Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Amenhotep III Statue Unearthed at Funerary Temple

From the Associated Press:

Archaeologists unearthed one of the largest statues found to date of a powerful ancient Egyptian pharaoh at his mortuary temple in the southern city of Luxor, the country's antiquities authority announced Tuesday.

The 13 meter (42 foot) tall statue of Amenhotep III was one of a pair that flanked the northern entrance to the grand funerary temple on the west bank of the Nile that is currently the focus of a major excavation.

The statue consists of seven large quartzite blocks and still lacks a head and was actually first discovered in the 1928 and then rehidden, according to the press release from the country's antiquities authority. Archaeologists expect to find its twin in the next digging season.

Excavation supervisor Abdel-Ghaffar Wagdi said two other statues were also unearthed, one of the god Thoth with a baboon's head and a six foot (1.85 meter) tall one of the lion-headed goddess Sekhmet.

The full story is here.  The temple is best known to visitors by the well-preserved Colossi of Memnon, but most of the stones of the temple were robbed away in antiquity.  Amenhotep III’s temple was the largest in ancient Thebes, covering a total of four million square feet.  A diagram and aerial photo is included with an article about the temple by Mark Andrews.

Colossi of Memnon in floodwaters of Nile River, cf34-74

Colossi of Memnon, with floodwaters of Nile, c. 1965
Source: Photographs of Charles Lee Feinberg

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