King Tut’s Grandmom? Huge Alabaster Statue Unearthed Along Nile
A ‘beautifully carved’ statue of a woman, probably King Tutankhamun’s grandmother, was discovered during an excavation mission at Amenhotep III’s funerary temple.
The huge effigy was discovered on Luxor’s west bank, where the ancient city of Thebes previously stood.
The alabaster statue of Queen Tiye was discovered by mistake while lifting a piece of King Amenhotep III’s colossus, and archaeologists claim it is the first of its kind.
Tiye was King Amenhotep III’s wife, and the grandmother of the young pharaoh, Tutankhamun.
The remarkable statue was found beside the right leg of the Amenhotep III colossus during an excavation at Kom Al-Hittan, and archaeologists suspect it’s a representation of Tiye.
While all other depictions of the queen that have been found to date were carved from quartzite, this rare statue is made from alabaster.
And, it’s ‘beautiful, distinguished, and unique,’ said Dr Khaled El-Enany, Minister of Antiquities.
Dr Hourig Sourouzian, who led the excavation, says the statue is in very good condition considering its age, and has maintained all of its ancient colours.
The researchers are now working to restore it, according to Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities.
Earlier this month, the Ministry revealed the German archaeological mission had uncovered dozens of statues depicting a lion-headed warrior goddess at the temple of Amenhotep III.
It’s thought they were arranged thousands of years ago to protect the ruler from evil.
Researchers with the excavation in Egypt discovered 66 well-preserved statues of Sekhmet near Luxor.
The statues show the goddess in both the sitting and standing position, holding a sceptre of the papyrus flower and the symbol of life.
Archaeologists with the Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project, led by Dr Hourig Sourouzian, discovered the statues during restoration efforts at the funerary temple of Amenhotep III.
Sekhmet was thought to be a powerful goddess, and the ancient pharaoh requested many statues be made in her image to protect the temple from danger.
Each of the 66 statues is made from diorite stone, a material that was also used to build temples, according to the archaeologists.
The statues have managed to withstand the years even after a devastating earthquake destroyed the temple, and the team says their discovery is of great technical, scientific, and archaeological value.
Researchers made the remarkable discovery while carrying out a mission to find remains of a temple wall between the patio and a hall of columns.
They also found a large statue of Amenhotep III.
Now, the team is working to restore the collection, and they say all will be returned to their original temple locations once finished.