Egypt says it’s looking to work more with China in archaeology. They’ve started a joint project to restore an ancient temple in the north African country. This is the first Chinese archaeological mission to work in Egypt.

The mission is excavating on the site of Montu Temple north of Karnak in Luxor. The 5-year mission hopes it can restore the temple to its original form and open the abandoned site for tourists.

Mustafa Waziri – Secretary General Supreme Council of Antiquities

“They had a very good plan, first to get rid of the wild grasses. Two to make a sort of documentation of Montu temple. Number three to have a site plan for the entire area. So far they are doing such great work at Montu temple.”

The joint team consists of seven Chinese and three Egyptian scientists. Archaeology is only one of the areas of cooperation that China and Egypt want to strengthen, under the Belt and Road Initiative. Ayman Ashmawy is the head of the Egyptian team in the mission.

He confirms there has been a lot of mutual benefits from working with Chinese archaeologists

Ayman Ashmawy – Co-Director Egyptian Chinese Mission

“Chinese expertise in the technique of archaeology is important for us to get the modern techniques and technology in documentation and excavation which is very helpful.

And on the other side, the Egyptian team is working on the history, architecture, and culture of these sites. So we are completing each other and fulfilling the nice work.”

Montu Temple was built in the 14th century BC for the worship of Montu, the bull. This temple replaced an ancient sanctuary and consists of an open forum with a tower and enclosing two mounds that housed the chapels of worship. It is thought that original sanctuary dates to the Old Kingdom.

Yasser Hakim – Cairo

“The Chinese mission in Montu is not going to be the only one. There are discussions underway between both sides so that Egypt would receive a new Chinese archaeological mission, this time, to excavate in the Delta Region. Yasser Hakim, Cairo.”