More than 2,000 rams’ heads were discovered by archaeologists at an ancient temple site dedicated to Ramses II, left there a millennium after the Egyptian pharaoh’s rule, officials say.
The discovery was made by a team of archaeologists with New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW) in the ancient city of Abydos, one of Egypt’s richest archaeological sites, CBS News reported.
“We came across some random pieces of skulls first,” Dr. Sameh Iskander, head of the ISAW mission, told the outlet. “We didn’t know what they were, but as we continued our excavation and exploration, all of sudden we found a whole area filled with ram skulls,” Iskander continued. (RELATED: Rare Zodiac Imagery Unearthed In Ancient Egyptian Temple)
Archaeologists have announced the discovery of more than 2,000 rams’ heads at the temple of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II. https://t.co/x5iWpMNF8r
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 28, 2023
The ram skulls, some of them still mummified, are believed to be offerings made to the temple of Ramses II during the Ptolemaic period, 1,000 years after the famous ruler’s death, which indicated he was “still revered,” Iskander told the outlet. Rather than an accumulation over a long period of time, Iskander believes the skulls were brought from another place and placed in the temple all at once.
“It is significant because this place where they ended up is not just any place in the temple, so they were brought there for a reason. They were not just dumped in the desert but were inside this revered domain of the temple,” he added, calling the large number,”surprising even for Egyptologists.”
In addition to the skulls, archaeologists uncovered a large mudbrick structure dating back 4,200 years with walls about 16 feet thick, though officials are not sure what purpose it served, the outlet stated.
“This wall was built for something, it was at least 30 feet high.” Iskander said. “We don’t know exactly what this wall is. It’s possible that this was a wall of the antient Abydos, which was never found. Could it be something else? Maybe, that’s what we are working on now.”
Archaeologists also uncovered papyrus, leather artifacts and statues as well as a bronze bell during the excavation, the outlet stated.