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Ruins of ancient temple for Zeus unearthed in Sinai

CAIRO (AP) – Egyptian archaeologists unearthed the ruins of a temple for Zeus in the Sinai Peninsula, antiquities authorities said on Monday.

The Tourism and Antiquities Ministry said in a statement the temple ruins were found in the Tell el-Farma archaeological site in north-western Sinai.

Tell el-Farma, also known by its ancient name Pelusium, dates back to the late Pharaonic period and was also used during Greco-Roman and Byzantine times.

Secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri said archaeologists excavated the temple ruins through its entrance gate, where two huge fallen granite columns were visible. The gate was destroyed in a powerful earthquake in ancient times, he said.

Waziri said the ruins were found between the Pelusium Fort and a memorial at the site.

Archaeologists found a set of granite blocks probably used to build a staircase for worshippers to reach the temple.

Excavations at the area date back to early 1900 when French Egyptologist Jean Clédat found ancient Greek inscriptions that showed the existence of the Zeus-Kasios temple but he didn’t unearth it, according to the ministry.

Zeus-Kasios is a conflation of Zeus and Mount Kasios in Syria, where Zeus was once worshipped.

Archaeologists work in the ruins of a temple for Zeus-Kasios at the Tell el-Farma archaeological site in the northwestern corner of the Sinai Peninsula. PHOTO: AP