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New finds at Luxor
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 07 - 10 - 2010

A granite statue of Tutankhamun's grandfather Amenhotep III was unearthed this week on the west bank at Luxor, reports Nevine El-Aref
Egyptian excavators from the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) unearthed a granite statue depicting the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep III this week in the Kom Al-Hittan area of the west bank at Luxor, where the Pharaoh's temple would once have stood with its many vast halls and gigantic statues.
The statue, depicting the Pharaoh seated on a throne and accompanied by the god Amun, shows Amenhotep wearing the double crown of Egypt decorated with the uraeus. the stylised, upright form of an Egyptian spitting cobra often used on ancient Egyptian royal regalia.
According to Zahi Hawass, secretary- general of the SCA, the statue is one of the most important recent finds to have been made at Luxor because of its expert craftsmanship that reflects the skill of ancient Egyptian artisans.
Amenhotep III is a well-known Pharaoh because of the many other surviving statues of him, Hawass said, many of these showing him with various deities, such as Amun-Re, Re-Horakhti, Bastet and Sobek.
A statue of Amenhotep with the god Bastet is one of the masterpieces on show at the Luxor Museum. The new find, the third such double statue to be discovered at the Kom Al-Hittan site, may indicate that a large cache of Amenhotep III statues lies buried in the area.
Sabri Abdel-Aziz, head of the Pharaonic Section at the SCA, said that the statue, 130cm tall and 95cm wide, is the second of its kind to be found in the area. A similar statue had previously been unearthed, he said, which shows the king seated beside the sun god Re-Horakhti.
Previously, a statue of Thoth, the ancient Egyptian god of wisdom, in the likeness of a monkey had been found at Kom Al-Hittan. Excavations were continuing with a view to discovering further finds, Abdel-Aziz said.
In addition to the most-recent find, a joint European-Egyptian team headed by Hourig Sourouzian is also carrying out excavation work at Kom Al-Hittan, and this team has uncovered several statues of Amenhotep III and his wife Queen Tiye, as well as statues of the lion-shaped war goddess Sekhmet.
"The work we are doing here is not only about advancing historical knowledge, but also about saving the last remnants of a temple that was once very prestigious but that has unfortunately been badly damaged," Sourouzian said.
The team aimed to produce a virtual reconstruction of the temple using the latest computer programmes, she added, saying that this reconstruction would show the original position of every surviving piece within the original temple.
Eventually an open-air museum would be established in the area, where the statues of Sekhmet, Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye could be put on display.


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