Egyptian archaeologists have discovered carvings with Greek inscriptions dating back to the era of the second-century Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the Supreme Council of Antiquities announced on Tuesday.
The carvings, believed to form part of the altar of a temple, was unearthed while archaeologists were excavating in the area around Pompeii's Pillar in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.
"This carving is composed of six lines of writing in the Greek language on a stone which is 50cm by 36cm long," said Zahi Hawass, the secretary general of the council.
Hawass believes the writing dates back to the ninth year of Aurelius's rule which lasted from 161 to 180 AD.
It appears to be an exaltation to the God Serapis, a composite of Egyptian and Hellenistic deities, including Zeus and Helios, as part of efforts to integrate Egyptian religion with that of their Hellenic rulers.
The council also announced that works were currently under way to restore the area around Pompey's pillar, the tallest ancient monument in Alexandria.
"The project to develop the area of Pompeii's pillar at a cost of 10-million Egyptian pounds will be finished within the next year," said Mohammed Abdel Maqsud, a senior official of the council.
The 27-metre-high granite column is located on Alexandria's ancient acropolis and was originally part of the temple of Serapis.