The Temple of Ceremonies Awaits Fate
By Amargi Hillier
(Beir Hebit) In Beir Hebit lies the ruins of the Temple of Ceremonies over an area of five feddans. The temple was used for 300 years as ceremonial grounds during the 30th Dynasty. Through the glyphs carved on the walls of this ceremonial structure, many secrets were unraveled concerning Egypt at that time including its methods of prayer. Still all the secrets are not told since a great deal of discovery still lies in the tombs of the priests, which date back to 2,200 years. These tombs remain virgin till this day. The House of Ceremonies was discovered only 30 years ago.
The temple is located in the Gharbeya Governate, in the Beir Hebit near the Bahbeeb El-Hegira village. The temple was erected in 780 BC and was presented to worship Osiris, Isis and Horus. The walls are made from pink granite and have been carved meticulously to tell the stories of the sacrifices made to the gods. Also inscribed on one walls is the name of the first King of the 30th Dynasty, Noktanio. Ptelomic architecture was added to the temple during the rein of Ptelomis I and II.
What is puzzling in the issue of the temple is that in the span of 30 years there has been very little progress in its study and restoration. The temple is fairly complete, including, for example, the roof and walls. Yet only the glyphs have been recorded and the scattered blocks have been numbered and documented. No progress after that. The French Institute of Antiquities has also recorded some pieces of the temple but again, no progress after that. This is disappointing since the temple is as important and beautiful as the temples of Nubia.
Requests were made to UNESCO to save the building blocks of the temple from natural erosion. But for some reason there was no response. What seems to be the cause of this negligence is that the Cairo and Upper Egypt antiquities are receiving all the attention while very little is given to antiquities in other governorates.
Dr. Gaballah Ali Gaballah says that the Supreme Council for Antiquities (SCA) is greatly concerned about the temple. There were requests to the international organizations for financial aid in the restoration of this temple and exploration the tombs. Dr. Gaballah aims to first remove an obstacle that is hindering progress in the excavation. This obstacle is the burial ground of the local modern villagers in the area. The burial ground is built on top of the ancient burial ground and the locals refuse to relocate these grounds. Another obstacle is that the temple will cost a fortune to restore as most of it is in rubble. However the collapse of the temple was not due to negligence but rather an earthquake that occurred during the time of ancient Egyptians.
Many antiquity officials believe the Temple of Beir Hebit is an important antiquity and should not be neglected. There are many tombs of priests that may hold many secrets to mummification and burial ceremonies. There are glyphs telling stories of the crowning of Kings. The temple has been a ceremonial ground for so long that it offers great possibility that it could yield many new secrets on the traditions of ancient Egyptians at that time. More so since the temple was used by two ruling bodies.
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