The European-Egyptian archaeological mission headed by famed Egyptologist Horig Sourouzian unearthed two busts of the lioness goddess Sekhmet at the north-eastern side of the pillar halls of King Amenhotep III's temple at Kom El-Hitan on Luxor's west bank.
Sourouzian told Ahram Online that the temple's pillars hall is now a void area filled with dust and sand. He said that the mission is currently working there to see if there is anything to discover amidst the ruins.
"This is not the first time statues of the lioness goddess have been unearthed at Kom Al-Hittan," said Sourouzian, adding that the mission previously un-earthed 64 statues of Sekhment in different shapes and sizes.
Minister of antiquities, Mamdouh Eldamaty, told Ahram online that the first bust is 174 cm tall and depicts Sekhmet sitting on the thrown, while the second is 45 cm tall and features the face of the lioness god Sekhmet.
Eldamaty inspects sekhmet bust
Such a large number highlights the important role of the goddess during the reign of the 18th dynasty king Amenhotep III, father of the monotheistic king Akhnaten, and grandfather of the golden king Tutankhamun.
Sekhmet was believed to be a protective goddess as she was also the goddess of war and destruction. "Some Egyptologists," pointed out Sourouzian, "believe that king Amenhotep constructed a large number of statue goddess Sekhmets in an attempt to cure him of a specific disease that he suffered during his reign." Sekhmet was well known for her supposed ability to cure critical diseases.
Ten years ago, the archaeologists unearthed a large number of statues of Amenhotep III and his wife Queen Tiye, as well as some parts of the temple's walls.
The team aims to produce a virtual reconstruction of the temple using the latest computer programs, she added, saying that this reconstruction would show the original position of every surviving piece within the original temple.