Archeologists on Sunday unveiled two colossal statues of pharaoh Amenhotep III in Egypt’s Luxor, adding to the existing pair that are world-renowned tourist attractions.
The two monoliths in red quartzite were raised at what European and Egyptian archeologists said were their original sites in the funerary temple of the king on the west bank of the Nile River.
The temple is already famous for its 3,400-year-old Colossi of Memnon — twin statues of Amenhotep III, whose reign archeologists say marked the political and cultural zenith of ancient Egypt.
“The world until now knew two Memnon colossi, but from today it will know four colossi of Amenhotep III,” said German-Armenian archeologist Hourig Sourouzian, who heads the project to conserve the Amenhotep III temple.
“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 said. “This beautiful temple still has enough for us to study and conserve.”
The original two statues both show the pharaoh seated, as does one of the “new” ones, the body of which weighs 250 tonnes and is 11.5m tall, with a base 1.5m high and 3.6m wide.
Archeologists said that with its original double crown, the new statue would have been 13.5m high and weighed 450 tonnes.
The newly unearthed statue depicts the king wearing a royal pleated kilt held at the waist by a large belt and a nearly complete figure of his wife, Tiye, in a wig and a tight-fitting dress at his right leg.
A statue of the queen mother Mutemwya meant to be standing beside his left leg is missing, archeologists said.
The throne itself is decorated on each side with scenes from that era, showing the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt.
The second statue shows Amenhotep III standing and has been installed at the temple’s north gate.
The team of archeologists also showed several other ancient pieces of what they said were parts of other statues of the ancient ruler and his relatives, including a well-preserved alabaster head from another Amenhotep III statue.
“This piece is unique, it is rare, because there are not many alabaster statues in the world,” Sourouzian said.
The head was shown briefly to some reporters and fellow excavators, and showed the centuries of damage.
Its nose, eyes and ears are intact and some signs of restoration centuries ago are clearly evident, archeologists added. Close to the head lies a statue of princess Iset, Amenhotep III’s daughter.
Sourouzian said the aim of her team’s work was to preserve the monuments and the temple, which she said had suffered at the hands of “nature and mankind.”
“Every ruin, every monument has its right to be treated decently,” said Sourouzian, whose dream as a student was to conserve the temple.
“The idea is to stop the dismantling of monuments and keep them at their sites,” she said, adding that what was required was steady “international funding” to conserve such world heritage sites.
The work to conserve the Amenhotep III temple is entirely funded through what she said were “private and international donations.”
Archeologists say pharaoh Amenhotep III inherited an empire that spanned from the Euphrates to Sudan and that he was able to maintain Egypt’s strong position mainly through diplomacy.
TARNISHED LEGACY: Woodrow Wilson served as the university’s president before becoming the US’ 28th leader, but his racism was ‘significant and consequential’ Princeton University is removing former US president Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school and one of its residential colleges after trustees concluded that the 28th president’s “racist thinking and policies” made him “an inappropriate namesake.” The Ivy League school’s trustees made the decision on Friday, according to a statement on Saturday. It comes at a time of widespread rethinking of the US’ racial legacy. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, energized by a series of high-profile deaths of black Americans, has resulted in the removal of Confederate monuments, flags and symbols of racism across the US. Deleting Wilson’s name at Princeton
‘FULLY ENCLOSED’: Residents of Anxin County would be confined to their homes and would only be allowed out once a day to buy necessities such as food and medicine China yesterday imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people near the capital to contain a fresh COVID-19 cluster as authorities warned the outbreak was still “severe and complicated.” After China largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in Hebei Province. Health officials said that Anxin County — about 150km from Beijing — would be “fully enclosed and controlled,” the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year. Only one person from each family would be allowed to go out once a
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around