Colossal standing Pharaoh Amenhotep III returned to splendor in Luxor, Egypt after toppled by ancient earthquake
An ancient Pharaoh is back on his feet after 3,000 years at Egypt’s famous temple city of Luxor. On Sunday archaeologists unveiled the restored, 12.9-meter (43ft) standing statue of Amenhotep III at the northern gate of the king’s funerary temple.
The Guardian reports that the statue collapsed 3,000 years ago in an earthquake. It is one of two such giant statues of the king, representations depicting Amenhotep III in stride. In March, another effigy of a standing Amenhotep was revealed as complete. German-Armenian archaeologist Hourig Sourouzian said of the restoration, “These are up to now the highest standing effigies of an Egyptian king in striding attitude.” Sourouzian heads the conservation project at the temple.
The statue was reassembled and repaired using the 89 large pieces and its many smaller fragments. It weighs a whopping 121 tons. A video showing the newly unveiled statue is below.
HorizonWeekly writes that the two standing statues had broken into 200 chunks and were submerged in a river, where they were exposed to water damage and erosion. The stone pieces were braced with steel spikes and glued together with resins.
The statue bears the white crown of Upper Egypt, and shows Amenhotep carrying a papyrus in each hand, both inscribed with his name. His belt holds a dagger with a falcon-head handle, and it is fastened with a clasp bearing the names of the king, according to PanArmenian Network.
A wealth of artifacts featuring Amenhotep III have been found in the region during excavations.
In March archaeologists unveiled two colossal seated statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III in Luxor. The statues had lain in pieces for centuries, with more and more segments getting uncovered over the last few months. The statues were eventually restored and put back to their original sites in the funerary temple of the king, on the west bank of the Nile.
The thrones are decorated on each side with scenes from that era, showing the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt.
Additionally, giant limestone heads have been unearthed at the foundations of the Armant Temple, south of Luxor, including those of royal priests and Amenhotep III.
Featured Image: Priest heads unearthed at Armant Temple, Luxor, Egypt. Credit: CNRS-CFEETK/Christophe Thiers
The reign of Amenhotep III marked the zenith of ancient Egyptian civilization, both in terms of political power and cultural achievement, under his 36 year reign. Countries like Babylonia, Assyria, and Mitani were emerging as potential new rivals, and Amenhotep began writing to the other rulers of the Near East, carving letters on small stones that messengers took to foreign princes. The Amarna letters, as they became known after they were found in 1887, were the key to Amenhotep's success, especially when backed up with gifts from Egypt's great wealth.
A colossal statue of Amenhotep III in the British Museum. Public Domain
Amenhotep III became pharaoh at the age of 12, during the 18 th dynasty, with his mother acting as regent due to his youth. In 1354 BC, after his death, the king was succeeded by his son Amenhotep IV, widely known as Akhenaten.
Featured Image: The twin seated Colossi of Memnon, statues of Amenhotep III, on the west back of Luxor, Egypt. Wikimedia, CC
By Liz Leafloor