The centuries-old monuments and temples on the island of Philae on the Nile were partially submerged when Egypt built the first Aswan Dam.
GV PAN Philae monuments semi-submerged in Nile (2 shots)
LS One of monuments standing on water
SV Half-submerged monument with friezes on walls
CU PULL BACK TO GV Monument blocks with faces engraved on the stones
GV & CUs Collapsed monuments showing details of carvings (6 shots)
GV TRAVELLING SHOT Coffer dam encircling monuments (2 shots)
GV PAN FROM INTERIOR OF Coffer dam TO Fallen stones and monuments (2 shots)
SCU PULL BACK GV & CU Workmen with tractor raising stones and repositioning them (4 shots)
GV & CU Archaeologists and workmen digging among stones (2 shots)
GV TRAVELLING & SV TRAVELLING Agilkia Island with boat laden with stones and workmen constructing foundations (2 shots)
CU & GVs Workmen with cranes lifting stones into position on site (5 shots)
CU PULL BACK GV & GVs Construction work at site (2 shots)
CUs Engravings on stones (2 shots)
REPORTER: "This is Philae, the pearl of Egypt. Standing on an island in the Nile, the ancient temple found itself trapped between two dams. The new Aswan high dam and a smaller dam built in 1902. Philae, built in the times of Pharaoh Nechtanibo the First, more than two thousand, three hundred years ago, began a new chapter in its history in the mid-seventies. It was rescued from the waters stone by stone in forty one thousand separated pieces.
Philae's rescue was not easy. The submerged island was sealed off from the surrounding water by encircling it with a coffer dam. Two walls of interlocking sheet steel with sand in between. Then the water within a pumped out and the monuments were taken apart, down to the last foundation stone.
When the engineers left the archaeologists took over. They excavated the site to make sure that nothing of importance was left behind. When their work is done the grounds where Philae stood for centuries will be abandoned to the waters for ever. But their discoveries will shed new light on Philae's past.
The nearby island of Agilkia is Philae's new home. Agilkia has been levelled and reshaped to look exactly like Philae. The temples are being placed here in exactly the same orientation as they were on Philae. Only the foundation stones are new. Several nations have contributed men, money and materials for the salvage of Philae. Help comes from the World Food Programmed too. Some three thousand workers engaged in the task receive food rations from the Programme as a part of their wages. The cash thus saved from the Project's budget enables the Egyptian government to buy tools, equipment and machinery. When the work is completed the waters of the Nile will once again reflect the beauty of Philae and Egypt's ancient symbol The Key of life will assume a new meaning.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The centuries-old monuments and temples on the island of Philae on the Nile were partially submerged when Egypt built the first Aswan Dam. In the late 1960's they were threatened with total submersion when a second dam was built. To preserve Philae's rare cultural heritage for posterity the temples have been dismantled stone by stone, and reconstructed on a specially prepared site 600 metres (548 yards) across the Nile, on Agilkia Island. President Sadat inaugurated the new location on Monday (march 10) and marked the culmination of a decade of national and international co-operation.