Prehistoric cult centre discovered in Egyptian desert

Archaeologists discovered megalithic structures, barrows and unusual stone structures dating back 5000 years in the Berget el-Sheb are of Western Desert in Egypt.

The ritual centre (by Przemysław Bobrowski & Maciej Jórdeczka)

Archaeologists believe that around 5000 years ago the climatic conditions on the Western Desert were different, allowing for breeding animals. Pastoral communities were thriving around seasonal lakes and rivers. The archaeological sites were uncovered South of Nabta Playa, a large palaeolake, which is known for remains of numerous nomadic settlements and a ceremonial centre around it, dating back to between 7000-3500. The newly discovered centre at Berget el-Sheb dates back 3000 BC, and is located 150 kilometres West of Abu Simbel by the Nile river.

Close-up of the megalithic structure (by Przemysław Bobrowski & Maciej Jórdeczka)

The structures at the site were gathered around a presently non-existing lake. They consist of burrow, various stone structures, and remains of megaliths. Archaeologists report that the surrounding area is covered with remains of hearths, but no remains of settlements, tools, and utility buildings were found. It is believed that the discovered structures formed a ritual certain where unknown ceremonies were carried out. Some of the structures, mainly piles of vertical stones, and burrows, are said to resemble the ones from Nabta Playa. An unusual find was a structure resembling a container or a crate, made of vertical slabs. No remains of any kind or artefacts were discovered inside it. At one of the burrows surrounding the lake, archaeologists discovered remains of a child. These discoveries indicate that the Neolithic pastoral communities penetrated the desert in a wider scale than previously thought.

Container made of stone slabs (by Przemysław Bobrowski & Maciej Jórdeczka)

(after Nauka w Polsce, Przemysław Bobrowski & Maciej Jórdeczka)

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