December 10, 2023

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Archaeologists uncover a sphinx-like statue and mausoleum in Egypt

Archaeologists uncover a sphinx-like statue and mausoleum in Egypt

Archaeologists uncover a sphinx-like statue and mausoleum in Egypt

written by Nadine Ibrahim, CNN

A new sphinx-like statue was discovered in Egypt – But thought that is Roman.

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.

Mamdouh El-Damaty, the former Minister of Antiquities and a professor of Egyptology at Ain Shams University, said in a statement issued today, Monday, that the mausoleum was carved out of limestone and consists of a two-level platform. Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. Inside were found a staircase and an adobe basin for storing water.

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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.

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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.

El Damati, who is also the university’s president, said in a separate statement from the university website This is the first Egyptian mission to the site of Dendera. Al-Damati said that the work there will continue for several seasons to come, as the excavations at the site promise to “add a lot to the history of Egyptian civilization in the Greek and Roman eras.”

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