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
12 March 2017