Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities has announced the discovery of a Roman temple near the oasis of Siwa in the Western Desert, 50km east of the Libyan border and some 230km south of the Mediterranean coast, at the village of al-Haj Ali.
The Egyptian archaeological mission, which made the discovery, dated the temple to the second century reign of the Roman Emperor Antonius Pius.
Ayman al-Ahsmawi, Head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector at the Ministry of Antiquities, described the foundations of the large rectangular limestone temple as extending 40 metres from north to south, and 8.5 metres from east to west. The entrance of the temple was on the north side with two small rooms that lead to a 25m-long hall, then on to the Holy of Holies. The temple was surrounded with an outer wall 71m in length and 56m wide.
According to archaeologist Abdel-Aziz al-Demeiri, head of the mission, the most important discovery was a 5m x 1m limestone stele covered with sunken reliefs of Greek inscriptions and a sun disk surrounded by cobras as decoration. It was this, he said, that revealed the name of the emperor who built the temple. The stele was found broken in three pieces, and was probably situated above the entrance gate. It has been moved to Siwa museum for restoration.
13 May 2018