Archaeologists uncover a sphinx-like statue and mausoleum in Egypt
written by Nadine Ibrahim, CNN
The smiling sculpture and the remains of a shrine were found during an excavation mission in Qena, a city in southern Egypt on the east bank of the Nile.
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The basin, which is believed to date back to the Byzantine era, once housed a smiling Sphinx, carved from limestone.
Damati described the statue as having “royal facial features”. He had a “soft smile” with two dimples. On her head she also wore neem – the striped headdress made of cloth worn by the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, with a cobra or “uraeus” shaped end.
A Roman stela with hieroglyphic and demotic writings from the Roman era was found under the Great Sphinx.
A team from Ain Shams University discovered a small statue of the Great Sphinx in Qena, southern Egypt. credit: Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities / Facebook
The professor said that the statue may represent the Roman Emperor Claudius, the fourth Roman emperor who ruled from the year 41 to 54, but indicated that more studies are needed to verify the owner and history of the structure.
The discovery was made on the eastern side of the Dendera Temple in Qena, where excavations are still ongoing.
The Sphinx is a recurring object in the myths of ancient Egyptian, Persian and Greek cultures. Their likeness is often found near tombs or religious buildings.
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It is not uncommon to find new Sphinxes in Egypt. But the most famous of the country’s sphinxes, the Great Sphinx of Giza, dates back to around 2500 BC and represents the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Khafre.
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