Thursday, March 27, 2014

New Discovery, Luxor: Two new Amenhotep III statues were unveiled in Egypt

Two new statues of the Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep III were unveiled Sunday, adding to two renowned statues of the ancient pharaoh that had previously been discovered.

Archaeologists revealed the statues in the temple city of Luxor along the west banks of the Nile River in southern Egypt. The monoliths are made of red quartzite and are additions to the two statues, believed to be 3,400 years old, of Amenhotep III that have become major tourist attractions.

Hourig Sourouzian is leading the project to conserve the temple of Amenhotep III, who became king when he was 12 years old. "The world until now knew two Memnon colossi, but from today it will know four colossi of Amenhotep III," the German-Armenian archaeologist said, according to Agence France-Presse, adding that the two restored statues have endured severe weather conditions for centuries.

"The statues had lain in pieces for centuries in the fields, damaged by destructive forces of nature like earthquake, and later by irrigation water, salt, encroachment and vandalism," she added. “This beautiful temple still has enough for us to study and conserve."

The newly revealed statue, which is 38 feet tall and nearly 12 feet wide, shows Amenhotep III seated with his hands on his knees. He is wearing a royal pleated kilt with a large belt with zigzag lines. Amenhotep III's wife Tiye stands to his right, wearing a large wig and a long tight-fitting dress. 

Archaeologists said the statue of the pharaoh’s queen mother, Mutemwya, which was originally beside his left leg, is missing. The second statue that was revealed on Sunday of a standing Amenhotep III was constructed at the north gate of the temple in Luxor.

Archaeologists also showed a well-preserved alabaster head of yet another statue of the 18th dynasty ruler of Egypt. Thought to have died in 1354 BC, Amenhotep III inherited an empire that spanned from the Euphrates to Sudan, according to archaeologists, and was able to maintain Egypt's position mainly through diplomacy. Amenhotep III lived until he was about 55 years old but became sick and prematurely senile. However, he was a prolific builder and was buried in a huge, rock-cut tomb. 

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