Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Massive head discovered at mortuary temple of Amenhotep III


With two photos

Archaeologists have unearthed a massive red granite head of one Egypt's most famous pharaohs who ruled nearly 3,400 years ago, the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities announced Sunday.

The head of Amenhotep III, which alone is about the height of a person, was dug out of the ruins of the pharaoh's mortuary temple in the southern city of Luxor.

The leader of the expedition that discovered the head described it as the best preserved sculpture of Amenhotep III's face found to date.

"Other statues have always had something broken: the tip of the nose, the face is eroded," said Dr. Hourig Sourouzian, who has led the led the Egyptian-European expedition at the site since 1999. "But here, from the tip of the crown to the chin, it is so beautifully carved and polished, nothing is broken."


The red granite head of King Amenhotep III, part of a larger 3,000 year-old statue, was discovered at the site of the pharaoh's funerary temple in Luxor, Egypt's culture ministry said in a statement.

"The newly discovered head is intact and measures 2.5 metres (8.2 foot) high," antiquities chief Zahi Hawass was quoted as saying.

"It is a masterpiece of highly artistic quality and shows a portrait of the king with very fine youthful sculptured features," Hawass said, adding there were still traces of red paint on the head.

The artefact belongs to a large statue of the king standing with his hands crossed over his chest and holding the royal insignia, said Hourig Sourouzian who headed the team of archaeologists that made the find.

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