The Ministry of Antiquities confirmed that they have returned an ancient rock belonging to Behbeit El Hagar temple, after it was found being used in markets located in El Mahalla El Kubra to cut meat.
According to a post on the ministry’s Facebook page, the stone was found in a local market, while Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that it was being used at a butcher’s stand to cut meat, and was attached to the ground with cement.
The stone was discovered at the butcher’s stand by an archaeologist by coincidence. It was immediately removed after it was confirmed that it had come from the temple. “The rock was transferred to Behbeit El Hagar temple until investigations into the incident can be completed. That assures it remains safe and in good condition,” said Mahmoud Afifi, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Division at the Ministry of Antiquities.
Studies show that the rock goes back to the Ptolemaic dynasty, during which the temple was built out of granite.
“There are no signs of any inscriptions on the stone,” said Ehab Zaher, the general manager of Behbeit El Hagar’s antiquities.
Zaher explained that, over the years, citizens have been using the temple as a quarry to bring the rocks needed for use in their work and daily activities, or to build their homes or walls, and that’s most likely how the stone ended up in the local market.