Rare Zodiac Imagery Unearthed In Ancient Egyptian Temple


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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Researchers announced Monday the discovery of incredibly rare Zodiac imagery in a 2000-year-old Temple of Esna in Egypt.

An Egyptian-German research team uncovered the paintings and successfully restored them to their near-original, colorful design, according to a press release from the team. The artwork contains complete depictions of all the signs of the zodiac, as well as the planets Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars. Stars and constellations were also discovered within the same general area.

“Representations of the zodiac are very rare in Egyptian temples,” University of Tübingen Professor Christian Leitz said of the discovery. “The zodiac itself is part of Babylonian astronomy and does not appear in Egypt until Ptolemaic times.”

Images of the designs were shared online shortly after they were restored.

It is believed that the Greeks introduced the ancient Egyptians to the zodiac and correlating constellations, the press release noted. “The zodiac was used to decorate private tombs and sarcophagi and was of great importance in astrological texts, such as horoscopes found inscribed on pottery sherds,” Tübingen researcher Dr. Daniel von Recklinghausen noted. “However, it is rare in temple decoration: Apart from Esna, there are only two completely preserved versions left, both from Dendera.”

There are very few differences between the zodiac depictions used by ancient Egyptians and those we use today, the researchers noted. Previous explorations of the temple revealed gorgeous paintings of ancient Egyptian goddesses, LiveScience reported.