HomeDiscovery of Complete Zodiac on Esna Temple Ceiling

Discovery of Complete Zodiac on Esna Temple Ceiling

A team of restorers from the Supreme Council of Antiquities has successfully discovered for the first time a zodiac scene on the ceiling of the southern hall of the Temple of Esna, as well as scenes depicting gods and animals, during the documentation, restoration, and display of the temple’s original colors project carried out by the joint Egyptian-German archaeological mission between the Egyptian Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage and the University of Tübingen.Mustafa Waziri, the Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, confirmed that these scenes were not present in the previous and only scientific publication of the temple carried out by the French Egyptologist Serge Sauneron, adding new importance to this unique temple and its inscriptions.Waziri added that this discovery will greatly contribute to increasing the number of visitors, Egyptians, and tourists, encouraging them to visit the temple to see these unique astronomical scenes, especially since there are only two examples of a complete representation of the zodiac scene in ancient Egypt, both of them are found in the Temple of Dendera in Qena.Hisham El-Leithy, the head of the mission from the Egyptian side and the head of the central administration of the Egyptian Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage, said that the discovered zodiac scene portrays the twelve zodiacal constellations from Aries to Pisces, in addition to the representation of the outer planets, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars, which represent what is known as the Seven Spheres, as well as some stars or constellations that the ancient Egyptians used to measure time.Christian Leitz, the head of the mission from the German side, also added that the team discovered scenes depicting Egyptian gods, animals, including snakes and crocodiles, and also composite creatures, such as a snake with a ram’s head or a bird with a crocodile head and a snake tail and four wings, in addition to additional inscriptions in black ink with the names of the divine entities.It is worth noting that the project to document, restore and display the Temple of Esna includes documentation, restoration, and cleaning of the walls inside the temple, which date back to the Ptolemaic and Roman periods, and the conservation of the temple’s architectural elements.

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