An Egyptian archaeological team have found a chapel belonging to an Egyptian Pharaoh from the 11th Dynasty in the Egyptian city of Sohag. This chapel belonged to King Mentuhotep II, who reigned for 51 years, from around 2046 BCE to 1995 BCE. This chapel was unearthed following an investigation by Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities and Heritage and Egyptian based magazine Luxor Times after an investigation was launched to find out the cause of a collapse in the ground in the Arabet Abydos area. The temple was found as a result of people illegally excavating in the area in hopes of finding antiquities to sell, which caused the collapse in the road.
King Mentuhotep II was the son of Intef III. He ruled Egypt for 51 years, according to the Turin Canon. He is considered to be the first ruler of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt, a term given to the period in Egyptian history between 2000 BC and 1700 BC. The transition from the Old Kingdom to the Middle Kingdom was of huge importance as the Old Kingdom collapsed and was divided into several regions under rulers who wanted absolute power over Egypt. Mentuhotep II took the Theban throne and in his fourteenth year led a war on Herakleopolis, which he won with ease. He defeated the other rulers of the 10th Dynasty, and reunited Egypt in his 39th year, beginning the 11th Dynasty. Mentuhotep however thought he descended from various gods. His vast temple had inscriptions and artwork on the wall that showed his relationship with the gods. The chapel found was different than these temples but the walls were inscribed with the same artwork as his temples. It was actually in the area where King Seti’s temple is located that scientists found the underground chapel.
When the road collapsed, the MAH sent a team out to the site to see if they could find any artifacts there before the road was repaired. What they found was rare gem. Mentuhotep II built many monuments, but finding one belonging to the great Egyptian ruler is actually very rare. The chapel, made of limestone, was in good condition when found and is 150 metres north of the temple of King Seti. The hieroglyphic text on the wall of the chapel is dedicated to the Egyptian god Osiris, after his unification with the local god of Sohag, Khenti-Amenty. It was during Mentuhotep’s reign that this god was more prominent, which led the researchers to believe that the temple belonged to him.
Unfortunately the temple is currently in need of some repairs. A waste pipe from a house nearby that was built in the 1930’s has caused some damage to the chapel. Water has eroded some parts of the wall, including the engravings. The MAH remarks that this discovery is very important in revealing more about the history of King Mentuhotep II, and of Egypt during his reign.