Archaeologists Unveil Amenhotep III Statue, Rescued After 3,200 Years

Archaeologists have reassembled a statue of ancient Pharaoh Amenhotep III in the Egyptian city of Luxor. Standing at about 43 feet tall, the statue is being called “the highest standing effigies of an Egyptian king in striding attitude.” Granted, the title is a little overly specific, but the accomplishment is impressive nevertheless.

Archaeologists found the Amenhotep statue on the bottom of the river in about 89 pieces, along with a similarly broken twin colossus. They declared the reconstruction effort an archaeological emergency and began immediately.

As previously reported by the Inquistir, the first of the two Amenhotep III statues was reassembled and unveiled earlier this year in March about a month after the initial discovery.

Work to reconstruct the second statue started in November.

According to the Global Post, the 89 pieces were reassembled partially thanks to compressed air cushions and advanced pulley systems capable of lifting up 70 tons.

The huge pieces were put together with resins and reinforced with steel spikes.

Archaeologists believe that the twin colossi were destroyed in an earthquake in 1200 B.C. Pharaoh Amenhotep III died at about 1354 B.C., a time that was considered the peak of ancient Egyptian culture according to the Japan Times. The pharaoh’s empire would stretch from the Euphrates in the north to Sudan in the south. Amenhotep became the ruler at the age of 12, with his mother as regent of the country.

Now the two Amenhotep III statues stand in front of the iconic king’s funerary temple, famous for its twin 21 meter tall Amenhotep statues showing him sitting down (shown above).

A group of international archaeologists headed by Armenia’s Hourig Sourouzian and Egypt’s Abdelkarim Karrar presented the statues on Sunday.

Migual Angel Lopez, Spanish archaeologist and reconstruction expert said, “It’s the best reconstruction of colossal (statues) in the world.”

The Japan Times reports that the statue shows Amenhotep wearing the white crown of upper Egypt. Just like the first statue, he is holding a papyrus scroll in each hand, which has his name inscribed.

He also wears a belt that holds a dagger with a head in the shape of a falcon, and held in place with a rectangular clasp with the names of the all the Egyptian pharaohs.

Surprisingly, the effort to preserve the famous temple and its relics is entirely funded through private parties. The nearby city of Luxor is considered the “largest open-air museums in the world” and showcases the ancients relics of Thebes, the capital of ancient Egypt.

[Image Credit: David Berkowitz/Flickr]