The first Chinese archaeological team in Egypt has officially started excavation work in Montu Temple at the Karnak Temple Complex of monument-rich southern city of Luxor.
“This is a very important moment for us,” Jia Xiaobing, head of the Chinese archaeological mission in Egypt, told a press conference held in the open air at the precinct of Montu Temple.
“Both Egypt and China are ancient civilizations with long histories and with the help of our Egyptian colleagues, I hope this project will bring fruitful results,” he said.
The project is an outcome of a protocol of cooperation signed between the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) in October.
They formed a joint Egyptian-Chinese archaeological mission to do the excavation works in the relics of Montu Temple that has been untouched and closed for visitors for decades.
For his part, Mostafa al-Saghir, director-general of Karnak temples in Luxor, hailed the cooperation with Chinese archeologists, expecting the first Chinese mission in Egypt to be a beginning for further archeological cooperation between the two sides.
“I expect very fruitful archeological cooperation between Egypt and China. It will be a strong beginning for the excavation work of the first Chinese mission in Egypt in Montu Temple in Karnak,” Saghir told Xinhua after the official announcement.
“The Chinese team has distinguished members with massive expertise that qualifies them for efficient work in the Karnak temples,” he added.
The event was attended by a number of Egyptian and Chinese officials including Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, director-general of Upper Egypt’s antiquities, Mohamed Yahia, director-general of Luxor antiquities, and Shi Yuewen, cultural counselor of the Chinese embassy in Cairo.
Egypt, one of the world’s oldest civilizations, has been working hard to preserve its archaeological heritage and discover the secrets of its ancient artifacts.
Over the past few years, the country has witnessed several big archaeological discoveries including pharaonic tombs, statues, coffins, mummies, burial sites and funerary gardens.
Ties between Egypt and China have been growing fast over the past few years with the support of the political leadership of both sides, which led to elevating their cooperation to the level of comprehensive strategic partnership.