On April 25th, The Tourism and Antiquities Ministry in Egypt announced the discovery of a temple in the Sinai Peninsula. Archeologists believe the temple is dedicated to Zeus Kasios. Archeologists found the temple in the Tell el-Farma archaeological site in northwestern Sinai.
History of the Site
The Tell el-Farma site was occupied from about the late Pharaonic period, which ended in 332 BC, until the much more recent Christian and Islamic periods. Excavations at the site have been ongoing since 1900. French Egyptologist Jean Clédat had originally found the Greek writing that showed that a temple may have been present. He was unable to locate or unearth the temple.
Now that archeologists have excavated the temple, they believe that a great earthquake destroyed the gates to the temple. These gates are where archeologists were finally able to enter the temple. Large granite slabs show where worshippers might have climbed to the temple.
Worshippers used the site for a long while. There’s evidence that Emperor Hadrian renovated the temple at one point.
Archeologists believe that the temple allowed worshippers in Egypt to worship Zeus Kasios. Zeus Kasios is a specific version of Zeus that was worshipped only in this area. There are no references to Zeus Kasios found in Greece. In fact, it’s likely that this version wasn’t worshipped until the Ptolemaic period in Egypt. For a great overview of Zeus Kasios, check out the paper written by Alexandra Diez de Olivera on this topic. If you’re having problems with the link, try here:
The cult was well known long before the temple was found. Finding the temple is a significant achievement. It is likely the center of the cult of Zeus Kaisos. The earthquake that destroyed the gates of the temple may have also flooded the region.
Finding the temple is a great achievement by the team at Tell el-Farma, and I look forward to seeing more of this great temple.
Don’t forget to like and subscribe!
Want to learn more about ancient traditions? Check out our article on Egg Painting!