The remains of the largest ancient Egyptian fortified city of more than 3,000 years old was discovered in Sinai peninsula in the country's northeastern part, the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) said in a press release on Wednesday.
Minister of Culture Farouq Abdel-Aziz Hosni was quoted as announcing that the discovery was made by an Egyptian archaeological mission at the start of Horus Road, a vital military and commercial road linking Egypt to Asia.
Meanwhile, SCA Secretary General Zahi Hawass said that the mission also unearthed a relief of King Thutmose II (1516-1504 B.C.), which is thought to be the first such royal monument found in Sinai and indicates that Thutmose II may have built a fort in the area.
The remains of a 500-by-250-meter mud brick fort with several four-meter-high towers dating back to King Ramses II (1304-1237 B.C.) was unearthed in the same area, he said.
Early studies suggested that this fort had been Egypt's military headquarters from the New Kingdom (1569-1081 B.C.) until the Ptolemaic era (305-31 B.C.).
According to the press release, the first ever New Kingdom temple found in northern Sinai was also located, which earlier studies indicated was built on top of an 18th Dynasty fort (1569-1315 B.C.).
Other discoveries included a collection of reliefs belonging toKing Ramses II and King Seti I (1314-1304 B.C.) with rows of warehouses used by the ancient Egyptian army during the New Kingdom era to store wheat and weapons.
On Tuesday, Hawass announced that a bronze statue of goddess Aphrodite, a headless Ptolemaic royal statue, an alabaster head of Cleopatra and a mask thought to belong to her lover Mark Antony had been found by a joint Egyptian-Dominican Republic team of archeologists near Egypt's Mediterranean city of Alexandria.
However, Hawass "categorically denied" that the discovery were related to the presence of queen Cleopatra's tomb, the SCA said in a separate press release on Wednesday.