Skip to main content

Researchers unearth 2,000 ram heads in Egypt temple

More than 2,000 mummified sheep heads had been left as offerings in a temple to the pharaoh Ramses II
— Cairo (AFP)

Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered more than 2,000 ancient mummified sheep heads left as offerings in a temple to the pharaoh Ramses II, the tourism and antiquities ministry said Sunday.

Mummies of dogs, goats, cows, gazelles and mongooses were also exhumed by a team of US archaeologists from New York University at Abydos, a site in southern Egypt famous for its temples and tombs.

Sameh Iskandar, head of the American mission, said the ram heads were "offerings" indicating "a cult to Ramses II celebrated 1,000 years after his death".

Ramses II reigned over Egypt for nearly seven decades, from 1304 to 1237 BC.

The findings indicate 'a cult to Ramses II celebrated 1,000 years after his death,' a researcher says

Mostafa Waziri, head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the finds will help people know more about the temple of Ramses II and the activities which took place there from its construction between 2374 and 2140 BC and the Ptolemaic period, from 323 to 30 BC.

As well as the remains of mummified animals, archaeologists discovered the remains of a palace with five-metre-thick (16 foot) walls dating to some 4,000 years ago.

They also found several statues, papyri, remains of ancient trees, leather clothes and shoes.

Abydos, which lies some 435 kilometres (270 miles) on the Nile river south of Cairo, is famed for its temples such as that of Seti I, as well as its necropolises.

Archaeologists also found the remains of a palace, statues and papyri at the Abydos site

Cairo regularly announces new archeological discoveries, which some suggest are made more for political and economic impact than their scientific or historic importance.

Egypt, home to some 105 million people, is mired in an economic crisis and relies on tourism for 10 precent of GPD, employing two million people.

Cairo hopes to revive tourism by targeting 30 million visitors a year by 2028, compared to 13 million before the coronavirus pandemic.

Critics, however, point to the dilapidated state of some archaeological sites and museums.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial