A Giant Unearthed In Egypt

May 8, 2011 By Arati Rao
Arati Rao's picture

Ancient Egypt was colossal - huge, in other words. When you visit sites like Luxor, Karnak, Thebes, Abu Simbel; this is what strikes you first. “Wow, everything is so big!” The best part about Ancient Egypt is that the story is constantly unfolding.

Where is this new statue?

Sailing down the Nile you see beautiful silent stone sentinels (guardians) of history and you can only marvel at their craftsmen. As you approach Luxor from Upper Egypt (near the Aswan dam) an awesome sight comes into view. On the right is the East Bank – with its famous Luxor and Karnak temples. On the left is the West Bank, with its tombs and funerary temples, set slightly back from the banks of the Nile.

And on the West Bank is where the most recent find has been made: a colossal statue of Amenhotep III – the grandfather of the more famous King Tut (the boy king, Tutankhamen). It is thought that Amenhotep III in his final years was suffering from an illness, which is why there are so many large statues of him and carvings shown with deities (gods) that have been discovered in Luxor over the years. This latest statue to be unearthed is nothing if not awesome.

It's big and is a re-discovery

It would stand 42 feet tall (that’s almost as high as a four-storeyed building) and is made of blocks of quartzite. The head has not been found yet, but the excavation goes on. Moreover, there is thought to be a twin statue to this one – making them a pair guarding the northern entrance to a very large temple complex – a 3,400 year-old building. It is thought that the newly uncovered statue will likely be like those at the Colossi of Memnon – the twin statues that you can see them as you drive up to Queen Hatshepsut’s temple.  

This statue of Amenhotep III was first unearthed in the 1970s by two Egyptologists (people who study ancient Egyptian history and unearth artifacts), documented and left buried in the sand (no one quite knows why).  During the next digging season the archeologists plan to look for the head and the twin statue.

The find is not the end!

Digging is only one part of the study of ancient Egypt. In fact, it is almost the easiest part. After the digging season is over, the hard and important work of documentation takes over. The archeologists painstakingly note all the important features of the excavated artifacts, where they were found (using GPS – global positioning systems) and other related pieces of information that will help build the story.

More importantly, they need to be able to tell who the statue is, when it might have been erected and discern the importance of it.  Fascinating work and one that keeps us very entertained and informed!

And here is a short video about architecture found on the banks of the Nile at Luxor.