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Restoration works of Esna Temple reveals new celestial imagery

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An archaeological mission involving a joint Egyptian-German team have revealed new celestial imagery during cleaning and restoration works at the Temple of Esna.

The Temple of Esna, also known as the Temple of Khnum, is a temple complex dedicated to the Ancient Egyptian god, Khnum, his consorts Menhit and Nebtu, their son Heka, and the goddess Neith.

The temple was constructed during Ptolemaic times in the Egyptian city of Esna, which during antiquity was known as Latopolis.

During a restoration and re-colouring project first started in 2018, the team have recently uncovered new celestial reliefs on the temple roof.

Image Credit : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

According to the researchers, the roof reliefs depict the goddess Nut and other representations of the celestial constellations. Nut was the goddess of the sky, stars, cosmos, mothers, astronomy, and the universe in the Ancient Egyptian religion.

The relief shows Nut on all fours arching her back upward in a “covering” position that encompasses the semi-sphere of the visible sky observed from the perspective of the earth. Similar to many other depictions from across the Ancient Egyptian world, she is swallowing the sun which travels through her body at night to be reborn at dawn.

Also depicted in the eastern end of the temple is Thoth, the god of the moon, as well as the representation of the solar god Khnum-Ra with four ram heads at the sixth hour of the day.

Previous restoration works in March 2023 found representations of the heavens that depict the signs of the zodiac, several planets such as Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars, and a number of stars and constellations. Also found at the time are images of a snake with a ram’s head, a bird with a crocodile’s head, the tail of a snake and four wings, and depictions of snakes and crocodiles.

Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

Header Image Credit : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

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Archaeology

Archaeologists may have discovered the lost city of Tu’am

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Excavations in the Umm Al Quwain area of the UAE have revealed 6th century ruins that could be the lost city of Tu’am.

The ruins are situated on Al Sinniyah Island, part of a collection of small islands on the western part of the Khor Al Bidiyah peninsula.

Previous studies on the island have revealed a pearling village and monastery, which has been the focus of the latest season of excavations.

Archaeologists have discovered evidence of a larger settlement, with the earliest signs of occupation dating back to the 4th century AD and peaking in the 5th or 6th century.

The team uncovered traces of large semi-urbanised tenement buildings measuring 30 square metres, which are tightly packed around narrow walkways. According to the researchers, the settlement could be the lost city of Tu’am as described in Ancient Arab texts.

Tu’am was a regional capital on the Gulf coast that was famed for its pearl fishing industry and trade in precious gems.

The population went into decline following a plague and regional tensions, and subsequently was abandoned. Mass graves in the vicinity support the historical account of plague, as the skeletal remains show no evidence of trauma or a violent death.

“Our archaeological work has discovered the largest settlement by far ever found on the Gulf coast of the Emirates,” said Prof Tim Power of UAE University.

“And it’s exactly the right period for the city described in the early Islamic geographical sources. It’s clearly a really important place. No one has ever found it.”

Professor Power explained that while they have not found irrefutable evidence (such as an inscription bearing the town’s name), no other major settlements from this period have been discovered on the coast, strengthening the argument that the settlement is Tu’am. “It’s a process of elimination,” he explained.

Header Image Credit : Umm Al Quwain Department of Tourism and Archaeology

Sources : NUAE

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

New findings in North America’s first city

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Cahokia was the largest urban settlement of the Mississippian culture, a mound-building pre-Columbian civilisation that emerged in the Midwestern, Eastern, and South-eastern United States.

Archaeological evidence suggests that the city was founded around AD 1050 along the banks of the Mississippi River, located near present-day St. Louis, Missouri.

The city covered an area between six to nine square miles (notably larger than many contemporary European cities such as London) and was home to up to 20,000 inhabitants at its peak.

Following the tradition of the Mississippian culture, the people of Cahokia constructed large earthen mounds – ranging from raised platforms, conical, and ridge-top designs – involving the movement of 55 million cubic feet of earth over a period that lasted several decades.

The largest mound is known as “Monks Mound,” named after a group of Trappist monks, which rises to a height of 290 metres and was once the tallest building construction in North America.

Image Credit : MattGush – iStock

Archaeologists and students from Saint Louis University (SLU) have recently conducted a series of excavations on the western periphery of the Cahokia Mounds.

The team unearthed 900-year-old ceramics, microdrills, structures, and wall trenches dating from around AD 1100 to 1200, during the Sterling Phase of the Mississippian Period. According to the archaeologists, the finds offer new insights into a crucial period in the chiefdom’s development, coinciding with Cahokia’s rapid population growth.

The excavations follow an aerial survey by SLU and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) to conduct Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) to determine whether further mounds or archaeological features lie within the acres of thick forests and swampy land near the site’s main complex.

Header Image Credit : Alamy

Sources : KSDK

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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