December 16, 2010

Archaeologists Find Statue Of Ancient God And Pharaoh

The Antiquities Council of Egypt said on Thursday that archaeologists have found fragments of a statue of an ancient god and a pharaoh in a site that once housed ancient Egypt's largest funerary temple.

The fragments were discovered in the ruins of Amenhotep's mortuary temple on the west bank of Luxor.  The council said the fragments are a bust of the god Hapi depicted as a baboon, along with the legs of a King Amenhotep III statue.

Antiquities chief Zahi Hawass said the fragments were discovered while his team was working on unearthing Amenhotep's temple.  The king died over 3,000 years ago.

Archaeologists said that the temple was the largest of its kind before it collapsed over 2,000 years ago, which could be due to it being built so close to the Nile river.

"The excavation team is still digging to find fragments of the double statue. It is the first of its kind as it depicts the king seated with the god Hapi, one of the four sons of Horus, beside him," Hawass said.

Hawass, who headed the excavation, said on his website that the ancient Egyptians might have used the site to bury damaged statues.

"Because the statuary were ritually significant, they could not be destroyed," he said.


Image Caption: Two red granite statuary fragments found at the site of Amenhotep III's mortuary temple on the west bank of Luxor (Photo: SCA)