Cairo: Egyptian Antiquities Minister Mamdouh Eldamaty announced that two 4,000-year-old reliefs, belonging to Ptolemaic Queen Berenice, were found by Polish archaeologists in the temple of Serapis, on the coast of the Red Sea.
Relief sculpture is any work which projects from but which belongs to the wall, or other type of background surface, on which it is carved.
The pieces date to Ancient Egypt’s so-called Middle Kingdom (2050-1750 BC) and the Second Intermediate Period (1650-1550 BC), epochs long before the temple’s construction date, EFE news agency quoted Eldamaty as saying on Sunday.
The first relief has a cartouche containing the name of the Pharaoh Amenemhat IV — the seventh and next-to-last pharaoh of the 12th dynasty — whose reign was characterised by exploration expeditions for precious turquoise and amethyst, while the second relief, quite damaged, requires restoration.
The archaeologists also found a number of blocks of stone, which served as bases for the temple’s statues and are engraved with lotus and papyrus flowers as well as with writing in Greek.
The seaport of Berenice was established at the beginning of the 3rd century AD by Ptolemy II, who ordered campaigns to the East African coast to capture elephants to be used in battle.