A temple from the reign of King Ptolemy IV (221 – 204 B.C.) was discovered during sewer construction in the village of Kom Shaqao in the Sohag Governorate of Upper Egypt. The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities announced on its Facebook page that crews drilling down to install new sewage pipes for the village stumbled on the remains of an ancient wall on Sunday, September 29th. Drilling ceased immediately and archaeologists were called in to examine the find.
According to the head of the Central Department for Antiquities of Egypt, Mohamed Abdel Badie, the mission then started work in the area south of the wall discovered during the drainage project.
The expedition unearthed the southwestern corner of the temple and the rest of the wall heading from north to south. These ruins featured inscriptions of the ancient Egyptian god Habi accompanied by many different animals, and the remains of texts containing Ptolemy IV’s name, according to Badei.
Another limestone wall heading westward was also found, covered with limestone slabs.
Kom Shaqao was the capital of the tenth region of Upper Egypt, west of the city of Tama, which was once called Wagit. The oldest mention of Wagit was in the Fourth Dynasty.
Located about 300 miles south of Cairo, today this area of the Nile Valley is largely rural and agricultural with high rates of poverty. There has been a recent uptick in infrastructure investment like road construction (hence the sewage project), but its archaeological history is still very much underexplored. Even the capital city of Sohag, one of the oldest cities in Egypt, has very few visitable archaeological sites. The Sohag National Museum, the first and only one of its kind in Upper Egypt, just opened last year. The discovery of the Ptolemaic temple, therefore, is not just archaeologically significant, but also has important potential as a source of much-needed tourist revenues.