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Statue of Ancient Egyptian King Found

A team of Egyptian and European archaeologists has unearthed a unique colossal statue of King Amenhotep III at his funerary temple on the west bank of the Nile near Luxor, according to a statement released on Tuesday by Egypt's ministry of state for antiquities.

Finely carved in alabaster, a stone hewn in the quarries of Hatnub in Middle Egypt, the sculpture shows King Amenhotep III seated, wearing the Nemes headdress (a striped headcloth that pharaohs put on), a pleated kilt and a royal beard.

Measuring 1.20 meters (3.9 feet) in height, the well-preserved face of the pharaoh has been described by antiquities minister Zahi Hawass as "a masterpiece of royal portraiture."

It features almond-shaped eyes outlined with cosmetic bands, a short nose and a large mouth with wide lips.

"In spite of its large scale, the face is extremely well carved and well proportioned," Hawass said.

According to Hawass, the newly discovered statue was found in the passageway leading to the third pylon (gate) of the funerary temple, about 200 meters (0.12 miles) behind the Colossi of Memnon.

"The statue is the northern one of a pair of colossi that were once placed at the gate of the third pylon," Hawass said.

The archaeologists, led by German-Armenian Egyptologist Hourig Sourouzian, also unearthed the head of a deity carved in the igneous rock granodiorite.

Representing a male god wearing a striated wig, the 28.5 cm (11 inch)-high head was found in the central part of the temple's great court.

Archaeologists also found a red quartzite stele (a slab with an inscribed surface) honoring Amenhotep III, which is now being reconstructed from 27 large pieces and several smaller ones.

Originally 30 feet tall, the stone slab base will be completed next season when its round top will be put back in place.

"This part of the stele bears two scenes representing Amenhotep III and his queen consort, Tiye, bringing offerings to the gods, Amun-Re and Sokar," said Hawass.

The rest of the stele is decorated with 25 lines of sunken hieroglyphic inscriptions, which list the temples that Amenhotep III dedicated to the great gods of Thebes.

Full article can be read here

Posted by Martin Carty on 01-06-2011

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