Egypt Discovers Ancient Cat God Temple

Queen's site had lots of statues dedicated to the feline goddess Bastet
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 19, 2010 2:04 PM CST
This undated photo released today by Egypt's supreme council of antiquities shows the remains of Ptolemy temple unearthed in the Kom el-Dekkah area of Alexandria.   (AP Photo/EGYPT'S SUPERME COUNCIL OF ANTIQUITIES, HO)
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(Newser) – Archaeologists have unearthed a 2,000-year-old temple that appears to have been dedicated to the Egyptian cat goddess, Bastet. The team unearthed a large collection of statues depicting Bastet, suggesting that worship of the feline goddess continued longer than previously thought. The temple belonged to Queen Berenike, the wife of Ptoltemy III, who ruled in the 3rd century BC.

The ruins, discovered in the heart of the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, also may be the first trace of the long-sought location of the ancient city's royal quarters. The large number of Bastet statues suggests that worship of the goddess continued after the decline of the pharaohs and into the later Greek-influenced Ptolemaic period.

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