Archaeologists have discovered a number of tools that ancient Egyptians used in the ritual worship of the goddess Hathor. The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities found the objects in the ancient city of Buto in Kafr El-Sheikh province, north of Cairo, Angy Essam reports for Egypt Today.
During an excavation of a site known as Tell El Fara'in, or the Hill of the Pharaohs, the team found part of a limestone pillar in the form of Hathor together with a well used for sacred water, an offering holder and the remains of gold scales used for gilding other objects. They also found incense burners made of tin-glazed faience pottery, including one decorated with the falcon head of the god Horus.
“It is one of the important discoveries because it includes the tools that were actually used in performing the daily religious rituals for goddess Hathor,” Mostafa Waziri, head of the ministry's Supreme Council of Antiquities, says in a statement, according to Xinhua News Agency.
The find also included small clay statues of the goddess Taweret, who is associated with childbirth, and several other works of art. Ivory reliefs show scenes from daily life, including women carrying offerings, as well as images of birds, animals and plants. A partially preserved painting depicts a king performing rituals at the temple.
Per Mena’s Kamal Tabikha, the temple complex also held a bathing room with a bathtub, a small basin, and a vessel used for heating water. The bath was equipped with a simple plumbing system for carrying fresh water in and removing waste water.
The researchers also found hieroglyphic inscriptions, Nevine El-Aref reports for Ahram Online. The writing includes the five titles of King Psamtik I, who ruled from 664 to 610 B.C. during the 26th dynasty, as well as the names of two other kings from that dynasty, Waha Ip-Ra and Ahmose II.
Also among the finds is a pure gold eye of Ra, also known as an eye of Horus, or Ujat. Hathor was sometimes said to be Ra’s eye, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. Often taking the form of a cow, Hathor first appeared in the third millennium B.C. Many Egyptian communities had cults of Hathor. In various places and times, she was associated with fertility and love, with beauty, with the land of the dead and even with minerals such as turquoise. Another discovery at the site was a “maternity chair,” appropriate to Hathor’s status as a fertility goddess.
The city of Buto was the capital of Lower Egypt, the northern part of the modern-day nation, before it became unified with Upper Egypt around 3100 B.C. The artifacts found at the Hill of the Pharaohs are much more recent. Previous archaeological work at the site found that objects discovered there dated to between 664 and 332 B.C., as Callum Paton reported for Newsweek in 2018.