The experts made what is being dubbed as “one of the most important discoveries in 50 years” in Abu Gorab, south of Cairo. They found one of the four “lost Sun temples” erected by the pharaohs of the fifth dynasty to complement their pyramids. These magnificent monuments were said to have been constructed to make the pharaoh a god while still alive.
But while experts believe six were built by different pharaohs, only two have ever been found by modern archaeologists – now one of those mysteries has finally been solved, according to Dr Massimiliano Nuzzolo.
The assistant professor of Egyptology at the Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, said: “Each king wanted a pyramid for achieving his resurrection but this was not enough for the fifth dynasty kings.
“They wanted something more. The king built [a Sun temple] to turn himself into a god. The Sun god.”
Ra, the Sun god, was the most powerful god in ancient Egypt and the focal point of many elaborate rituals that were performed both on the living and dead.
These grant structures were built around a tall, pyramid-like obelisk that aligned perfectly with the east-west axis of the Sun.
Dr Nuzzolo focused on one of the already known Sun temples, which was built in Abu Goab by the king Nyuserre, who ruled for about 30 years in the 25th century BC.
But after carefully digging under its shattered remains, he found an older base made of mud bricks, indicating that a building previously existed at the site.
However, the experts had no idea what it was.
Experts then discovered the two-foot-deep base of a white limestone pillar which they suggested the original structure was “quite impressive”.
Dr Nuzzolo said: “We knew that there was something below the stone temple of Nyuserre, but we don’t know if it is just another building phase of the same temple or if it is a new temple.
“Actually, the fact that there is such a huge, monumental entrance would point to a new building.
“So, why not another Sun temple, one of the missing Sun temples?”
But then an array of beer jars filled with mud were uncovered providing the final proof the old site was a temple.
The experts believe they were an offering reserved for the most sacred places.
Dr Nuzzolo added: “I have now many proofs that what we are excavating here is one of the lost Sun temples,”
What remains a mystery though is who the Sun temple was built for and when.
The Fifth Dynasty pharaohs reigned for about 150 years from the early 25th century BC to the mid 24th century BC.
Only a small number of rulers had Sun temples created in the name of the Sun god Ra on the west bank of the Nile.
The discovery of the third Sun temple was shown as part of Lost Treasures of Egypt on National Geographic.