During routine excavation work at the site of the King Amenhotep III funerary temple on Luxor’s west bank, an Egyptian excavation mission led by Zahi Hawass, minister for antiquities, unearthed a statue of the king. Thirteen metres in height, the King Amenhotep III statue consists of seven huge quartzite blocks. The statue is without its head.
According to Hawass, the statue is one of a pair that once flanked the northern entrance to the temple, which was damaged by a severe earthquake in 27 BC. The blocks are currently undergoing restoration in an attempt to re-erect the statue in its original position. The pair were previously discovered by Egyptian Egyptologist Labib Habachi and his German colleague Gerhard Haeny in the 1970s. They documented both statues before leaving them at the site, hidden in the sand.
Archaeologist Abdel Ghaffar Wagdi, who supervised the excavation, said that the mission has also discovered two other statues, one depicting the god Thoth as a baboon and one of the lion-headed goddess Sekhmet. The Sekhmet statue is made from black granite and is 185 cm tall. The large number of Sekhmet statues found at the temple has led some to believe that Amenhotep III suffered from an illness near the end of his reign and so made offerings to this goddess for protection.