Egypt breakthrough as three stunning statues uncovered on 'Avenue of Sphinxes'


The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has announced that three giant ram heads – at least one of which had a cobra on top – have been found south of Karnak Temple in Luxor. It is thought that thousands of years ago they were part of three larger statues that had the bodies of creatures that looked like sphinxes. They featured in a large avenue of ram-headed statues that run almost two miles between Karnak Temple and Luxor Temple.

The passage is known as the “Avenue of the Sphinxes” and consisted of around 700 statues.

Scholar Elizabeth Blyth previously noted: “An estimated 700 sphinxes lined the route between Karnak and Luxor temples and its magnificence can scarcely be imagined.”

Karnak Temple was built between roughly 4,000 and 2,000 years ago, and much of it is dedicated to Amun-Ra, a god associated with the Sun and Thebes, the capital of ancient Egypt.

The temple area covers more than 250 acres.

Experts are in the process of conserving the ram heads and have said they will put them back on statues showing the bodies of the creatures.

Mustafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said archaeologists also uncovered the remains of a cobra statue.

He added that it would have originally been on top of one of the ram heads, so the team plans to put the display back together.

The age of the statues is being investigated, but Mr Waziri told al-Monitor that the design of one of them suggests that it may date back to the reign of Amenhotep III, who ruled Egypt between 1390 BC and 1352 BC.

Also known as Amenhotep the Great, the ancient royal was the ninth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty.

READ MORE: Archaeology warning: Seven people died after ancient body uncovered amid ‘curse’ fears

His reign was a period of unprecedented prosperity and splendour, when Egypt reached the peak of its artistic and international power.

When he died in the 38th or 39th year of his reign, his son initially ruled as Amenhotep IV, but then changed his own royal name to Akhenaten.

Amenhotep III was the son and successor of Thutmose IV, who, like his grandson Tutankhamun ascended the throne at a very young age.

The discovery comes after experts reconstructed the faces of three ancient mummies by using DNA extracted from their remains in a stunning breakthrough.

The trio came from Abusir el-Meleq, an ancient city on a floodplain to the south of Cairo and they were estimated to be buried between 780 BC and 5 AD.

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Their DNA was first sequenced in 2017 by scientists at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Tubingen, Germany.

That has now allowed researchers at Parabon NanoLabs, a DNA technology firm in the US, to create 3D models of the mummies’ faces with the help of a process known as forensic DNA phenotyping.

The process is used to predict genetic ancestry, eye colour, hair colour, skin colour, freckling, and face shape in individuals from any ethnic background.

It uses the information to then build a computer-generated e-fit.



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