Gyôzô Vôrôs is an Egyptologist belonging to the new generation of Hungarian archaeologists. In spite of his young age (born in Pécs, Hungary, January 15, 1972), he became very accomplished and well known on an international level. Vôrôs has spent most of his professional life in Egypt, where he was working for the government of Egypt (1994-2004). Since 2004, he has led an excavation for the government of Cyprus.
He graduated from Lorând Eôtvôs University of Sciences, Department of Egyptology, Budapest (1988-1993). He had two major scholarships, one in Rome (Gregoriana) and one in Jerusalem (Hebrew University). He also graduated from Péter Pâzmâny Catholic University, Faculty of Theology, Budapest (1990-1993). Because architecture is a major part of his interest, he continues his studies at Budapest University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture. Vôrôs holds an MA in Egyptology (1994) and a PhD in History of Architecture (2001). The title of his doctoral thesis was The Temple Architecture of Ancient Egypt.
Between 1994 and 1998, he was the director of the Hungarian Thoth Hill Mission in Thebes, at the mortuary temple of Pharaoh Sankhkare Montuhotep III. The excavations revealed the earliest stone temple in Egypt under the superstructure of the Middle Kingdom temple. He also discovered the burial place of Sankhkare Montuhotep III, between the cliffs of the hill.
Between 1998 and 2004, he worked as the director of Taposiris Magna, 45 km west of Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast. The excavations discovered the original sanctuary of the acropolis, with both the torso of the cultic statue and the sacrificial objects of the goddess Isis. In the meantime, he identified the scene of the Fortuna Primigenia mosaic in Praeneste, which depicts the Khoiak festival of Isis in Taposiris Magna. The Hungarian Mission has completed the excavations of the acropolis in 30-field-months.
Gyozo Voros is one of the registered survivors of the Luxor terrorist attack, November 17,1997.
Taposiris Magna (also called Abu Sir) is situated 45 kilometers to the west of Alexandria, on the coastal dune between the Mediterranean Sea and the freshwater Mareotis Lake. The ancient city and its acropolis were founded by Pharaoh Ptolemy II Philadelphos. Ninety years had passed between Evaristo Breccia’s pioneering excavations in Taposiris Magna (1905-1907) and the Hungarian archaeological mission at the site (from 1998-2004). In the middle of the 20th century, Achille Adriani launched a significant program of restoration (1937-1939), as did Jasper Brinton after him (1945-1948), but neither project was completed. Although Adriani’s and Brinton’s groundwork was notable, neither of them began excavations at the acropolis because there was a general agreement that the acropolis of Taposiris Magna was an unfinished construction and that it had never operated as a temple. When the Hungarian team began the excavations, this view was so universally accepted that new lexicons and summaries written about Egyptian temple architecture would always mention “the unfinished and uninscribed temple of Taposiris Magna.” This official academic position was based on the mistaken premise that the floor level to be found in the courtyard of the acropolis and covered with pavement stones (excavated by Breccia) is contemporaneous with the huge temenos wall surrounding it. This led scholars to conclude that the acropolis courtyard was never home to an inner sanctuary or shrine dedicated to a cultic statue.
Drawn and photographic documentation were gathered by the Hungarian excavations in the acropolis courtyard. The floor-level foundation of the pavement stones brought to light Roman coins and potteries, making it certain that they were looking at a layer that belonged to a later period of the acropolis. At the bottom of the filling, which was homogenous, with an average height of 80-90 cm, they found the imprint of the former sanctuary. In doing so, the Hungarian experts not only succeeded in proving that the acropolis was completed, but that they had reached a unique monument of architectural history. It transpired that a Hellenic shrine with Doric columns had once stood in the courtyard of the Egyptian-style acropolis with its pylon entrance and surrounding wall. Thanks to the imprint carved into the rock, to the remaining elements of the shrine (on one hand they came to light during their excavations, and on the other hand, 117 column drums can be found on top of the temenos wall), and to the surviving Greek architectural analogies, it can be fully reconstructed. As a result, Taposiris Magna has not only been put back on the map of ancient temple architecture, but it has been recognized as the only site of both Greek and Egyptian temple architecture yet to be fully excavated and reconstructed.
In addition to research in architecture and architectural history, the Voros team also succeeded in presenting significant results concerning the cult of the former sanctuary. It became possible for them to prove that the acropolis was originally built in honor of the goddess Isis. The excavations brought to light torsos from the former cultic statue of the goddess carved out of black granite, as well as her sacred vessels, which her priests used in secret rituals. The cult of Isis spread across the entire Roman Empire.
Bearing in mind that Taposiris Magna was the biggest center of her cult in the Alexandria region— and so in Egypt as whole—it is no accident that in certain cities of the Imperium they not only began to worship the goddess, but also adopted the name of her cult’s original location. It should be noted that sacrifices were made to the “Isis of Taposiris” on the Hellenic island of Delos just as they were by the italici in Faesulae (today: Fiesole), on a Tuscan hilltop overlooking present day Florence.
Since 2004, Voros has been the director of the Hungarian Mission in Nea Paphos, Cyprus.
- Voros, G. (1998). Temple on the pyramid of Thebes. Budapest: Szazszorszep.
- Voros, G. (2001). Taposiris Magna I: Port of Isis. Budapest: Egypt Excavation Society of Hungary.
- Voros, G. (2004). Taposiris Magna II: 1998-2004. Budapest: Egypt Excavation Society of Hungary.