Archaeologists uncover chapel of King Mentuhotep II

Archaeologists from the Ministry of Antiquities and Heritage (MAH) in Egypt made a significant discovery when they unearthed an ancient Egyptian chapel carved out of limestone, which dates back to the 11th Dynasty (2125-1985 BC), according to a news report in Ahram Online. Initial analyses of the hieroglyphic text engraved on the chapel wall suggests that it belongs to King Mentuhotep II, in honour of the god Osiris after his unification with the local god of the region, Khenti-Amenty. The finding was made at the Arabet Abydos area in Sohag, 150 metres north of the large temple of King Seti I. Although generally in a well-preserved state, some of the engravings in the chapel had been damaged by subterranean water and researchers are now working to restore the ancient building. “It is a very important discovery that will reveal more of the history of King Mentuhotep II,” Minister of Antiquties and Heritage Mamdouh El-Damaty told Ahram Online.

King Mentuhotep II reigned from around 2046 BC for a period of 51 years.  Around his 39th year on the throne he reunited Egypt thus ending the First Intermediary Period. Consequently, he is considered the first pharaoh of the Middle Kingdom. When he ascended the Theban throne, Mentuhotep II inherited the vast land conquered by his predecessors from the first cataract in the south to Abydos and Tjebu in the north. The famous tomb of the warriors at Deir el-Bahari discovered in the 1920s, contained the linen-wrapped, unmummified bodies of 60 soldiers all killed in battle, their shroud bearing Mentuhotep II’s cartouche. Due to its proximity to the Theban royal tombs, the tomb of the warriors is believed to be that of heroes who died during the conflict between the Pharaoh and his foes to the north. During his reign, Mentuhotep II commanded the construction of many temples in Upper Egypt, however, few survive to this day. The latest discovery is made significant by the fact that monuments belonging to Mentuhotep II are very rare in Abydos, despite the fact that he commissioned the building of several religious edifices in the region in an attempt to bolster his power in the ancient city.

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