What we should know about France's heated debate over its pension system    Egypt, Italy foreign ministers discuss bilateral ties, regional issues    Factbox: What are the articles of impeachment Trump may face?    Egypt's exports of jewelry, precious stones hit $1.6 bln in 10 months: ECBM    Egypt hopes to make new capital the largest investment hub – official    The monster that created Michelangelo's sins    First flight attendant with Down syndrome leads crew on International Day of Disabled Persons    Egypt's PM meets Al-Futtaim group CEO, asserts gov't support for real investments    Loneliness is unwanted friend    Things to do to receive 2020 feeling better    U.S. military completes pullback from northeast Syria    Mohamed Salah, Zamalek's Hamed represent Egypt in shortlists for CAF awards    UAE fires coach Van Marwijk after Qatar defeat    European shares climb ahead of data and OPEC meeting; Moncler up 11%    Juve midfielder Khedira out for three months after knee surgery    Get to know top 5 things about cyber insurance    Egypt, France say Libyan-Turkish deals violate international law    Rate of HIV infections in Egypt around 0.02% – minister    Egypt launches new mobile app to follow up national projects    Oil steadies after price jump, investors wait on OPEC meetings    Liverpool thump Everton 5-2 in demolition derby    Adam Sandler threatens to make ‘so bad' movie if he doesn't win Oscar    Lebanese c.bank instructs banks to cap interest rates on deposits    Egypt's Tahrir Square among top Reuters photos of a decade    Malaria fight stalling at 'unacceptably high level' of deaths: WHO    Ahly labour to Egypt Cup win over second-division Beni Suef    In charge of the news    Gearing up for the World Youth Forum    Michelangelo and company    
Don't miss Miami Theatre's new theatrical production Rasayal Ala'oshaq    Lionel Messi claims record sixth Ballon d'Or award    Shaaban Abdel Rahim, passed away aged 62 years    Tencent bullish on future games industry growth in Middle East    Lebanese parliament committee to approve 2020 budget by year-end: Head    Egypt names 16 new governors ahead of anticipated Cabinet reshuffle    Egypt's MPs back potential return of information minister post in expected reshuffle    Court sentences six to death, 41 to lifetime imprisonment violence related case    Trump says he would release Mideast peace plan after Israeli elections    ACWA Power compares 3 bids to supply production units for Luxor power station    What do you know about gold alloying?    NBE announces EGP 2.5m prizes for handball youth teams for their world achievements    Jennifer Lopez evokes Egyptian outrage post her North Coast performance    Al-Sisi honours Egypt's scholars on Science Day    IS claims responsibility for suicide bombing killing 63 in Afghan wedding    Political parties gear up for parliamentary, senate, local elections    Unprecedented Glory: Egypt win Men's U-19 World Handball Championship    12th National Egyptian Theatre Festival fuel up public theatre art scene    Ministry of Environment has a plan for "black clouds season"    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.





Colossal find
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 12 - 08 - 2004

The largest seated statue of the 19th-Dynasty Pharaoh Ramses II yet found is being unearthed in Akhmim, reveals Nevine El-Aref
The remains of a colossal seated statue of Ramses II, thought to be about 13 metres tall and weighing 700 tons, have been discovered in a shanty area of the Upper Egyptian city of Akhmim, adjacent to the open-air museum. The lower part of the limestone statue is seated on a throne, to the right and left of which are figures of two of the pharaoh's daughters and princess- queens, Merit-Amun and Bint-Anath. The statue and the throne are carved from a single block and stand on a huge limestone base covered with carved hieroglyphic texts. The base also carries a register of captured enemies surmounting rings that bear the name of their home cities. Remains of colours are still visible. A colossal face that matches the base of the statue, showing the pharaoh wearing a false beard, has also been found. A splendid colossus of Queen Merit-Amun found here is already on display in the open-air museum.
This splendid discovery will not only attract archaeologists but visitors, and the media as well.
"It really is a very important discovery that reveals the largest seated limestone statue ever found of Pharaoh Ramses II," Zahi Hawass, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), told Al-Ahram Weekly. Hawass said early studies revealed that the statue might have stood in front of the entrance to the pylon of a great temple of Ramses II at Akhmim, and that this suggested the existence of a second statue on the other side which could still be buried in the sand.
First traces of the discovery were made in early 1991 when the Akhmim city council decided to build a post office 50 metres from the open-air museum. A pre-building archaeological inspection revealed the base of a statue inscribed with the names and titles of Ramses II and surrounded by mud brick walls. Also unearthed were votive stelae that had been set up in the temple, statues of individuals who may have worked there, and royal crowns carved in granite.
However, a large modern cemetery obstructed any further exploration, and excavations were put on hold. The site was backfilled with sand and the statue base was packed with debris for protection. To resume the excavations and preserve what Culture Minister Farouk Hosni called "an important part of Egyptian history" a presidential decree was issued stipulating that the cemetery be transferred to a site in New Sohag.
Culture Minister Hosni said President Mubarak had allocated LE5 million from the government budget to help fund the move, with the SCA providing an additional LE15 million. The relocation of the cemetery continues alongside the archaeological excavation.
One result of the discoveries at Akhmim was that unlicensed diggers -- modern tomb robbers -- had already found their way onto the site, Sabri Abdel-Aziz, head of the SCA's ancient Egyptian antiquities department, told the Weekly. It was actually the illegal excavators exploring a tomb in the modern necropolis who stumbled upon a huge head of Ramses II. The head was 2.60 metres in diameter and was wearing the royal nemes head-dress. "The [illegal] excavators were caught red-handed, but only after they had revealed another important part of the magnificent statue," Abdel- Aziz said.
Excavations resumed in January 2003, led by Mansour Breck, chief inspector at the Giza Plateau, who was assigned to oversee the excavations in Akhmim. Breck had two main goals: the first to determine the size of the statue, and the second to explore its connection with the temple. Hawass said that along with unearthing the statue of Ramses II, archaeologists were able to examine the area around the statue. They determined that it was divided into two main levels, the top stratum containing Islamic features with a Coptic layer below.
The site lies on the east bank of the Nile about 100 kilometres north of Luxor. As well as being the hub of Egypt's ancient weaving industry, Akhmim was the capital of the ninth nome of Upper Egypt and the religious centre of the fertility god Min. The town yields remains dating from prehistoric times and all through the Pharaonic period, including the Old Kingdom cemetery of Al-Hawawish, which contains 848 rock-hewn tombs.
There is little data in Akhmim about the Middle Kingdom, but rather more material remains from later periods of history. It is known that a great temple dedicated to the god Min was built during the ninth century BC -- the structure impressed Arab historians who passed through Akhmim and who mentioned a gigantic temple larger than the Karnak complex. One even reported that the sun had time to rise and then set again before he had finished exploring the ruins.
Akhmim was also a centre of Christianity in Upper Egypt. During the Christian era temples were destroyed and the modern town was erected over the ancient ruins. Akhmim now perches on a high mound, with an archaeological wealth beneath its foundations, about to be further explored, with potentially significant results.


Clic here to read the story from its source.