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'Major find' as long lost Egyptian sun temple unearthed


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For some relevant background on sun temples, Niuserre, maps, etc. here's an article (written before this recent discovery):

http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/suntemples.htm

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Most of the 5th Dynasty pharaohs, including six of the first seven, uniquely built sun temples. It reflected a significant change in Egyptian religion. This trend only died out at the end of the dynasty. They were all obviously dedicated to the sun god Re, who inspired much of the rest of these king's religious activities. During this period, Re became the closest equivalent to an Egyptian "state" god. Like pyramid complexes these sun temples had their own agricultural land, received donations on festival days, and had their own temple personnel We know of six such temples because we have found their names written in inscriptions, but alas, only two have actually been discovered. The two we do know of are the sun temples of Niuserre and Userkaf, of which that of Niuserre is the best preserved. However, preserved in this case only implies that we can make out some of its structure from the ruins.

An interesting note should be made at this point. Some Egyptologist now believe that the other "lost" temples may never have existed. Rather, they speculate that the kings who added and built on the two known temples may have, in effect, usurped them, providing the temples with new names after their improvements.

We'll see how this all pans out and if adjustments will be made to speculation about the other sun temples.

Edited by Wistman
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I'll quote from the article

Quote

Dr Massimiliano Nuzzolo, assistant professor of Egyptology at the Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, focused on told The Telegraph: 'We knew that there was something below the stone temple of Nyuserre.

 
Now I'll quote Miroslav Verner from his "Abusir, The Necropolis of the Sons of the Sun", originally published in 2002, page 249.
 
Quote

Evidence of archaeological finds revealed in Nyuserre's sun temple is significantly augmented by fragments of the 'founding inscription' discovered in the valley temple of the monument. Though incomplete, the inscription gives us good grounds for thinking, for example, that the monument was originally built of mudbrick and wood, and, only after a certain time, the king then ordered it to be rebuilt in stone

Note that Verner says "good grounds", and does not definintively state that the mudbrick older temple was built by Nyuserre, and posits the question that if not him, then could it have been built by one of his predecessors, either Sahure or Raneferef. Perhaps this new excavation might answer that question, though Verner does give a good reason for a sun temple at that specific site to be connected to Nyuserre and nobody else, and that is site lines to Heliopolis. The pyramids of his predecessors are "connected" to Heliopolis, but Nyuserre's is not, but this sun temple is, and Verner suggests that the sun temple then forms a link from Heliopolis to Nyuserre's pyramid.

So despite the wording of the article, this is not a new find, and it's a pity that Verner is not credited with being the first to say that there was a mudbrick temple under the existing stone one, Shesep-ib-re, "Ra's delight", but it may shed more light on exactly who built the original temple, but I would still think that it was Nyuserre.

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Here's a short (6:02) video from Ancient Architects on the sun temples and this finding, posted yesterday:

 

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