Giant statues of ancient kings lifted

12-03-2017 09:29 PM

Sanaa’ Farouk

Two newly-discovered statues that go back to the 12th and 13th centuries BC have

been lifted from the pit in which they were found submerged in underground


The 19th Dynasty royal statues were found under the overcrowded district of Souq

Al-Khamis (Thursday Market) in al-Mattariya in Ain Shams, east of Cairo. The

statues were found in the vicinity of the temple King Ramses II in ancient

Heliopolis (Oun) Sun Temples by a German-Egyptian archaeological mission.

Mahmoud Afifi, Head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department at the

Antiquities Ministry said that the first statue is a 80cm tall bust of king Seti II

carved in limestone with fine facial features. The second is 8 meters long and

sculpted in quartzite.

Although there are no engravings to identify the statue, its existence at the entrance

of King Ramses II temple suggests that it could belong to him.

Aymen Ashmawy, head of the Egyptian team, described the discovery as “very

important” because it proves that Oun Sun temple was an enormous magnificent

structure, with significant engravings, soaring colossi and obelisks. The temple was

subjected to damages during Greco-Roman times, and most of its obelisks and

colossi were transported to Alexandria and Europe. During the Islamic era, the

blocks of the temple were used in the construction of what is now Islamic Cairo.

Dietrich Raue, head of the German mission, said the newly discovered statues

would be transported to the Matariya obelisk archaeological site for restoration.


More excavation works to search for other statues and artefacts are taking place to

reveal more of the site's secrets.

Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Enany announced that the newly discovered

artefacts would be restored and put in a temporary exhibition at the Egyptian


Watani International

12 March 2017











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