Monday, October 4, 2010

Statue of King Tut's Grandfather Unearthed in Luxor

Part of an ancient statue of King Amenhotep III, believed to be the grandfather of King Tutankhamun, has been unearthed, Egypt's Ministry of Culture announced on Saturday.

The 4-foot (1.3-meter) by 3-foot (0.95-meter) red granite statue depicts the Egyptian pharaoh in all his power. Amenhotep III wears the double crown of Egypt, which is decorated with a sacred asp, or uraeus, and is seated on a throne next to the Theban god Amun.

The ninth ruler of the Eighteenth Dynasty, Amenhotep III (about 1390-1352 B.C.), reigned for 38 years during a time when Egypt was at the height of prosperity and cultural development.

His mummy was found in 1898 in a tomb dubbed KV35 by French Egyptologist Victor Loret.

The upper part of the more than 3,000-year-old double statue has been dug out at the site of the pharaoh's funerary temple in Kom El-Hittan, in the west bank of Luxor.Amenhotep-III

Demolished during the Nineteenth Dynasty, the temple was apparently the largest of its class ever built.

Originally, it had two entrances: one on the eastern side guarded by two (still standing) gigantic statues of the Pharaoh, known as the Colossi of Memnon, and one at the northern side, where the double statue was located.

"The statue is one of the best new finds in the area because of its expert craftsmanship," Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), said in a statement.

He added that overwhelming amounts of statuary feature King Amenhotep III in company of different deities, such as Amun-Re, Re-Horakhti, Bastet and Sobek.

According to Sabri Abdel Aziz, head of the SCA's Egyptology sector, a similar statue, which showed the king seated beside the solar god, Re-Horakhti, was previously unearthed at the site.

Moreover, last February a massive granite head also depicting Amenhotep III was dug out at the same site.

“It is possible that a large cache for King Amenhotep III’s statuary may have been buried in the area,” Egyptian officials said in a statement.

Excavation work led by archaeologist Abdel Ghaffar is now focusing on unearthing the rest of the statue.

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