Culture And Media

Egypt: 12 new ancient sphinx statues uncovered

Luxor, 15 Nov. (AKI) - Archaeologists in the southern temple city of Luxor have unearthed twelve new sphinx statues and a road from the reign of ancient Egyptian pharaoh Nectanebo I (380-362 BC), Egypt's culture minister Farouk Hosny announced on Monday.

The sphinx statues are inscribed with Nectanebo I's name and were found in the last sector of the Avenue of the Sphinxes, one of the most important archaeological and religious paths in Luxor, the site of the Ancient Egyptian city of Thebes.

The mythological creatures with human faces and reclining feline bodies were typically used to decorate the tombs of ancient Egyptian rulers.

The Avenue of the Sphinxes, built by Nectanebo I, runs from Luxor to nearby Karnak, where it connects to the temple of the goddess Mut. Karnak and contains a vast conglomeration of ruined temples, chapels, monumental gateways to temples, and other buildings.

The archaeologists discovered the new sphinxes at the end of the newly unearthed road of Nectanebo I, said Zahi Hawass, head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.

The archaeologists have excavated 20 metres of the 600-metre ancient road. The first newly uncovered road which runs from east to west towards the Nile river, it is mentioned in many ancient texts, according to Hawass.

"Along this way, the sacred boat of Amun, king of the gods, travelled on the gods' annual trip to visit his wife, Mut, at the Luxor temple. The king also used it for religious processions," Hawass said.

One of the road's most interesting features it that it is built from sandstone from the quarries at Gebel Silsila, north of Aswan, said Mansour Boraik, Luxor Antiquities supervisor.

The excavation team also recovered Roman period objects, including an oil press and pottery, and the digs are continuing.

Nectanebo I, a 30th Dynasty king was known as a great builder who erected many monuments and temples throughout his long and stable 18-year reign. The pharaoh restored many dilapidated temples throughout Egypt and erected a small kiosk on the sacred island of Philae which would become one of the most important religious sites in ancient Egypt.

From about 365 BC onwards, Nectanebo was a co-regent with his son Teos, who succeeded him upon his death in 362 BC.




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