engraved with lotus and papyrus flowers, a goddess image, and writing in Greek.

Partial titulary of pharaoh Amenemhat IV (end 12th Dynasty) on a relief from the temple of Medinet Maadi, Faiyum. Representational image.

Partial titulary of pharaoh Amenemhat IV (end 12th Dynasty) on a relief from the temple of Medinet Maadi, Faiyum. Representational image. ( CC BY-SA 2.0 )

Serapis was a Greco-Egyptian god and patron of Alexandria who was often depicted as a Greek man dressed in Egyptian clothing; a symbol of unity between Greeks and Egyptians under Ptolmey I in the third century BC. Even his name was a blend of the Egyptian Osiris and the Apis bull (Osiris + Apis = Oserapis/Sarapis). He represented abundance and resurrection.

Head of Serapis, from a 12-foot statue found off the coast of Alexandria.

Head of Serapis, from a 12-foot statue found off the coast of Alexandria. ( CC BY 3.0 )

Temples devoted to Serapis were called serapeum, and the cults of Serapis flourished under the Ptolemaic kings who ruled ancient Egypt. The grandest serapeum was said to be in Alexandria.

The remains of the ancient site of the Temple complex of Sarapis at Alexandria. It once included the temple, a library, lecture rooms, and smaller shrines but after many reconstructions and conflict over the site it is mostly ground level ruins.

The remains of the ancient site of the Temple complex of Sarapis at Alexandria. It once included the temple, a library, lecture rooms, and smaller shrines but after many reconstructions and conflict over the site it is mostly ground level ruins.  (Iris Fernandez/ CC BY 2.0 )

The establishment of the cult and temples of Serapis were one of many symbols of Ptolemaic legitimization in ancient Egypt. The Pharos of Alexandria was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and the most famous lighthouse in antiquity. The incredible feat of ancient engineering stood at an impressive height of 130 meters (430ft) until it was destroyed by an earthquakes in the 14 th century AD.

Egyptian authorities have this year approved plans to rebuild the towering monument.

Featured Image: Relief carved from stone featuring Ptolemy XIII of Egypt and the deity Isis. Representational image.  ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )

By Liz Leafloor

Comments

I think the date of 4,000 years is too old. Since Serapis was a Greek invention (trying to combine Greek and Egyptian) and Alexander defeated Egypt in the 300’s BCE 3,000 years would be more accurate. Unless the temple was converted from an older building  

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Top New Stories

The fall of Icarus, circa 1635.
Daedalus, the legendary inventor of ancient Greek myth, joined the court of Minos, the ruler of Crete, as the king's star engineer. Daedalus was credited with creating myriad marvels, from carpenter's tools to animated statues. It was Daedalus who designed and built the bewildering Cretan Labyrinth as a prison for Minos' monstrous son, the Minotaur. Every year, the Athenians were compelled to send fourteen young men and women to be sacrificed to the cannibal with the bull's head.

Myths & Legends

The Smelliest Women of Ancient Greece: Jason and the Argonauts Get Fragrant
We all know Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love and beauty, made sure that she was worshipped by punishing those who ignored her altars. One brief appearance of this wrath in the tale of Jason and the Argonauts turned into a particularly fragrant episode.

Ancient Places

Inside one of the tunnels under Valetta, Malta.
Hordes of tourists visit the Mediterranean island of Malta each year to enjoy the above ground attractions the country has to offer such as breath-taking sandy beaches, historical buildings, and traditional cuisine. Yet, there is also a subterranean world hidden beneath the island’s surface. These are the rumored secret tunnels of Malta.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article