2,200-year-old drawings found in an Egyptian temple

The magnificent zodiac paintings that adorned the roof and walls of the 2,200-year-old Esna temple in southern Egypt were unearthed during restoration work, researchers said.

Specialists have carefully cleaned the zodiac designs , many of which have been painted on the temple ceiling. Other restored illustrations include images of the planets Jupiter, Saturn and Mars as well as stars and constellations used by the ancient Egyptians to measure time. The team also restored ancient images of snakes, crocodiles and hybrid creatures such as the ram-headed snake.

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Although the existence of the zodiac signs and some other images in the temple was already known , the cleaning and conservation allowed the artwork to be examined in more detail. The restoration work has also unearthed previously unknown inscriptions, said team co-leader Christian Leitz, a professor of Egyptology at the University of Tübingen in Germany.

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