Carved into the vertical face of the quarry wall, some 5 feet above the ground, the stela depicts the pharaoh presenting offerings to Thoth, the ancient god of wisdom, and Amun-Ra, the king among gods.
“It’s particularly rare for these two deities to be portrayed together,” Lund University archaeologist Maria Nilsson, director of the Gebel el Silsila Survey Project, told Discovery News.
She added the three figures are rather poorly preserved, although some details can be made out.
“We can see the characteristic double feather crown of Amun-Ra, and the moon disc of the ibis-headed Thoth,” Nilsson said. “Unfortunately, the item presented by the pharaoh is no longer discernible.”
Preliminary study suggests the stela dates to the late dynastic period, perhaps the Third Intermediate Period, which began with the death of pharaoh Ramesses XI in 1070 B.C. and ended with the foundation of the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty by Psamtik I in 664 BC.
Readable inscriptions on the stela are merely titles of the gods, “Amun-Ra, King of the Gods, Lord of (-)”, and “Thoth, Twice Great, Lord of (-)”.
Just below the winged solar disc of the pharaoh, adorned with two uraei (stylized Egyptian cobras symbols of royalty and deity) the text reads: “Lord of the Two Lands, Behedet (Horus of Edfu).”
The personal text of the pharaoh is limited to “Lord of the Two Lands” followed by a poorly preserved cartouche and a short epithet.
“The team is currently trying to retrieve more information, but the area of the figure and title of the pharaoh is eroded by wind and sand, not to mention a natural fracture in the rock,” Nilsson said.