Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Labib Habachi discovery of statue of Amenhotep III rediscovered in Luxor (Zahi Hawass)

Press Release. I'm glad that there was a good mention of Labib Habachi in this report. Labib Habachi was a remarkable man, and Egyptian archaeologist from the wrong side, at the time of his graduation, of Egyptian elitist society. He struggled for acceptance for most of his career. There's an excellent book about Habachi and his career by Jill Kamil called "Labib Habachi: The Life and Legacy of an Egyptologist."

A colossal statue of Amenhotep III was uncovered during the Ministry of State for Antiquities’ (MSA) excavation in the area of the funerary temple of King Amenhotep III on the West Bank of Luxor. The mission, led by Dr. Zahi Hawass, Minister of State for Antiquities, unearthed a statue 13 meters tall that consists of seven large quartzite blocks.

The statue is one of a pair that once flanked the northern entrance to the temple, Dr. Hawass said, which was damaged by a severe earthquake in 27 BC. The blocks are currently undergoing restoration in an attempt to re-erect the statue in its original position.

The head of this statue has not been found yet, but the mission is continuing to excavate and hopes to discover it. Dr. Hawass stated that the pair were previously discovered by Egyptian Egyptologist, Labib Habachi, and German Egyptologist, Gerhard Haeny, in the 1970’s. These Egyptologists documented both statues and left them on site, hidden in the sand.

Archaeologist, Abdel Ghaffar Wagdi, the supervisor of the excavation, stated that the new mission has also discovered two other statues, one depicting the god Thoth as a baboon and one of the lion-headed goddess, Sekhmet. The Sekhmet statue is formed of black granite, 185 cm tall and 74 cm wide. Sekhmet statues have been found in large numbers at this temple, and one theory for this is that Amenhotep III suffered from an illness near the end of his reign and made offerings to this goddess for protection against it.

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