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Friday, December 9, 2016
New Discovery, Luxor: Statues of Lioness Goddess Sekhmet Unearthed in Luxor's Kom El-Hettan Excavation
Egyptian archaeologists excavating the Mortuary Temple of King Amenhotep
III in Luxor have unearthed a number of statues of the goddess Sekhmet,
daughter of the ancient Egyptian sun god Re, project director Hourig Sourouzian
told Ahram Online on Thursday.
Written By / Nevine El-Aref.
"They are of great artistic quality" Sourouzian said of the
statues, which were found in four parts, including three busts and one headless
torso, in the Kom El-Hettan archaeolical area on Luxor's west bank.Sourouzian
oversees the work of the Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III Temple
Conservation Project, which is working to save the remains of the more than
3,000 year-old temple and eventually restore its dispersed artifacts to
the site, to be presented in their original layout.
The project director said her team found the Sekhmet pieces in very good
condition, buried in the temple's hypostyle hall—a roofed hall supported by
columns. Several other statues of the goddess have been found previously on the
According to Mahmoud Afifi, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities
Department at the Ministry of Antiquities, the lion-headed goddess Sekhmet was
charged with defending her father Re against enemies.The
many statues of the goddess in the temple of Amenhotep III would also have been
intended to protect the ruler from evil and disease, Afifi told Ahram Online.
Headless Bust of Goddess Sekhmet
"All statues of the goddess
are now stored in warehouses supervised by the Ministry of Antiquities for
security reasons,” Afifi said, adding that when excavations at the temple site
are completed and the site is opened to visitors, the statues will be placed
back in their original setting.In addition to the statues of Sekhmet, Sourouzian's team have uncovered
large pieces of sphinxes carved in limestone, as well as a small torso of a
deity in black granite, within the vicinity of the funerary temple's third
“The sphinxes are in bad state of
preservation and will need to be treated before being exposed,” she said.Egypt's
Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany is set to travel to Luxor on Monday, to
inspect the newly discovered statues and attend the opening of a temporary
exhibit to celebrate the 41st anniversary of the Luxor Museum.
The exhibition will display a collection of 40 artifacts
discovered by archaeologists on the Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III Temple
Conservation Project.The artifacts will
include a collection of amulets, Greco-Roman coins, remains of clay pots and religious
stelae—stone tablets or columns erected as tombstones or boundary markers.