chapel Heliopolis Temple
King Merineptah of the 19th Dynasty presenting an offering to a deityEgypt Antiquities Ministry

A chapel belonging to King Nectanebo I has been discovered in the Heliopolis Temple for the first time by German archaeologists.

Researchers discovered the bottom part of a chapel complete with carved Basalt blocks and a royal statue carrying a cartouche of King Merineptah.

The find – the first time a chapel has been found in the boarders of the temple - was announced by Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities.

King Nectanebo I was of the 30th Dynasty (380 – 362 BC) and was the last royal family to rule before Alexander the Great conquered Egypt in 332 BC.

"Historical evidence suggests the pharaoh came to power by overthrowing Nepherites II, his predecessor and the last pharaoh of the 29th Dynasty," archaeologist Sherif el-Sabban told The Cairo Post.

chapel Heliopolis Temple
The royal statue uncovered by archaeologists working in the Heliopolis TempleEgypt Antiquities Ministry

Aiman Ashmawy, from the Ministry, said part of the statue discovered depicts King Merineptah of the 19th Dynasty presenting an offering to a deity. He said they have found layers of human settlements, including pottery and other artefacts dating to the pre and early Dynastic Periods.

Ground water is currently being reduced so excavation works inside the Heliopolis Temple can be completed.

Detrich Rau, head of the German team of archaeologists, said the rest of the chapel will likely be uncovered in the next season, adding that he hopes even more objects are found there in the near future.

Ancient Heliopolis was one of the oldest cities in Egypt but most of its buildings were taken apart in order to build Cairo.