Science

Archaeologists discover three statues of ram heads near Egypt’s Karnak Temple 

Archaeologists have discovered three massive statues of ram heads, including at least one that had a cobra on its head, at the famous Karnak Temple in Egypt.

The statues, which have not yet been dated, were discovered south of the temple, which dates back to 2,055 B.C., in Luxor, Egypt.

The statues were discovered during an excavation at the gate built by Ptolemy III, according to a translated statement from the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. 

Archaeologists found three statues of ram heads, including one that had a cobra on its head, at Egypt’s Karnak Temple

The statues, which have not yet been dated, were found south of the temple. The ram heads were part of larger statues, which were of creatures that looked similar to a sphinx

The statues, which have not yet been dated, were found south of the temple. The ram heads were part of larger statues, which were of creatures that looked similar to a sphinx

The ram heads were part of larger statues, which were of creatures that looked similar to a sphinx

The ram heads were part of larger statues, which were of creatures that looked similar to a sphinx

The gateway was built by Ptolemies, who descended from one of Alexander the Great’s generals that ruled Egypt between 305 B.C. and 30 B.C, according to Live Science

These ram heads were part of larger statues, which were of creatures that looked similar to a sphinx.

In an interview with Egyptian news outlet al-Monitor, Mustafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the statues spanned a distance of 1.7 miles between Karnak Temple and Luxor Temple on a sandstone road. 

Wazir added that ‘98% of the works are done’ as it pertains to restoring the road.

‘The cleaning and restoration of the temples on the site are currently being carried out,’ Wazir said. 

‘So far, the colors that were first used after the construction of the temples by ancient Egyptians have been restored.’ 

The road, known as the ‘avenue of sphinxes,’ once had as many as 700 statues, LiveScience added, citing Elizabeth Blyth’s book, Karnak: Evolution of a Temple.

The surviving sphinxes date as far back 380 B.C., though there is artwork that suggests they date as far back as the 18th dynasty, or 1550-1295 B.C.

In 2010, archaeologists discovered a second sphinx-lined road in Luxor that dated back to the fourth century. 

Once the ram heads are conserved, they will be ‘installed on the bodies of the statues along the road,’ the statement added. 

Karnak Temple (pictured) was built between 4,000 and 2,000 years ago and a significant portion of it is dedicated to the Egyptian sun god, Amun-Ra and Thebes, the capital of ancient Egypt

Karnak Temple (pictured) was built between 4,000 and 2,000 years ago and a significant portion of it is dedicated to the Egyptian sun god, Amun-Ra and Thebes, the capital of ancient Egypt

The temple was built between 4,000 and 2,000 years ago and a significant portion of it is dedicated to the Egyptian sun god, Amun-Ra and Thebes, the capital of ancient Egypt. 

According to Waziri’s Facebook page, another statue, this of a cobra, was also discovered.

It's likely that the cobra sat on top of the ram's head and will eventually be placed on top by the conservation team

It’s likely that the cobra sat on top of the ram’s head and will eventually be placed on top by the conservation team

It’s likely that the cobra sat on top of the ram’s head and will eventually be placed on top by the conservation team.

It’s unclear how old the statues are, but Waziri told the news outlet one of them belongs to King Amenhotep III, ‘as the ram head contains the horn, the eye and the hole in which the cobra is placed.’

King Amenhotep III was Tutankhamun’s grandfather and reigned between 1390 and 1352 B.C.

In April, researchers got their first look at Egypt’s ‘lost golden city,’ a 3,500-year-old settlement found in Luxor, Egypt.

The Great Sphinx of Giza was most likely built to protect the tomb of Pharaoh Khafre between 2603 and 2578 B.C.

The Great Sphinx of Giza (pictured) is believed to have been built between 2603-2578 BC

The Great Sphinx of Giza (pictured) is believed to have been built between 2603-2578 BC

The Great Sphinx of Giza is a giant 4,500-year-old limestone statue situated near the Great Pyramid in Giza, Egypt. 

Measuring 240 feet (73 meters) long and 66 feet (20 meters) high, the Great Sphinx is one of the world’s largest monuments. 

It is also one of the most recognisable relics of the ancient Egyptians, though the origins and history of the colossal structure are still debated.

A sphinx (or sphynx) is a creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human, with some variations. 

It is a prominent mythological figure in Egyptian, Asian, and Greek mythology.

In ancient Egypt, the sphinx was a spiritual guardian and most often depicted as a male with a pharaoh headdress—as is the Great Sphinx—and figures of the creatures were often included in tomb and temple complexes. 

For instance, the so-called Sphinx Alley in Upper Egypt is a two-mile avenue that connects the temples of Luxor and Karnak and is lined with sphinx statues. 

The most common and widely accepted theory about the Great Sphinx suggests the statue was erected for the Pharaoh Khafre (about 2603-2578 B.C.).

Hieroglyphic texts suggest Khafre’s father, Pharaoh Khufu, built the Great Pyramid, the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in Giza. 

When he became Pharaoh, Khafre constructed his own pyramid next to his father’s; though Khafre’s pyramid is 10 feet shorter than the Great Pyramid, it is surrounded by a more elaborate complex that includes the Great Sphinx and other statues.

Residues of red pigments on the face of the Sphinx suggest the statue may have been painted.

Given the organisation of the pyramids and the Sphinx, some scholars believe there may have been a celestial purpose to the Great Sphinx and temple complex, that is, to resurrect the soul of the pharaoh (Khafre) by channeling the power of the sun and other gods.

 Source: History.com

 

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