Archaeologists have found a 4,000 year-old complex of 20 grain silos at the Kom Ombo Temple in the Upper Egyptian province of Aswan.
The silos, believed to have been used between 2180 and 2050BC during the First Intermediate Period of Egyptian history, were uncovered by an Egyptian and Austrian team at a Ptolemaic temple located within the larger Kom Ombo complex, one of Aswan’s most prominent pharaonic relics.
The antiquities ministry said it showcased the prominence of Kom Ombo as an agricultural and commercial hotspot during the First Intermediate Period, a time of political instability that divides the old and middle kingdoms of ancient Egypt.
The excavation of so many grain silos at the site has led the mission to believe that a large community lived around the temple back when it was operational.
The structures of the silos are well preserved considering their age, said Dr Abdel Moneim Saeed, the head of Aswan’s antiquities affairs.
Many of the excavated containers included almost intact vaults, stairs and storage rooms, he said.
Many of the silos were almost two metres tall and a few were taller.
Inside one of the containers the archaeologists found the skeletons of mice, the ministry said.
The head of the Austrian part of the team, Dr Irene Foster, said that during their work in the area they also uncovered the remains of the foundations of a British fort, built during the empire’s occupation of Egypt in the 19th century.
The fort is believed to have been used as a military control point during Sudan’s Mahdist War (1881-1885), during which a Sudanese uprising challenged the authority of Egypt’s khedivate and the British Army.
Traffic through the Nile could be easily monitored from the fort, Dr Foster said.