Archaeologists have discovered fragments of a statue of a pharaoh and an ancient god during a routine excavation at what was once the largest temple in ancient Egypt, culture minister Farouk Hosni said on Thursday.
According to Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, the fragments — the legs of King Amenhotep III and a bust of the god Hapi depicted as a baboon — were uncovered in the ruins of Amenhotep’s mortuary temple on the west bank of Luxor, Upper Egypt.
Work has been ongoing to uncover the ruins of the once powerful king’s funerary complex, the largest of its kind before it collapsed over 2,000 years ago during the Late Period. Although the blocks were reused in the construction of other temples, it is believed that the northern side of the temple served as a burial spot for broken.
“Because the statuary were ritually significant, they could not be destroyed,” said antiquities chief Zahi Hawass, who headed the excavation.