A team of archaeologists has discovered a giant 3,000-year-old statue thought to depict Ramses II, in what the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities is describing as "one of [its] most important archaeological discoveries".
Ramses II ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago and was a great builder whose effigy can be seen at a string of archaeological sites across the country.
The massive quartzite figure is "most probably Ramses II", Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani told Reuters on Thursday at the site of the statue's unveiling, adding that the identity would have to be later confirmed once more of the statue is uncovered.
"Souq El-Khamis area in Matariya where the statue was discovered is a very important archaeological site which does not have any complete statues, tombs or temples", Hawass said.
A smaller, life-size limestone depiction of Seti II, Ramses' grandson, was also found during the excavation. "But its discovery in front of the gate of the temple of Pharaoh Ramses II suggests that it is likely him". If there's a moral to the story of Ozymandias, it's that you can be the most powerful person in the world one day but your busted-up statue could be lying beneath a slum another.
Much of the temple complex of ancient Heliopolis, where the statue was found, was destroyed in the Greco-Roman period, and antiquities were plundered and sent to Alexandria or Europe. He led military expeditions that expanded Egypt's reach as far east as modern Syria and as far south as modern Sudan. Assuming the two finds can be unearthed and restored, Reuters reports they'll be displayed at the Grand Egyptian Museum, set to open in 2018.
He was famous for his extensive building programmes and many colossal statues of him have been found all over Egypt.
They were discovered on Thursday (March 9) in a joint mission by German and Egyptian archeologists, between crumbling apartment blocks on wasteland in the Mattarya district, Cairo, according to Aljazeera.
It was one of the largest temples in Egypt, nearly double the size of Luxor's Karnak, but was destroyed in Greco-Roman times. "It is the birthplace of the Sun God and indeed of Egypt and its civilization in terms of Egyptian mythology".