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Master of Scaremonies
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12th century BC carving may hold the secret of Karnak Temple

By Ahmed Maged
First Published: December 19, 2006

The stone consists of two parts: the upper part depicts King Set Nakhat lying prostrate with the blue crown on his head

CAIRO: Egypt announced Sunday the discovery of a carving dating back to the 12th century BC which could hold the key to valuable information on Karnak Temple, the largest ancient
religious site in the world.

According to an Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) statement, the stone carving was found during excavations at the Kibash Alley that links the Karnak with the Luxor Temple.

Egyptian Culture Minister Farouk Hosni reportedly pointed out to the significance of the find which it reveals a lot of new facts about the 20th dynasty.

Dr Zahi Hawas, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities explained that the large quartzite stone, carved with 17 lines of hieroglyphics, highlights the achievements of high priest Bak En Khonso and his contributions to the grand hall at Karnak.

Hawas told reporters that the stone consists of two parts: the upper part depicts King Set Nakhat lying prostrate with the blue crown on his head. He offers the symbol of justice to the supreme deity Amon Ra, that appears sitting on his throne while holding with his left hand
Alwast - emblem of the city of Thebes - and in his right, the key of life.

Behind Amon Ra Goddess Mot - one of Thebes' Trinity that consists of Amon, Mot and son Khanso - is depicted raising her left hand, a gesture meant to bestow protection on the king, Hawas added.

Seventeen lines of hieroglyphic text are carved on the lower part of the stone, followed by an illustration of chief Amon priest Bak En Khonso, seen in a worshipping posture and in full official priest attire.

"This is very important because we never knew anything about Bak En Khonso, the second most important man after the king," said Zahi Hawass.

He noted: "This is going to reconstruct history and will enrich our understanding of Karnak."

Bak En Khonso lived during the reign of King Setnakhte, founder of Egypt's Twentieth Dynasty.

A high priest was considered to be the most important man after the king, performing duties, religious rituals and offerings on his behalf.

Karnak Temple in the southern city of Luxor is the largest ancient religious site in the world.
Of its four main parts, only one is accessible to tourists.

"There are still so many treasures underground," said Hawass, who believes that 70 percent of Egypt's antiquities are yet to be discovered.

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