The Italian archaeological mission of Salento-Litchi University stumbled upon a pair of gigantic seated lion statues on Monday.
They were found erected at the entrance of Soknopaios Temple at the Ptolemaic town, Dimeh Al-Siba, in Fayoum.
Dimeh Al-Siba, which means ‘Island of the Crocodile god,’ is located eleven kilometres to the north of Qarun Lake. It was founded by Ptolemy II on top of a Neolithic residential area.
The Ptolemaic-era town contains a collection of residential houses, a large temple to worship Sknopaios, in ancient Egypt Sobek-en-Pai (crocodile), a bakery and a market.
During excavation work carried out by archaeologist and director of the Italian mission, Mario Capasso, a pair of lion statues appeared on the sand surface.
The lion statues are skillfully carved of limestone and were presumably used to decorate the entrance gate of the temple.
Mohamed Ibrahim, Antiquities Minister, describes the discovery as interesting, as it confirm that the temple was constructed according to an architectural plan used in main temples in large cities and capital.
“It is also the first time that the gigantic lion shaped statues can be unearthed in a small Greco-Roman settlement in Fayoum,” said Ibrahim
Both statues are in a very well-preserved condition and are now at the Fayoum storehouse for restoration.