Archaeologists unveiled two new massive statues in Luxor, Egypt on Sunday, putting them on what were their original sites in the funerary temple of Pharaoh Amenhotep III.
The king already had two massive statues erected in his honor which are well-known the world-over and attract tourists from all across the globe, but they show the Pharaoh seated. The new statues, hewn from red quartzite, are of Amenhotep seated and standing.
“The world until now knew two Memnon colossi, but from today it will know four colossi of Amenhotep III,” archaeologist Hourig Sourouzian said during a press conference. “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. This beautiful temple still has enough for us to study and conserve.”
The two Memnon colossi were damaged by an earthquake in 27 BC that destroyed the temple, but archaeologists rebuilt and restored them over the years. Sourouzian says the ultimate goal is to keep the artifacts in their original positions, on the original sites in order to preserve them.
“Every ruin, every monument has its right to be treated decently,” said Sourouzian. “The idea is to stop the dismantling of monuments and keep them at their sites.”
Amenhotep is said to have ruled Egypt during the height of prosperity and artistic endeavors of the time, and was buried on the west bank of the Nile. However, the mortuary temple was placed so close to the floodplain that many of the artifacts placed within were destroyed within a couple of centuries.
You can see photos of the new statues here.
Image via Wikimedia Commons