New archaeological find unearthed in Luxor under historic palace

CAIRO – Egypt announced on February 22 the discovery of new archaeological treasures under the destroyed historic palace of Tawfiq Pasha Andraos in the governorate of Luxor, in the far south of the country. A two-storey house and a 4-meter-deep ancient oven dating back to Roman times have been unearthed under the palace.

Previous research and excavations had uncovered a Roman temple and bronze Roman coins under the palace, which was demolished by the government in August 2021.

The Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mostafa Waziri, said in press releases on February 24 that the Egyptian archaeological mission discovered the antiquities as part of the excavation works under the demolished palace.

The 4 meter deep and 1.90 meter wide furnace used to smelt metals is the first discovery of its kind in Upper Egypt.

Waziri said the excavations also found parts of a two-storey house with stairs and walls dating back to Roman times, and added that reinforcement operations are underway to reach more rooms in the house. .

Ongoing excavations in the area have found a rare plaque depicting scenes of King Thutmose IV and King Amenhotep II providing incense and pouring water before the enthroned deity Amun.

Archaeologists also found vessels used for offerings, a plaque from the Ptolemaic period belonging to King Ptolemy III, a granite bowl and a large amount of wheat and lentils. An offering table was also discovered which would have served as an entrance to a shrine or temple.

Tawfiq Pasha Andraos Palace, which was built in 1897 behind Luxor Temple and facing the Nile, has historical value of its own, which explains the controversy over the government’s decision to demolish it on August 25, 2021.

According to historians, the owner of the palace, Tawfiq Andraos, was a deputy of Luxor, and many national figures were hosted in this palace, including Saad Zaghloul, leader of the 1919 revolution. The artifacts of the palace were transferred there. 20 years in an archaeological warehouse.

Wassim al-Sisi, an Egyptologist and archaeologist, told Al-Monitor that the archaeological discovery in Luxor is proof that the Egyptian land is home to many antiquities and secrets, and what is unearthed is only a very small part of it. . He said there is still a lot to discover, especially in Luxor.

While Sisi said the Egyptian archaeological mission had recently made important discoveries, he added that some were made individually, while others were in cooperation with international missions.

MP Tamer Abdel Qader, a member of the parliamentary committee for culture, antiquities and information, told Al-Monitor that the recent archaeological discovery will help bring Luxor back to the top of tourist attractions and have a positive economic return. This, he added, is especially true given the significant drop in tourism following the coronavirus outbreak.

He added that the archaeological discovery is the culmination of concerted efforts by the state through the Supreme Council of Antiquities and is part of the commitment to expand archaeological research across the country.

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